Pucker Up for the Agile Kiss

The Beauty of Agile is to Keep It Simple Silly (KISS)

Many's the time when some of us more passionate advocates get carried away with diatribes about agile. All the while only over complicating and confusing others. This article aims to remove the confusion and focus on the beauty of agile, through keeping it simple —silly.

Photo by Tim Mossholder on Unsplash
Focus on the basics

This section highlights the joy of keeping agile simple by focusing just on what is important.

Collaborate

This is very simple and a key word for team work: Collaboration.
To begin,  focus on communicating effectively with each other. Simple right? Not quite, it is a process. However, if you can focus on keeping communication clear within the team and in near to real-time as possible —you are off to a good start.
As we work more closely with each other, we will build a shared understanding over time.
I recommended having a read on my Medium blog called Some Common Agile Challenges for some tips and tricks on overcoming team niggles. Plus Optimising Scrum Work Environments where I breakdown the forming, storming, norming and performing phases of teamwork. Also, take a look at an article blog I write on this site called Removing Impediments

Focus on priorities

Priority means setting priorities from the beginning; always work from a ranked product backlog. Then relook at the rankings often. Use time-boxed ceremonies to do so.
When working together as a team, make sure you work in the order they appear in.
For more information I would recommend taking at Using Agile to Effectively Manage Risk — there is a part in it that discusses the importance of team accountability. Additionally, take a look at The Beauty of the Agile Framework.

Respect all 

From stakeholders and team mates, you should treat others the way you want to be treated.
Respect the process by sticking to it and holding each other accountable. 

You can respect each other by:

  • Focus on product by reducing complexity and technical debt. 
  • Work with your team by setting up realistic goals.
  • Enabling your team to be accountable for their work by solving their own problems.
  • Working together towards a common goal, drive towards success and make it happen and make it sustainable.
I recommended having a read on my Medium blog called Some Common Agile Challenges for some tips and tricks on overcoming team niggles.  Plus Tools and Techniques to be Adaptive

Improve on each sprint

If you and your team can focus on the agreed outcomes then this will enable you to start well, and if all your team are aligned it is more likely to end well also.
Focus on the task in front of you and identify moments to improve, keep a note of them.
Avoid gold plating — this is where you want too many features that cannot be reasonably achieved within a time-boxed sprint. 

Photo by Jungwoo Hong on Unsplash
When improvements are embraced, only way is up


 Instead focus on keeping it simple, focus on doing the simplest work first and then stop. Ask your stakeholders for feedback, have we met the mark? This move in its simplest form is what agile is about. The three pillars of scrum:
  • Transparency
  • Inspection
  • Adaption
Remember, that big massive change within a short amount of time is not helpful, it is not agile. Instead, focus on simple small improvements over time. If you keep trying to get better, and you will!

See Enhancing your Agile Workplace for more information.

Measure

As I have mentioned before in my blog article called Reporting agile projects, you can wrangle very simple and effective reporting tools called `Information Radiators` to help your team stay on track and remain focused.

See also Agile is Predictable in a Good Way for more information on reporting, information radiators and how agile is good for businesses.

Reflect & Repeat

Reflect

When reflecting, retrospectives —many consider as lessons learned— is an opportunity for the entire team to inspect their internal processes and find ways on improving.

See Setting Up Ways to be Adaptive for more information on using adaptive management techniques with your team to enhance understanding and workflows.

Repeat

When repeating, you celebrate success, learn what you can to bring forward into the next sprint. Go back up to Improve on Each Sprint section for the main points of continuous improvement.

See Scrum in a Few Words to see the beauty and value of incremental continuous improvement.

Tips on staying agile

Here are some tips to make sure you and your team are continuously practicing agile effectively.
  1. Always ensure you are in touch with your stakeholders and responsive to their needs.
  2. Ensure that your development team and stakeholders have well defined team milestones and work plans. Make sure these are not orders coming from executives — otherwise it is not Agile!
  3. Your team and their relationship with all those around them is highly collaborative.
  4. You and your team are continually delivering output that is actually usable. For instance, the product delivers value from the onset.
Finally, take a look at Agile for Agencies on some quick win pragmatic tips for staying agile and a preview to a new agile framework called Modern Agile that is taking the world by storm.

What do you think of my list to keeping agile simple, is there anything missing?

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Until next time, keep it agile!