Reflections on Four Recommendations for Agile Developers

Insights that expand on four statements about the future of the agile movement

to Developer |

At a conference in February at Snowbird, Utah a group of Agile practitioners and thought leaders defined four statements that summarized what they felt needed to happen to advance the state and practice of agile development to the next level. I wrote about these four statements in a post called “Ten Years of Agile – What the Agile Community Must do Now

Since that post I’ve heard from people around the world with questions or comments on the four statements. Recently I exchanged emails with an agile practitioner and software engineer in Pune, India – Raja Bavani at Mindtree Ltd. - who wanted my feedback on his understanding of what the four statements mean. I thought he did a great job of explaining these points so I’ll share his thoughts with everyone. Here’s a cut and past of his email [with my editorial comments underneath].

Michael,

This is about the 4 statements that came out of the 10th anniversary of Agile Manifesto.

Here is how I interpret them. Just wanted you to go through and confirm if I am right or correct me if I am wrong.

1. Demand Technical Excellence: This does not mean “Get me a team that has technical excellence in all aspects.” It means “Let every team member do introspection and challenge oneself”. Or “Demand technical excellence from yourself.” If everyone in a team carries this mindset, the result is a self-aware evolution. This stresses on the ability to learn, experiment, explore, excel and expand. Also this requires team members to have the right attitude, courage and trust so that they do not fear or hesitate to learn or experiment or explore. This is because technical excellence is a continuous journey.

[Love the idea of a “self-aware evolution”. In the spirit of agility there’s nothing like developing personal courage to move out of comfort zones and challenge yourself and keep learning… even if it feels like there is so much to learn that contemplating it all induces feelings of utter inadequacy blended with undertones of terror… :) ]

2. Promote Individual Change and Lead Organizational Change: This can be seen as ‘Agile Adoption’ at organizational level. This also has to be understood as the need for every individual to become a change agent in the current business conditions in order to deliver valuable software.

[Yes this is a call for every agilista to become a change agent. To paraphrase an old saying, now is the time for all good people to come to the aid of their company… the times are tough and when the going gets tough the tough get agile… go forth and spread the word.]

3. Organize Knowledge and Improve Education: The game isn’t over when you deliver software. Agile teams need to have the capability to organize knowledge and improve education. Large projects cannot be executed with tacit knowledge. In order to leverage the benefits of agile, it is absolutely necessary to harness state-of-the-art Knowledge Management tools and Learning Platforms.

[Yup, in order to scale agile to the next level, to scale it beyond small teams to the level of enterprise-wide way of operating, it is necessary to select and use knowledge management tools and learning platforms… but this doesn’t let us off the hook regarding statement #1 – we still gotta have self-aware evolution and demand technical excellence from ourselves… without that there are no tools that will save us or move us to the next level.]

4. Maximize Value Creation Across the Entire Enterprise: During the next decade Agile is not going to be restricted for software projects

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