To successfully transform to Agile, it takes much more than changing tools, templates and practices. It requires a change in mindset in every single employee. Agile needs to become the culture of an organization to truly realize the benefit of agility.
A team cannot presume to follow Agile just by having daily standups, backlogs or hours burndown graph. These are just mechanisms or tools to help in Agile processes but doesn’t signify Agile being followed in its real sense.
If Agile requires change of mindset, it is natural to get curious on how exactly should the mindset change. So, here is a quick attempt to list down a few.
- Leaders should work with the team instead of having the team work for them. Changing from a command-control manager to servant leader is just not easy, but it is definitely possible. It takes a lot of learning, unlearning and re-learning, not necessarily in that order.
- As leaders, allow the team to take decisions for the problems they encounter. The teams should be allowed to figure out how to identify the right solutions for a problem. Provide guidance, if asked. The only thing to do is to observe if the team doesn’t deviate from the project objectives. The team is ultimately responsible for delivering the required features anyway.
- Start with minimal information that you have. Develop further as you move on. Don’t expect to have every bit of detail before you take the first step.
- Create just enough documentations and only where necessary. Generally, most documentations created for projects are never revisited and soon become outdated providing no value. However, keep these limited essential documents up-to-date.
- Agile is about spending where it is essential. As a corollary, avoid spending effort or money where it is not required.
- Focus on working functionality. Demo working functionality/screen with clients as often as you can. This will build better relationships and confidence with customers than any contractual agreement or document could. At least you will know you are in the wrong direction early in the game, if expectations are not met.
- With Agile, comes along a bit of chaos. A traditional approach would suggest to eliminate the chaos completely and bring in order and not break the chains. However, Agile would encourage the presence of chaos but only giving due attention to keeping it in control and move the team towards achieving project goals/objectives.
- Use emails only when you want to put things on record. Rely more on face to face collaboration. Talk to your team members directly instead of sending lengthy emails and waiting for their response. Save time and improve agility.
- Roll-out changes in small increments. Avoid big bang releases. Don’t wait for all good things to be rolled out in one shot.
The list doesn’t end here. You get the gist.