If you work in software development, you'll know about the agile manifesto, XP, Scrum and why these practices help us build software value faster & cheaper. However, the agile 'brand' is making waves in all sorts of different industries from HR, markeitng or sales.
In my opinion, we are somewhere near peak agile, where everyone seems to have heard about agile practises, and that they are generally a good idea. Believe it or not, there are now 70 different agile frameworks. Some of us might even have implemented some of these flavours in our organisations, but if we were pressed to explain the essence and what makes one team more agile than another, we would probably struggle.
This Forbes article distills down what it means to be agile & the challenges we all face to reach a fully agile organisation.
1. The law of the small team
Agile practitioners share a mindset that work should in principle be done in small autonomous cross-functional teams working in short cycles on relatively small tasks and getting continuous feedback from the ultimate customer or end user.
2. The law of the customer
Agile practitioners are obsessed with delivering value to customers. The primary importance of the customer is recognized in the first principle of the Agile Manifesto.
3. The law of the network
Agile practitioners view the organization as a fluid and transparent network of players that are collaborating towards a common goal of delighting customers.
So you can talk about your sprint velocity, TDD, clean code, behavioural-driven development all you like, but these are just a means to an end.
The essence to being agile is about removing beauracracy & hierarchy to shorten communication lines, getting collaborators closer together & focusing on customer value to deliver more with less.
And what about all those Agile practices? There are more than 70 different Agile practices. Even the Agile Manifesto, with its four values and twelve principles can be a cognitive stretch for newcomers. How on earth can you explain such a bewildering blizzard of seemingly different ideas?