Somewhere on the Agile Spectrum

It struck me this week that people shouldn’t be apologetic about how “Agile” they are. One of my customers said “Sorry, we’re not 100% yet over here, and I’m not sure if we’ll ever get there. In fact, Danube is probably the only 100% Agile organization I know of.” Actually, Danube is about software project success, not being as Agile as possible.

Someone else wrote: “I’m not Scrum certified. I have read “Agile Software Development with Scrum” and reading as much as I can on the internet and will be acquiring additional books on the subject. I’ve successfully implemented and used Scrum on a large project over the past year…
If my requests are “un-Scrum like” I’m open minded and eager to learn!”

Esther Derby mentioned something in a recent workshop that stuck with me: the degree to which an organization is self-organization falls somewhere on a spectrum. And even rigidly waterfallish processes exhibit some degree of self-organization.

Similarly, the application of Agile principles and practices at an organization fall along a spectrum. Remember that the real goal is improving software development, not simply “doing Agile”. The focus should be on whether the principles and practices at play are effective or if they can be improved, not whether they are “Agile”. I get the feeling that Agile newbies read the books and think they have to follow the letter of an evangelist’s utopian ideal. Remember that common sense is paramount in Agile methods and overrides the “rules”, and as Ken Schwaber says, “A dead ScrumMaster is useless”.

Victor Szalvay

Victor Szalvay currently leads product development for CollabNet’s ScrumWorks® product suite. In that capacity, he works closely with customers, stakeholders, and the development teams to deliver high business value each release cycle. With more than 150,000 active users worldwide, ScrumWorks is used by more than half of the Fortune 100 and boasts the largest market share of any Agile management tool.

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