Agile, why?

Countless firms now are moving towards the Agile and countless are moving away from it. It happens all the time. Its the same game with Playstation and Xbox, apple and samsung, G-Suite and Outook.

Of course you can have a read of the agile manifesto to get yourself up to speed. But defining what agile stands for applying it are two very different things.

The most usual complaint around agile methodologies i’ve heard is that it encourages too many meetings. Everyone is in a meeting somewhere and any work is hardy being done. After all agile encourages transparency and communication at the forefront of everything else. So what is agile is all about?

I think people miss out on the central idea of Agile and just abandon ship on the first sight of a problem. Agile is all about facing your problems head on rather than postponing them until they get you in a tight spot. If there was any problem in your day to day work, agile would just say – bring it forward and talk about it. This problem that you talk of, can we do something to solve it as soon as possible so we don’t have to worry about it. And almost all the time it is a Yes and you win. To solve it upfront, you have talk about it which is another dimension encouraged around Agile.

As for meetings – well be sensible and apply agile to this problem as well. Too many meetings? For a meeting quota for the day. Say – have 2 – 1 hour meetings for the day max. Pressed into having more? Bring it up in retros and talk about shorter meeting times. Still can’t get through it? Schedule your own meeting and show them how its done? Often times, when people sit together it somehow becomes more about how dinner went last night more than what the agenda is for the meeting. Its up to the organiser to steer the meeting correctly. I absolutely hate meetings that go beyond the 45 minutes mark. Most of it is irrelevant talk because everyone is aware that there is a lot of time left so we’d get through what we want, and at the end we’ve probably discussed only 3 out of 10 items.

So yeah, don’t just do agile – BE AGILE. Its all in your mind.

The german saying is “The office is the office and the pub is the pub”. Agile does not say spend useless time in meetings, that is all on us. Schedule a meeting for half an hour on the calendar and invite people (Don’t send emails!!). Share out an agenda with the meeting event. Share out some material as food for thought to get everyone prepared. Try and use the existing format to inform others rather than more meetings such as standups or retros. Can you invite them just to listen in on the update? Do that. Sounds a lot? Isn’t much to be honest, just pose questions that you would pose during the meeting. You’d get a lot better results trust me. And abandon a meeting if you don’t need it! Don’t wait for 4 people to come together to break the news to say, do we need this meeting because xyz and happened just now? Send out a message in chat.

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