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Just One Agile Thing

Shared IdeaI met with the Agile Influencers of DC, on Friday night.  The focus of the conversations for the evening was Agile Adoption.  One of the questions asked (I’m paraphrasing here) was

If you were on a project, and you could leverage just ONE “Agile” THING, what would it be and why would you choose it?

This is a little like the first episode of Surviver but it is a good exercise to make you think about what you find valuable in Agile. Would you choose the use of information radiators? Perhaps you favor retrospective meetings?  Or perhaps, you love the use of cross-functional co-located teams?

When I was asked, I chose empowered teams.  Look back at the Agile Manifesto and one of its principles.  Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.

I believe if you build a team of professional and empowered people, you increase the probability of project success.  Give your people some general rules to follow and have the faith they will make the right decisions.  It beats the hell out of trying to control them!  Empowering them also gives you more time to help them when they really need you, rather than making trivial decisions.

So, what would be the one thing you would choose?  Why?

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About Derek Huether

I'm Vice President of Enterprise Engagements at LeadingAgile. I'm super focused on results. But I also take the hand waving out of organizational transformations. I come from a traditional PM background but I don't give points for stuff done behind the scenes. The only thing that counts is what you get done and delivered. Author of Zombie Project Management (available on Amazon)

5 Responses to “Just One Agile Thing”

  1. Perry
    January 10, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    I think you chose the best thing. An empowered and engaged team can do tremendous things.

  2. January 10, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    ENGAGED, AVAILABLE, KNOWLEDGABLE, and ENABLED PRODUCT OWNER. Hands down.

  3. January 10, 2011 at 5:57 pm

    HI Derek,

    Thanks for making it Friday! For the benefit of folks, I went with Retrospectives. I felt the deep potential reflections available from open and honest collaborative dialogue that comes from these will allow a move towards Agile eventually; even if you started with these on a classic waterfall process. The retrospectives we have always seem to bring in new insight with various actions for us to take. From the mundane to the more involved, what is great is that 1) the team buys into them and 2) they are treated as an experiment and thus are willing to be a bit more innovative in the approach.

    Cheers!
    Paul

  4. January 11, 2011 at 2:11 pm

    Hi Derek,

    Sounds like a good group Derek, and an interesting twist on the “way to break the ice” question. Any chance a Agile-neophyte could attend to learn more? In my opinion, no matter what methodology you prefer, it all still comes down to the people implementing it.

    • Anonymous
      January 11, 2011 at 5:35 pm

      Your attendance would be very welcomed. Check out the website for more details. Next meetup is scheduled for February 4 at Argia’s in Falls Church, Virginia. Hope to see you there!

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