Do you follow Agile?

Do you follow Agile? How sure are you?

Well, this is not a new question at all. This was there for a long time, may be from the very beginning of Agile. Over the period this was discussed again and again. Even there was some terms created out of this. Take a look at terms like “Scrum BUT”, “Mini Waterfall”, etc. These words are there in our vocabulary because of people are saying they follow Agile but not doing so. That is bad, isn’t it?

I don’t want here to write another post here on this traditional question. Instead what I want to do here is to explore whether there is some simple tool which I can used to get a quantifiable answer. It should be something which can be used by anybody who is having some basic idea about Agile.

If you Google, you will find any resources where you can use to measure yourself. Some of them are listed below.

http://www.dragile.com/index.php/survey/startSurvey/index

http://agileassessments.thoughtworks.com/online-assessments/agile-self-evaluation/management-practices

http://comparativeagility.com/

http://www.leadingagile.com/agile-assessment/

The above are very useful resources and I don’t have any question on that. But they did not carry the simplicity and transparency which I am looking for. As I said, I want something simple and it should be very transparent. When talking about transparency and if you take one of those questionnaires from above, I don’t have a clue why those questions were picked in the questionnaire, what is the basis for them. I wanted a solution which is much more Crystal than those.

When I was thinking further, I ended up going back to the basics. I mean to very basic. If you have a method or a tool which compare what you are doing against the Agile Manifesto, then you can’t be wrong. Yes this is it. If you follow the Agile Manifesto, then you gotta be doing Agile.

When I go to manifesto and look at that, there still was a hurdle to cross. There are two parts of the Manifesto (Agile Values and Principles). What do you use in your small evaluation tool? Is it Values, is it Principles or is it both? I like to use the Principles only.

Why? There are few reasons

  1. When you go to agilemanifesto.org and go to Principles, you will see that the topic is “Principles behind the Agile Manifesto”. So these Principles are behind everything. I mean everything when it comes to Agile J Therefore there is no better thing to use than the Agile Principles in my Agile evaluation.
  2. Since the Agile Values are derived out of the Principles, the four Agile Values are at a higherlevel compared to something you want to use in an evaluation. For example “Individual and Interactions” would mean many different meanings which can lead to many ambiguous interpretations when used in the evaluation. This can deteriorate the accuracy of the results.
  3. Due to number 2 reason above, we should not use both Values and Principles to evaluate. Further using both would complicate the evaluation process which is not what I want

So what is my proposal?

There gotta be few simple steps

  1. Appoint a coordinator
  2. Get all 12 Agile Principles in a spreadsheet such as MS Excel
  3. In front of each Principle, get the team to indicate whether they are following the Principle correctly or not. It is important that the team understand each of these principles clearly.
  4. I suggest each member in the team has their independent evaluation sheet and then consolidate them at the end. If you feel that this would complicate the process, then get the whole team in and go through each Principle and agree on a result
  5. This should be it.

On conclusion, I have use this way to evaluate few projects and I found it not that easy to do so. But in my view there is no other better way to check whether you are doing Agile or not than evaluating against the Agile Principles.

Finally, I found the following article which has the same thinking. http://neverletdown.net/2012/05/if-you-arent-agile-then-what-are-you/

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