The Agile Mechanism

07 May, 2010

The Agile Mechanism
What mechanism makes that teams and organizations who act according to the Agile Manifesto can respond to change faster and that they deliver more added value with very low costs ?   The Agile Manifesto itselve does not really gives an answer to this, I think.
Maybe it does in this format :
Interaction between people to deliver working software in close collaboration with the customer delivers good and early feedback, which leads to adapting the plan if needed
Hmmm … already better, but not yet the clear cup of water I’m looking for.
What about a picture ? A cycle ? The Circle of Agility …

Circle of Agility
It all starts with interaction.
In interaction feedback is born.
People learn from this feedback so they come to closer understanding. Understanding of each other and understanding of the vision and the product.
As mentioned earlier you need understanding to be able to Focus. The stronger the Focus, the more will be delivered.
Each delivery creates added value (is  what they actually meant when they wrote ‘working software’ in the Manifesto 🙂 ).
Delivering a whole makes it natural to evaluate what was delivered and learn from it.   Learning about the product and learning about the process. ( How strong was the focus, the learning and the interaction?).
The knowledge of what can be done better will be easily followed with improvements of the way of working. This again, will lead to better Interaction, heavier Learning and stronger Focus.
A new cycle is started.       Working together triggers interaction ….
So, back to the original question:
Agile Teams and organizations can respond to change faster because they have a better understanding of what their doing, therefore they can easily adapt what they’re doing.
The actual delivey of Added Value is only a side effect of good interaction, good learning and good focus.   That Agile Teams deliver more for less, is due to a strong Focus that prevents the execution of useless activities.
Would you agree ?

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12 years ago

Very true, but there are many implications of this.
Agile works only in open management. When every information is known to every one, atleast for what they are doing. It will stop working the moment the managers/peers hide information. This helps in prioritizing tasks and overall understanding of what is to be done.
Also agile needs small teams to work. I have worked in teams of 20, following Agile methodologies. There people stop following the processes because every interaction takes too long and information is spread across many people. I have seen teams of size 4-8 to work well.
Thanks to the amount of information flowing across. People cannot be easily moved across teams. Once they are moved they have a steep learning curve for the first few days to understand what is happening and what has to be done. In other processes one can start delivering earlier as and when documents are available.
Agile is strongly team centered and will move in the direction the team moves. It becomes very difficult to correct it if they all tend to do wrong things. This need recylcling of people from team to team. Which reduces the overall effectiveness.
Since its a team cetnered activity. There is no room for star programmers. The intellect level of all the people should be similar for it to work. Otherwise internal politics will kill the team.
Thanks to all this one team cannot be globally seperated in Agile. If they are then the team on the other side of the globe is different from the ones on this side. All people in one team have to sit on the same table at the best.

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