Agile is not a new concept in the business world by any means – it is being adopted to more and more various fields, innovated and even discarded by some teams that feel they have had enough and are ready to move on. However, as the Agile reign continues, we find some of the practitioners are still trying to figure out how exactly to be Agile. For this, we are launching a series of blog posts explaining and answering some of the questions most new Agile users have.
To practice any methodology, first you have to know what it actually is and we find that there is still a lot of confusion out there about what exactly can be called Agile. So is Agile equivalent to Scrum as many out there believe? Or is Agile an ancestor of Extreme Programming? Let us try and explain everything.
Agile is a term that describes an effective way of working. It was introduced to the mass public by the release of the Agile Manifesto in 2001 and while it does specifically outline 4 values and 11 principles to be followed by the Agile teams, it does not include any particular methodology or recommendations of a methodology to be followed. So in itself, Agile is simply a framework to be followed.
Naturally, after the creation of the Manifesto, the practitioners felt a need of a clear method to be followed and thus the search has begun. Some looked into existing project management tools and though how they could be made to fit the Agile framework, others created whole new concepts and methods completely from scratch. Thus today we have a wide variety of Agile methods to choose from and new ones coming up every single day. Check out our Agile method genealogy tree.
So to answer the questions we have posed in the beginning, Agile is not Scrum, not XP and not any other method in particular, but all of the methods that comply with the Agile Manifesto are Agile. And as long as you are practicing one of them, your team is Agile too.
Have your ever got lost between all of the Agile practices and frameworks? With the methods evolving, changing and appearing constantly, it can get difficult to understand, how they evolved and turned into the form of today. Therefore we decided to make this quick cheat sheet for anyone wondering if SoS, Kanban and XP have anything in common.
For more helpful Agile cheats and tips see The Ultimate Agile Guide.
Whether you are taking Agile on for the very first time, coming back to it after a previous attempt or simply going from one Agile method to another, there are some key things to remember if you want to keep the transition smooth. Check out our 5 key tips on a smooth Agile transition to end up on the right side of change.
As with any change in life, first and foremost, you have to take some time and understand what is ahead. We are sure you have not chosen your new method impulsively and put in time and thought making sure it was the right fit. So do not cheat yourself and take some time aside to really understand how this change is going to affect your processes, your team and your company. It may seem silly but having a clear future vision in your head will help you better understand and guide the transition once it takes place.
Keeping up with our previous coverage of scaled Agile approaches, this time we want to bring Disciplined Agile Delivery otherwise known as DAD to your attention. Like other similar frameworks it focuses on bringing the small scale practices into the big leagues and on shaping them to fit the new rules. Compared to previously discussed SoS, LeSS and SAFe, DAD is less descriptive and requires more Agile knowledge, however it allows for far greater flexibility within the team. So will you be scaling with DAD?
The framework known as DAD was first mentioned by Scott Ambler and Mark Lines in their book by the same name – Disciplined Agile Delivery. It was designed as a way to move past Scrum while the wholesome view and approach allowed teams to grow from small independent groups into large organizations.
It is becoming more and more evident that the future of Agile lies in large companies and scaled approaches. It may be hard to believe at first, but the data of Agile usage in 2015 proves this is where the methodology is going next. One of the most popular ways to scale Agile today is Scrum of Scrums. And while many companies have adopted this practice already, we thought it might be interesting for others to know just how exactly it works.
Scrum of Scrums has been originally defined by Jeff Sutherland and is designed to deliver working software of all teams to the Definition of Done at the end of the Sprint. To make sure this happens, the Scrum of Scrums Master is held accountable and has to be able to ensure that all the processes works. But before getting into the details, let us step back to the beginning.
The recently released State of Agile Report has not only brought great statistics, but also raised a few questions about just where Agile might be heading next. How will it look like in a couple of years, which interest groups will shape it and how much of what we today call Agile will actually change?
To get a better grip on these and other questions, we took another hard look at the stats and came up with what we think the answers will be. Check out the info-graphic below to find our predictions for the future of Agile.
There is no doubt Agile is no longer just a practice for developers. It has moved past only serving the small teams, past the specific types of teams and past the specific industries. While that is all widely known, sometimes it is still tough to grasp just how far Agile methods have come. That is until you hear that the methodology is now being adopted to sports training. Yes, you have read it right, Agile methods are now being adopted to organizing sports.
The first time we have heard about this new exciting development was from a Serbian physical coach Mladen Jovanović. He has been involved in various sports activities his whole life and has recently heard about Agile practices and Eylean Board.
Being an innovator he naturally got interested in how this may be adopted to his field and how it can benefit the parties involved. By creating several boards and dividing the process into clear steps, he managed to translate the Agile practices into sports seamlessly. To know more about his process and findings, watch this short video.
For teams that have successfully adopted Agile, the next logical question is – what will follow? While in some cases there is no next step and the adopted practice suits perfectly, for others further modification brings in better results and more value. So what should you do if you want to innovate further?
Take a look at these 5 options.
One of the most popular Agile modifications at the moment is scaling up. It is only natural that companies want to extend successful methods from small teams onto the whole organization. However, since the method in itself is built for a small singular team, some adoption and changes are inevitable. For that scaled practices such as DAD, SAFe and LeSS have been developed. So if you want to convince your CEO, see how these approaches can fit your case.
While switching to Agile practices is nothing uncommon these days, we are still often reluctant to accept it when it comes into our lives. This has little to do with the methodology itself and simply rests on the fact that most of us do not like change, any change. The question here is – should you focus on the fact of facing change or should you instead focus on what great rewards you will get after? We pick the latter and here are our top 3 things to look forward to after an Agile switch.
- Meaningful documents and meetings
Having to deal with excessive documentation and unproductive meetings is so common in today’s business world that it has become something we actually expect. However, despite this acceptance, it does not bring any substantial value to the team nor to the product and often creates demotivation instead of what we all seek – productivity.
With Agile gaining bigger and bigger traction each day, there is no wonder why many companies are starting to adopt it and claim to be Agile. The change, however, is not overnight – it takes time and effort to implement. Due to this, many corporations choose to adopt Agile incrementally with a method that is now being called Water-scrum-fall. However, can it actually be better to use the transition method?
To answer this question, let us first explore what hides behind the term Water-scrum-fall. This definition appeared in Agile circles not too long ago striving to describe a process in which large companies choose to practice both Waterfall and Scrum methodologies at the same time. This is usually done to introduce a more efficient Agile process into some phases of the project, while leaving other phases untouched and managed in the traditional way.
Such a solution has become a great option for large companies in which some teams are pushing for change and a more flexible way to complete projects, while others are holding on to the established processes and refuse the necessity of change altogether. With Water-scrum-fall, the teams get to decide which of the two management methods is the most suitable for each situation and use it to gain the best results.