Back To Basics / by Kwasi Owusu-Asomaning

I thought I'll launch my site with an article or two and I had a good conversation with a colleague of mine which inspired this article.

Question? What does the Agile manifesto say?

How many of you started responding to that question with any of the 4 values in the manifesto? i.e. "Individuals and Interactions..." etc etc etc
As opposed to the below from the manifesto.

"We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it." http://agilemanifesto.org/ 

That initial sentence in the manifesto runs through the very core of Agility and the mindset required when faced with either deciding to adopt Agile, coaching it, training it or if you already live and breath the dynamics of any of the practices under the Agile umbrella - Kaizen!

The need for continuous improvement and the fact that any organisation or team will go through phases of uncovering what Agility means to them is important. Their ShuHaRi! They will go through a phase of learning from trainers and coaching without deviating from what "textbook Agile" says or what they've been taught - Shu. Followed by a phase of the 'Aha' moment; where they've understood the principles of Agility and how that meets their customer needs - mindset (a.k.a Ha). Followed by an embodiment of Agility where teams are coming up with approaches and techniques based on their particular circumstances and adapting it to seek perfection whilst interacting with stakeholders, satisfying customer needs without over thinking it or feeling the need to over-state the "Oh yes we are Agile" statement - Ri.

Very often, Agile coaches, trainers, Evangelist (call it what you may), forget about this very key sentence at the beginning of the manifesto when they go into organisations to help improve things.

Agility adoption is no easy feat and that's one of the many reasons you've not seen a single Agile adoption that is the same from organisation to organisation.  
That is why each organisation need to pick the bits of the Agile framework to satisfy their customer needs with the help of good Agile coaches and the relevant training.

Take it all back to the basics; engage the teams and the organisation, listen, observe - Genchi Genbutsu, coach, train and stick with the basics with a solid foundation until the 'Aha' moment.
Explain to the organisation about the journey of discovery you are all about to go on, to uncover better ways of developing software.
 
My philosophy has always been to have the foundations in place. And by foundations, I mean Agility mindset (through coaching, training, finding patterns and anti-patterns), right culture (personal and organisational) and the right environment to foster the right mindset (attitude, desire, energy) and behaviour. 
It is very important to understand the organisation's customers' needs, the business' vision and how they operate, the challenges the business is facing and then work with them to uncover better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it.

Finally, I would like to hear from you with your thoughts on this post in the comments below.