I am often reminded of the difference between a cook and a chef in my agile practice. I have used this story numerous times with developers to explain agile development practices. Like me, it seems that some developers will always be cooks. While there are some who don’t know the difference, I have even run into some that prefer to be cooks instead of chefs. Not that there is anything wrong with choosing to be a cook, but it helps when one is aware of the choice and makes a conscious decision to be one.
So when my friend mentioned that a good indicator for agile transformation success was a company had hit rock bottom I knew exactly what he was referring to. In this particular case he used the examples of the FBI Sentinel Project and Healthcare.gov website debacle. In both cases, it wasn’t until each was a total disaster that Agile was actually tried with any seriousness and rigor and in both cases the results were amazing.
I am often faced with explaining the various aspects of Agile to people new to Agile and I have come up with a very simple way to remember (and explain) Agile. I present to you now the “3Ps of Agile Software Development” with the hope you find this useful to your own understanding and an aid in your ability to explain Agile to others.
This particular problem manifests when a company desires the potential benefits of Scrum without really understanding Scrum. Without a good understanding, people attempt to map their existing roles with those of Scrum. Let me make one thing perfectly clear. The role of Scrum Master is unique to Scrum and any attempt to map it to existing roles will only result in confusion, frustration and less than optimal outcomes.
While other scaling frameworks have detailed flowcharts, organizational structure documents, etc., Wagerfall avoids such complexities. Mindy Minter, Head Architect at Great Big Company, praises Wagerfall for its simplicity. “We are big believers in the KISS principle. You can’t get more KISS than Wagerfall. Pay your fee. Get your certification. Claim you’re Agile.”
Once we understand that the grief stages are in response to the loss of an idea, it is not a great leap to apply this to any company transformation. It is well known that there are some who will readily embrace change, but there are a great number that see any change as a threat.
This applies to my work of transforming companies from waterfall to agile approach. While I may be 100% correct and it may make me feel good to be right, by presenting my viewpoint as THE way, I will not meet my objective. If I choose to be successful then I must take a different approach. I need to get to know the people involved, understand their concerns, not threaten their ideas, but allow their defenses to be lowered by listening to their ideas and then, and only then, if my ideas are truly right will I have the chance to convince them of or, better yet, guide them to the truth.
When someone mentions “waterfall has always worked for us”, I believe this is an example of Type Three error. The real question – has waterfall been optimal? The example I always give is that the covered wagon was successful for transportation, but when I look out the window of a plane, I don’t see any crossing the prairie. In the case of those applying the values and principles of agile properly there is little doubt as to which is the airplane and which is the covered wagon.
Patterns, Anti-Patterns and Pilots. Not only does this option have alliterative qualities, but it also allows for a much greater environment for teams to self-organize and experiment. The process is simple. There are certain things that we know to generally work well for teams. One example is Behavior Driven Development (BDD). This would be considered a pattern.
As an agile coach that has been fortunate to work at a good number of clients over the years, you … More The Theory of Change & Why I Get In Trouble