Image10Martyn Richard Jones

Madrid, 16th April 2017

I think Agile has its place, especially in the world of software application development, especially in building the kind of software that businesses frequently use in the peripheral aspects of their day-to-day operations.

Done right, Agile can make the difference between a great success and a painful failure. Done badly, and you might suffer a worse fate than a badly applied Software Development Life Cycle such as Waterfall. Done well, and Agile will oil the wheels of the machine that gets things done.

So, here are a few tips on getting Agile right:

Don’t turn your Scrum daily standup meetings into status meetings. That is not their purpose.

Daily stand-up meetings only address the following and nothing more:

  1. What did you accomplish since the last meeting?
  2. What are you working on until the next meeting?
  3. What is getting in your way or keeping you from doing your job?

Don’t include people in standup meetings that shouldn’t be there. It’s a meeting for the developers – uniquely. The Scrum Master is present, but does not drive the meeting. The Scrum Master is there simply to ensure that the process is followed.

“Everything you say should be valuable to everyone in the room. Individual talks can happen at any time of the day aside from the stand up meeting.” – Michael Lum

Agile teams need to be knowledgeable, experienced, motivated and enthusiastic. It requires stamina, vision and focus.

It must be the team that decides what is being done and what is passed to the review stage. Again, this is not a management decision. So long as the process is followed and things are being done in the order of the prioritised backlog, then things are working just fine.

This is one of my favourites. I’m a strategist, PM and architect who does a lot of data warehousing work in the financial, insurance and government sectors, and for me, applying Agile to data warehousing and business intelligence is certainly not like applying it to software development. Of course, some people will see that they both have some connection to IT, so they must be the same, right? Well, no.

Agile is positive. There is no place in Agile for “mea culpa” and “what we did wrong” sessions. What we could do better in future? Yes! What we will leave out next time? Yes! What works? Yes, most certainly. But no flagellating, flogging or finger pointing. Ever!

Once again. Just for emphasis. The job of the Scrum Master is to enforce the process AND to protect the team.

The job of the team is to do the work. Self-organised. The best way they know how.

The Agile Manifesto is very clear. It’s about valuing:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

Working software over comprehensive documentation

Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

Responding to change over following a plan

 If in doubt, read the Principles behind the Agile Manifesto here:

Well, that about wraps up what I wanted to say today on the subject of Agile.

Have fun.

Many thanks for reading.


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