Agile – To do is to be?

“Some say he never blinks, and that he roams around the woods at night foraging for wolves… All we know is that he’s called The Scrum Master”

Just like The Stig (The notorious tame racing driver from the BBC motor show) can show what a sport scar is capable of, the Scrum Master is the one to call when you want to push your development team capabilities to the limit.
The Scrum Master will push, pull, persuade, intimidate, manipulate and use black magic to make your development team perform beyond your wildest expectations.
He will show you how to make your development perform second to none. He will show you how to use that thing called agile. The world will be at your feet – literally!

Nah – you guessed it. I’m kidding.

There has been some debate lately whether Agile is a methodology or a framework? I guess the Stig like Scrum Master above would answer: “Agile is the methodology. It has all these great practices and guides. Implement them and wham bang you’re doing agile!”

My answer is: It is neither. Agile to me is a state of mind. It is not something you do, it is something you can become.
Why? Because agile is all about being prepared. Prepared and open minded to allow your self to act on all the possibilities and difficulties you encounter when developing software.
When reading the Agile Manifesto it is clear, that it was put up as a reaction towards the dominating linear regime of water fall and development by contract of the time. The “we value … over …” is clearly defining agile as a new thing that is in opposition the established regime. This is all very well and I strongly agree with the authors of the manifesto. (It would be somewhat presumptuous not to I guess…)
But try to look behind the values and the principles that accompany the manifesto. Seen together they tell the story of a way of working where we embrace change and interact to build great stuff. And to embrace and interact we need to be prepared.

This has made agile very simple to me. To be agile you need to constantly challenge what you think you know and be prepared to change when you discover new things. Some refer to this as inspect and adapt others call it reflection. It applies to the product you make as well as your processes and organization. You deliberately examine things, reflect on what you find and react accordingly.

Whether you then use scrum, lean, kanban, xp, vanilla or voodoo is something you choose based on the actual circumstances you face. (Mike Cohn offers some great advice on how to chose.)
Common to all these practices is that they provide great guidance and tools that support and develop your capability to be prepared, – to be agile.

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