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Are we really even Agile?

There are many successes we experience as ScrumMasters, Product Owners and Agile Evangelists. Among those, there are also many unresolved problems that we face in the effort to be more Agile. The problems seem to sometimes be insurmountable. We get frustrated, mad and sometimes even yell out “Can’t we all just be more Agile!” We read through Agile principles and wonder whether they are ideals or whether they are really happening with real companies. Think about how the business and development team should work together daily. Is that happening in your company? Sometimes you might think, “I’d give my first born child to just have them talk to each other weekly!”

We might also wonder whether there really are places where emphasis on delivery of potentially shippable software in increments of anything from a couple weeks to a couple months truly happens. What if we are only able to have increments of 3 months, 6 months or our delivery cycle doesn’t truly happen until we have installed and integrated our product at the end of a 12-month product or project cycle. And it sure seems like everyone else has been behind schedule up to those last few months and everything is thrown on us to bridge the gap and keep the overall project on schedule.

It’s time to speak a little bit of reality…. Are you ready? Being agile is more about the process than it is the end destination. Do we really wish we could get our requirements pulled out of PRD’s and into epics, features and user stories? Do we wish our scrum teams would complete their work committed to on at least 1 or 2 sprints a year? Can’t we just have the Development Manager understand that you can’t make a development team member responsible for quality? If everyone is in charge of quality, it doesn’t mean you can get rid of your Quality Team or Quality Assurance Manager does it? Guess what? You aren’t alone in your thinking.

Be patient in your efforts. If you get caught up in the weeds of the day-to-day that is happening, you will forget the bigger picture. Take it a step at a time because not everything is going to change overnight in your organization even after you have spent a boatload of money to train everyone on what Agile means to your organization. It still takes patience, persistence and discipline. What thing is the most likely you can influence for change this week? Have you made a list of items you revisit and reprioritize based on how you learn to apply various Agile principles in your organization. Check one off at a time and then reprioritize your Agile Backlog. Don’t give up and take some time to rise above the day-to-day and breathe! Things are changing and you can do this. Agile is hard work and you are not alone in your efforts!

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