• Brian Levy

Why Aren’t You Using Agile Yet?

Learning Basics in Agile


When developing a continuous plan for a goal, it would be helpful to know how to work your way into understanding the goal itself. A continuous plan helps you know when you have the evidence that validates the fulfillment of the goal, by looking at the future state and the current state. Look at the items included in planning and test them. If they work, that is great news! However, if they aren’t working, then you know you need to make some changes to the plan; the purpose of a plan is to mirror the future state. Additionally, after testing comes integration of the project and software.


Let’s take a second and think of an outside example of when you’d need continuous planning and testing integration. I’ve listed some below.


  • GPS

  • Best ways to parent children.

  • Preference for staffing in certain cities is known.

  • (Certain cities are very popular while others are losing many staff.)

  • Preferences for hosting conferences known.

  • (Certain hotels are known for holding conferences while others struggle to have a better reputation.)


Continuing on…


These are all excellent examples that pertain to planning and testing integration because agile is about transforming the way a company solves problems; each bulletin uses knowledge to make decisions. The first example is a GPS, the GPS modifies based on other options that are available. The directions may change along the way, (road closures, construction, dead-ends, etc.) but based on the information available, the GPS will still find a way to the programmed destination. Much like in agile when we use our knowledge to plan different ways of reaching our desired state, even with obstacles in our way.

If we look at another example, such as parenting children, we see parents using their knowledge to come up with ways to raise their children. They have methods for how to influence their child to be a certain way. New parents will most likely raise their children based on the ways (what they liked or disliked) their parents raised them. But experienced parents can look back and decide what they would do differently. Much like parenting, Agile uses knowledge to come up with different ways for attaining a goal and we use knowledge based on our previous experiences.



Where do you imagine yourself on this scale?



(Fixed) (Growth)

(Closed) (Open)

(Prevention) (Promotion)

(Inward) (Outward)



PAUSE…


Take a second. Think about a moment in your life, whether recently or in the past, where you could’ve used this stuff. The best thing about agile, it’s applicable to everything!



Use Agile as The Scientific Experiment It Is…

…It Works


There are many theories behind why agile works: 1.) It enables teams to work together more effectively. 2.) Improves performance by giving managers the chance to recognize strengths/weaknesses of their team. 3.) Team members become much more reliable in their field as a knowledge worker. When we use agile:

  1. First we begin with a goal.

  2. Next, we decompose the goal into smaller items.

  3. We do this until a team can implement the items into their sprint because it is doable.

Agile is technically a LARGE experiment. Companies use agile because they don’t know how to get the results that they want through experience, hence the experiment. They observe the desired state, which is the future state, and then they observe their current state. Next, they formulate a plan and reevaluate; they do this consistently. With traditional approaches, people have milestones and they set them up to monitor themselves; to make sure they’re headed in the right direction.

However, what we do in agile, instead of milestones, we think about the risk of going off the rails and making shorter milestones; we’ll call them ‘Sprints.’ Sprints are just smaller pieces of time-frames that we use to observe that everything goes as planned. What people are doing when they’re engaging in agile, is making a cultural transition. Agile is about empowering people to make their own decisions. In order for this to work, when companies make the transformation into agile, what they must do is change the culture from what it is into a problem-solving culture. The idea is for people to know how to solve their own problems, and so, problem-solving becomes their profession.





What Are The Roles in Scrum?


Scrum is a role where you operate in certain capacities in order to perform agile. Agile is a process where we think differently in order to improve results in a shorter period of time. There are certain roles within the scrum process:


  1. Select a Product Owner

  2. Responsible for the project's outcome.

  3. Understands customer requirements and expectations from the product.

  4. Select a Scrum Master

  5. Facilitates scrum to the larger team by ensuring the scrum framework is followed.

  6. Flexible and open to opportunities for the team to improve their workflow.

  7. Select Team Members (also referred to as Developers)

  8. They make decisions to get work done.

  9. Develop or create the increment.

  10. Invent a Team Name


  1. (Acceptance Criteria: A PO, SM, Team Members, and Team Name have been chosen and inserted into your team's respective Mural Board.

  2. Constraint: If you are a PO or SM in your real job, please let someone else play that role here.)


These scrum roles describe the responsibilities for the people on the scrum team. The thing is, scrum is about self-organization and continuous improvement. Consequently, these roles give the team a definition of their responsibilities and learning to take accountability allows the team to deliver results effectively. Scrum teaches people how to be responsible for how they organize and improve themselves with every Sprint.


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