Agile – The Power of the Principles

We live in the world of quick solutions. Failure is not an option. Failure is a simple correlation coefficient that is collectively based on the sum-total of everyone’s fault except for you. Lately, I have seen a lot of buzz on Agile. There is excitement, there are T-Shirts that say, “Do Agile, Be Agile”. Excitement in the project management area is not a bad thing, specifically, if it helps raise the productivity. Perception is not bad either, as it raises confidence. I would like to put forth a few points to think about when implementing Agile project management:

1) If the customer does not know the requirements, the project is doomed. Agile or not.

2) If you do not know the requirements, and the customer thinks you do, the project is doomed. Agile or not.

3) Lean is not a definition. It takes a lifetime of effort to understand waste. This is not a multiple-choice test to know the different types of waste. Every team member should be a “Lean” team member

4) Agile promotes empowerment. Empowerment is tricky to understand. Why do you have to create a culture of empowerment? Don’t you think it is our birth right? What should ever stop us from doing the things we ought to do, if we are on to something good?

5) The right visuals are important. The right information is important. Creating a room full of colorful artifacts to show you are following an Agile culture is not.

6) The strength of Agile is in “focus.” Ideal time, Minimum Marketable Features, Lean, short iterations etc. all lead to focus. Organization skills become important. This is where there is a hidden learning attribute that can help a lot of individuals. Agile leads to “forced” focus and better organization.

7) Agile also believes in the collective wisdom of the team as opposed to a single expert. It takes the concept of cross-functionality to significant depths. Indirectly improves communication and openness.

There are many more concepts about Agile to think of to make it a breakthrough concept and a best practice of running projects. The simple rule is “Superficiality kills everything.” My suggestion is to follow the Agile principles which have broad based improvement suggestions and become a better project manager and a better human being

Author: Dr. Abhay V. Trivedi, Agile Expert

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