We know from our agility training that change is the one constant in life and business. Each of the above flavors of Agile address this same question: How do we handle change?
The Agile Manifesto spells this out…
Individuals and interactions over process and tools
These two comparisons, often lead teams down a binary path: individuals, not processes, and interactions, not tools. However, it’s not a one or the other model. It’s a prioritization model. If you had to choose, choose the first over the second.
We’ve found that the two are even more connected: Processes that embrace individual contribution and tools that encourage interaction. A process isn’t bad, nor are tools. Like a map and compass, they aren’t useless; in fact, they’re incredibly valuable when used properly and prioritized accordingly.
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Pulling back from its literal interpretation, a routine that achieves the goals of the team — whatever it is — is more valuable than dogmatic adherence to a process. Remember, if I trust Google Maps 100% of the time, then I could conceivably drown in a river or drive the wrong way into traffic.
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
For the moment, replace “customer collaboration” with “process iteration” and “contract negotiation” with “process dogmatism.” Prioritizing dogmatism over iteration is a core concern. Now, that’s not to say a team should change direction willy-nilly without taking the time to determine that a particular step in their process is effective; they shouldn’t be afraid to add a little salt to their recipe and refine their process over time.
Responding to change over following a plan
Team too often ask the wrong question of themselves, “Are we doing it the ‘Agile’ way?” versus “How do we know what we’re doing does or doesn’t work? and if what we’re doing doesn’t work, are we doing the way we know works? and if so, what do we need to do differently?”
The most undervalued tool in the arsenal is a retrospective. In our many years at ZEAL we’ve changed the format and frequency plenty of times; however, the purpose has always stayed the same: to respond to the questions above.