Getting a more complete picture: 4 perspectives on agile

Door Patrick Verheij

So what do you mean when you say you “are agile”? And what do you mean when you say that you “want your company to become agile” or you “want to implement agile”?\r\n\r\nJim Highsmith wrote a book named Agile Project Management in which he describes several perspectives to keep in mind when talking about agile. Here’s my interpretation of that.\r\n\r\n1. Agile as a mindset\r\n\r\nThis is probably the most commonly known perspective. You are agile when you have values and principles as those in the Manifesto for Agile Software Development. You are busy discovering new ways of making a difference by doing a great job and helping others to a great job. You strive to obtain great customer value. You put interaction before dogmas about processes and tools. You minimize waste. And so on.\r\n\r\n2. Agility as a goal\r\n\r\nYou are successful in getting value in front of customers when they need it. Or even earlier to seduce them into new areas of consumerism. You are able to spend money on innovation instead of wasting it on keeping a costly, scary IT landscape alive. You abolished major quality issues forever due to decent engineering practices and a quality mindset. You establish flexibility in processes and people so your whole company is ready for a change of strategy. You are able to get results from putting those values and principles from the previous perspective into practice.\r\n\r\n3. Having an agile work environment\r\n\r\nThis one is very much related to the goal of having flexibility in people and processes but goes way beyond that. You have created a flourishing work place where decisions are made fast, people feel safe, and results are obtained like nowhere else. Because you succeeded in establishing self-organization and self-discipline among people. Decisions are made at the level where the information is. People experience purpose, mastery and autonomy for which in return they give their best. Jim even goes as far as to state that adaptivity goals can only be met within an adaptive environment.\r\n\r\n4. Applying agile processes\r\n\r\nYou are implementing disruptive processes to reveal organizational inefficiencies and work to get rid of those by all means. People develop an eye for waste and become excellent problem solvers as a consequence. Iterative and incremental processes are at the heart of all this as are continuous inspection, reflection and adaptation. People question everything and change everything when needed without losing track of their purpose and without compromising value, including quality. People get shit done and are proud of it.\r\n\r\nSo which perspective to choose then?\r\n\r\nFor me, they all overlap and go hand in hand so the answer would be: all of them.\r\n\r\nWithout goals or at least a notion of a reason why we need to be agile (or adaptive) we venture blindly. Goals help us remind ourselves of why we have values and principles in the first place and help us stay disciplined in our approach. That discipline makes for effective agile processes which by themselves help establish an adaptive work environment. The latter, as mentioned above, is necessary to obtain the adaptivity goals.\r\n\r\nPerhaps you can discover your own coherent story about your agility and the agility of the company you work for.\r\n\r\nWhich choices do you take on each perspective? Which approach do you take for getting a step further in any of them. How do they relate for you and your company? Do you even talk about agile in this way at all? Does it inspire you to find and try new experiments?\r\n\r\nDoes it even make sense to you?\r\n\r\nTo me it does. Perhaps I’ll even find more perspectives to improve my own agile story along the way. Life is full of surprises 🙂

Patrick Verheij

06 59 443 447

Andere posts

Klik hier