Not this, we just want Agile, please

Every so often I get a request to bring Agile to the organization, but without the extra stuff.

Here are some examples:

  • We want to do Scrum, but without the self organization stuff. Just the Scrum part.
  • Teamwork is not important for us. Anyway each person gets his plans from me.
  • I want them to do Agile, only after I finish writing the architecture specification for them.
  • We want the exact same agile across all the organization. Please make sure everyone adheres to the process that we have defined.
  • We’re doing Agile for X years now, and they haven’t figured out how to plan a release.
  • And the list goes on.

In an analogy, consider the following statements:

  • Teach me to run a marathon, but skip the sweating part. I don’t like it.
  • I must write my first book before January. Please give me a good plan for this.
  • Doctor, I always get a stomach ache after eating a 800g steak. With fries. And ice cream. What can you prescribe for me?
  • I’m new to programming, and I want to write my first C++ embedded webserver next week. Can you help?
  • Starting to get the message?

Sharpen Your Own Saw. Continuously

If you find any of these examples acceptable or even agreeable, it’s definitely time to sharpen your saw.
Read a book, or go on a course, or find an article. And then – try it out. 
Not sure what to do – ask. I am way more than happy to help.
Always remember that if you’re new to agile, and it’s easy – you must be doing something wrong.
If you find that you’re OK doing agile, but everyone else is missing the point – you must be doing something wrong.
If you’re sure that you’re on track, and then 9 out of 10 times you’re surprised by delays at the last minute – you must be doing something wrong.
Take a look at the marathon statement above.
No one with a sane mind would think he or she can run a marathon, 42.2km, without training that includes some element of sweating.
No one with a sane mind would think that from not running at all you’ll be able to get ready to a marathon in a month.

10,000 Hour Rule

In Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell repeatedly refers to the 10,000 hour rule.
If you want to excel in something, you must practice. A lot. According to Gladwell, 10,000 hours of practice are a golden number to master any skill.
So if you want to become the world champion in eating steak – start practicing.
If you want to become a world leading programmer – start practicing.
If you want to master agility* – start practicing.
* list of 100 best books on agile prepared by Jurgen Appelo, and based on rating data on Amazon and Good Reads.

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