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Adopting an Agile mind-set versus implementing it as just another process

Principle and values of Agile should be embedded into the organisation from a people perspective, rather than implementing it as just another process, says founder and MD of Scrum Solutions, Mandy Schoeman.


Johannesburg, 04 Aug 2015
Read time 3min 10sec

It's fair to say that Scrum is the best known and widest-used framework of the Agile methodologies around the world. It's the main source of thinking behind the values and principles of the Agile Manifesto, which forms a common basis for all of these approaches.

However, it's not just the process that matters but more importantly, the principles and values that the methodology portrays that should be embedded into the organisation from a people perspective.

As Mandy Schoeman from Scrum Solutions points out; any business transformation requires total transparency, honest inspection, and constant adaption together with a solid set of core values for it to truly succeed.

An examination of the above highlights the following:

* The need to create 'trust' within teams; thus the reliance on the team, the individuals within a team and the way they interact within and without the team is fundamental;
* The need to prioritise a working software increment over and above the creation of comprehensive documentation;
* The need to collaborate between the team and the 'product owner' that identifies the priorities of the development process;
* The need of adaption to change from an original plan in line with new requirements, market changes and other impactive happenings, all of which have been agreed by the interested parties.

In addition, the following Agile manifesto principles and people practices must be maintained:

* That customer satisfaction is achieved by rapid delivery of quality software;
* The welcoming of changing requirements, even late in the development cycle;
* The frequent delivery of working software in weeks rather than months;
* The close daily cooperation between business people and developers;
* That projects are built around motivated individuals, who should be trusted;
* That face-to-face conversation is the best form of communication;
* That working software is the principal measure of progress;
* That sustainable development by maintaining a consistent pace;
* Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design is vital;
* Simplicity; the art of maximising the amount of work done is essential;
* Passionate, self-driven people who thrive in self-organising teams;
* Regular adaptation to changing circumstances.

Finally, it should be remembered that all work performed in Scrum needs a firm foundation of values and principles for any team's success. With its emphasis on teamwork and continuous improvement, Scrum both creates those values and relies on them. These values are focus, courage, openness, commitment and respect and offer the following guidelines from the team's perspective:

* Focus: As they focus on only a few things at a time, they work well together and produce excellent work and thus deliver valuable items sooner.
* Courage: As they're not alone, they feel supported and have more resources at their disposal thus giving them the courage to undertake greater challenges.
* Openness: As they work together, expressing how it's going and what's in their way so that issues can be addressed and fixed without the fear of reprisal.
* Commitment: Because they have greater control over their own destiny, they become more committed to the organisation and their team.
* Respect: As they work together, sharing successes and failures, they come to respect each other and become worthy of respect.

If an organisation will let Scrum do its work, everyone involved will discover the benefits and will begin to understand why Scrum both engenders and relies upon these values says Schoeman.

Editorial contacts
Scrum Solutions Mandy Schoeman (073) 217 5648 mandy@scrumsolutions.co.za
See also