10 key reasons to be truly agile – by an Agile coach, witness

  1. Faster return on investment (ROI) to the customer through iterative and incremental deliveries, than the traditional big bang deliveries. This gives an opportunity to the customers to start using the key features early.
  2. Better transparency to the customer – The customer gets absolute visibility into the development process. In account where we were associated with agile roll out, their customer was asking their supplier (my customer) to recruit more people, because of the better transparency into the manpower loading pattern and the work to be completed.
  3. Better risk management (financial, technical, people) –  The risks could be both positive and negative.  In one large team I got associated with, they built a product for three years to realize that nobody wanted it. A fast failure would have helped them to save millions. That was the reason why they embraced agile. A fast failure of a sprint due to architectural issues will always help to avoid lot of rework. Early sprint failures due to technical deficit of the team stops the development of a substandard product. Is it not good. If you appreciate it, you have the right agile mindset.
  4. Better predictability – In agile planning, the target set for a sprint is always based on the historical data of the team’s productivity. This increases the probability of the teams delivering what is committed, and very often little more than committed.
  5. Better transparency to the development team – In one organization the development head was highly skeptical about scrum initially, because he felt he is going to loose visibility into the development process. Luckily he sat through the agile training along with the team and towards the end he became the biggest supporter for agile. After understanding the agile framework, he realized that the transparency is much better than the traditional models.
  6. Better productivity by eliminating non contributing members– Yes, I meant productivity. Not from day one. If we go to the gym, first we get body pain, then only the benefits follow. Same is the case here. When we embrace agility, initially it hurts, especially the non contributing members to the deliverable. They can either become contributing members, or they do not have a role in the agile world. That is a reality one has to face. Over a period of time (not years, I am talking about a couple of months), you will have a team of contributing members only.
  7. Better productivity through positive peer pressure – One of the key aspects of agile teams is their self organizing nature. The decides how they are going to operate. It thrives on work volunteering than allocation. This brings in better ownership and productivity.
  8. Better work life balance – Agile talks about 8 hour working days. We are not talking about spending 8 hours in the office. We are talking about doing 8 hours productive work in the office within 8 – 9 office hours. This leads to better motivation and energy levels.
  9. Sense of urgency – Every sprint end is more like a project end. The pressure is always on the team. This speeds up work. When we conducted a survey for a team of 100, after experiencing scrum for almost 10 months, they unanimously said that they are under pressure with pleasure. It is a constant self imposed pressure, not the last minute pressures.
  10. Ability to enjoy work – When did you miss your office last, when you took a leave?. Is this an Utopian question?. On many occasions, the agile team members call their colleagues to find out the status and to know about what happened in the daily stand ups and the burn downs. Many occasions I have seen scrum masters reminding their team members to have lunch breaks. These are happening again and again. I am witness to it.

This post is motivated by my past one decades agile training and coaching experience. There are many cases where teams tried to be agile and then failed due to several reasons, which I will discuss sometime later. The term ‘ teams truly agile’ is significant while reading this post. 

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