Adapting the Agile Mindset

raimondwetsThe current way of Agile working is not the first wave and will probably not be the last as well. Every wave is an improvement compared to the previous one. But don’t wait, just do it now.

Written by Raimond Wets, board member of the Agile Consortium Netherlands.

Good news for all. Every now and then, there is another wave of attention. So if you missed the wave in the eighties of last century, started with Rapid Application Development of James Martin, there is another opportunity to join.

My first experience with Agile was very natural. It was my first project in software development. It made totally sense to deliver the solution in working releases every 3 months. As a knowledge engineer working together with the subject matter experts of the business department to extract the decision rules for the classification task of the solution. The business objective was clear, applying the rules of the social security in an uniform way by all members of the department, supported by this expert system.

When I compare the Agile way of working nowadays with the old days, I see a lot the same. The critical success factor is still the team members working together. Good communication skills are essential. So the People aspect is the most important factor. Luckily the process part is more generic and the supporting tools are heavily improved. In the old days (1994-1996) we did software integration weekly. Creating manually the new master code base, after every change set of all 4 knowledge engineers was applied.

For those who like to discuss what is the best agile framework it is relative easy. Choose one that most suits you. More and more agile practices are commodities, Test Driven Development, Agile Dashboards, Continuous Integration until Continuous Delivery. A team working Agile is not that effective as a team working in an Agile oriented organization. So working more Agile, achieving Enterprise Agility is a transformation on its own. The hardest part is creating this learning organization. Focus on continuous improvement, striving for perfection.

And actually, this is for some people the hardest part. Improve every time, adapt the process, front to back, creating a customer focus. For me personally the hardest part is the contradiction between Agile and my personal attitude. Eager as I am, I want to achieve perfection. Accept to deliver a solution that is good, but not perfect (yet). But by aging you eventually learn to accept this (more easily). So even if Agile is not the perfect match, start adapting the mindset, and before the next wave of Agile arrives, you’re addicted to this logical way of working.

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