Question? What does the Agile manifesto say?
How many of you started responding to that question with any of the 4 values in the manifesto, i.e. "Individuals and Interactions..." etc, etc, etc, as opposed to the below statement from the manifesto?
"We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it." http://agilemanifesto.org/
That initial sentence in the manifesto runs through the very core of Agility and the mindset required when faced with either deciding to adopt Agile, coaching it, training it, or, if you already live and breath the dynamics of any of the practices under the Agile umbrella, Kaizen!
The need for continuous improvement and the fact that any organization or team will go through phases of uncovering what Agility means to them is important. Their ShuHaRi! They will go through a phase of learning from trainers and coaching without deviating from what "textbook Agile" says or what they've been taught - Shu. Followed by the phase of the 'Aha' moment, where they've understood the principles of Agility and how that meets their customer needs (a.k.a Ha). Followed by an embodiment of Agility where teams are coming up with approaches and techniques based on their particular circumstances and adapting it to seek perfection whilst interacting with stakeholders, satisfying customer needs without over thinking it, or feeling the need to overstate the "Oh yes, we are Agile" statement - Ri.
Very often, Agile coaches, trainers, Evangelists (call it what you may), forget about this very key sentence at the beginning of the manifesto when they go into organizations to help improve things.
Agility adoption is no easy feat and that's one of the many reasons you've not seen a single Agile adoption that is the same from organization to organization. That is why each organization needs to pick the bits of the Agile framework that satisfy their customer needs with the help of good Agile coaches and the relevant training.
Take it all back to the basics; engage the teams and the organization, listen, observe - Genchi Genbutsu, coach, train, and stick to the basics with a solid foundation until the 'Aha' moment.
Explain to the organization about the journey of discovery you are all about to go on, to uncover better ways of developing software.
My philosophy has always been to have the foundations in place. And by foundations, I mean Agility mindset (through coaching, training, finding patterns, and anti-patterns), the right culture (personal and organizational) and the right environment to foster the right mindset (attitude, desire, energy) and behavior.
It is very important to understand the organization's customers' needs, the business' vision and how they operate, the challenges the business is facing and then work with them to uncover better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it.
Finally, I would like to hear from you with your thoughts and comments below.