WHY go Agile?

During a recent meetup Martine Devos spoke about the Agile Raspberry Jam. This is an adoption from The Secrets of Consulting by Jerry Weinberg where he offers us his Law of Raspberry Jam.

The wider you spread it, the thinner it gets.

Martine also mentioned that we have come to the point where the early majority, according to Moore’s technology adoption lifecycle, are “going” Agile.

Technology-Adoption-Lifecycle

One concerning trend among the early majority adopters is the approach to use “Best Practices”. This is a very dangerous move in most cases.

If we take a quick look at the Cynefin framework to try and understand the nature of the work we are dealing with here.

Cynefin_as_of_1st_June_2014

Without going in to too much detail about the Cynefin framework, we can see, by looking at the image above, that “Best Practices” can be used when dealing with Obvious tasks or issues.

But the area where Agile shines is to help bring work from  Complex to Complicated, and sometimes to Obvious. This doesn’t happen by itself just because you claim to be agile and adopt agile “Best Practices”. Behind every success story in Agile is a long journey. This journey will be full of trial and error. You need to experiment to find out what works in your UNIQE situation.

This brings us to the reason WHY you should go Agile. Normally I have a coaching approach where I let the coachee reach the answer themselves. But in this case I’m going to tell you.

The reason you go Agile is to Maximize Learning!

If you claim you don’t need to maximize learning in your company because you only want to increase throughput/productivity/X/Y/whatever/… Then you have misunderstood the whole reason behind Agile and you should rethink your decision.

If you don’t make sure to value the underlying principle to Maximize Learning you will never reap the benefits of Agile.

If you compare your company to a person walking. You are pretty good at what you do. You have no problem moving forward and getting to your destination. But you have seen others on a bicycle and they get to their destination much faster than you do. So you get a bike. The only thing is, you don’t know how to ride a bike. Also, the certified bike salesperson who sold you the bike didn’t include any pedals. Well, this is nothing to worry about know – you say. You get on your bike and have at it! You manage to propel yourself by kicking with your feet and you fall over a lot. But eventually you will get the hang of it and start to see the improvements over walking. But you still don’t have any pedals, or know what they are for.

The same way the pedals are a core component of riding a bike, is the underlying principle to Maximize Learning a core component of Agile.

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