Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labor

Enjoy a description of what more effective Agile for your teams will be like.

ABOUT THIS CHAPTER   This chapter provides a vision of a high-functioning Agile organization, and it summarizes the Key Principles described throughout the course.

From the beginning, “Agile” has served both as a rallying cry for better software development and as an umbrella term for a large collection of practices, principles, and philosophies that have been developed in support of that rallying cry.

Agile itself continues to Inspect and Adapt and to improve, which is why today’s Agile is better than the Agile of 20 years ago. Modern Agile understands that the goal of Agile isn’t simply to be agile. The goal is to use Agile practices and other practices to support the objectives and strategies of your business.

Effective Agile begins with leadership—you set the tone for your Agile teams. Clearly communicate your expectations through Commander’s Intent, empower your teams, develop their ability to self manage, and then let them iterate and improve. Concentrate on fixing systems and processes rather than individuals. Help your organization decriminalize mistakes and develop a Growth Mindset. Use mistakes as learning opportunities, Inspect and Adapt, and gradually become better.

When this is done well, your organization will create teams that stay focused on the goals of your organization. The teams will be responsive to your organization’s needs, even when they change. This will improve your organization’s ability to respond to the changing needs of your customers.

Your teams will monitor the effectiveness of the practices they are using and replace ineffective practices with better ones. Their throughput will increase over time.

Your teams will continuously monitor their workflows. They will know where the work is and whether it’s progressing as it should. They will provide extensive visibility to others. They will deliver what they say they are going to deliver, when they say they are going to deliver it, with high quality.

Your teams will work well together, with other teams, with other project stakeholders, and with the world beyond your organization.

Discoveries will be constant, but disruptive surprises will be few and far between. In the event of such surprises, the teams will provide early notification, which will allow both the teams and the rest of your organization to respond quickly and effectively.

The teams will maintain high quality at all times and identify opportunities for improvement regularly. Motivation will be high, and attrition will be low.

As your organization progresses toward this vision of effective software development, it will move through a few maturation phases.

Initially, the focus will be on the team’s internal performance. Teams will require several sprints to learn Scrum and other supporting Agile practices. They will work on their ability to plan in small increments, design in ways that support short iterations, prioritize, commit, maintain high quality, make decisions on behalf of your organization, work together as a team, and deliver. Depending on how well they are supported and on how much friction they encounter from the rest of the organization, they might require numerous sprints to reach this level of capability.

Over time, the focus will shift to the organization’s interaction with your teams. Because your teams’ capacity has increased, your organization will need to support them with clear product leadership on requirements priorities and other priorities and with timely decision making that matches pace with the team’s increased capacity.

Eventually, iterative changes will transform your teams. They will deliver quickly and change direction quickly. This will open up strategic opportunities for your organization to plan and execute differently and better, using your enhanced development capability.

The focus on a Growth Mindset and on Inspect and Adapt means that, over time, all of this just gets better and better.


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