A common complaint I hear from folks new to Agile is that they buy the books, read and understand the philosophy, and eagerly try to jump right in but soon realize they lack the slightest clue on how to implement these fantastic ideas. What’s lacking is a stepwise implementation guide on Agile process implementation… or is it?
Because Agile processes are by definition adaptive according to the reality of the project, there can be no “one size fits all” solutions. As they say in Scrum, there is no “defined library of processes large enough to adequately account for any eventual situation”. Even seemingly identical situations may be handled differently because no situation is truly ever identical (the political climate, for example, will always be slightly different).
The closest I’ve seen any book come to this is Ken Schwaber’s “Agile Project Management for Scrum” which is written in “cook-book” format; he shares dozens of real world situations and sums up how those situations were solved by applying Agile/Scrum principles. You don’t read this book and put it away, for me it’s a constant reference to ensure I’m on track in my decision making. Of course, it doesn’t cover any and all possible situations, nor would that be possible.
This means all of us trying to implement Agile processes have a hard road ahead of us. We will not be handed solutions on a silver plater; instead, we must put our thinking caps on and keep them firmly in place.