I've been running some DevOps, Agile and Cloud Computing courses the past 2 weeks. A common question that I'm asked...is what exactly is Agile and what does it mean to be Agile.
Simply put...Agile is a mindset...where you're able to take a problem....divide it up into very small pieces...and execute as efficiently as possible using lean flow techniques....agile principles....feedback loops....whilst allowing yourself to experiment, fail and learn to produce a significantly better outcome.
Lean flow is all about eradicating waste....things like shorten waiting times....don't pass defects or problems downstream to the next person....relying less on email and more on face to face communications....as well as experimenting with smaller targeted meetings of 30 minutes or less.
Value stream mapping is a very effective tool for understanding the flow of work between teams.....as illustrated by my fantastics students below:
Agile principles include.....decentralised decision-making by allowing others to experiment, fail and learn, whilst creating a safe enviromment...free from blame and finger pointing. Not jumping into solution-mode...instead preserving options....until much later in the solution lifecycle...thinking of functions and capabilities, rather than tech. And finally unlocking the intrinsic motiviations of knowledge workers....simply put...give your people Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose.
Below is some artifacts from a PI Planning simulation that I run on our Leading SAFe course. It's all part of the Scaled Agile Framework which includes the above Agile principles:
Finally feedback loops....by asking your client how you can improve...asking your stakeholders their key concerns....automating your tasks....especially tests....and ensuring all your work is visible...especially with a large geographically dispersed team. Using physical and digital Kanbans are great methods for reminding the team what needs to be done...and also helps to celebrate the wins...especially the small ones.
Students in my cloud security (CCSP) class are using the Kanban technique to derive work that covers some of the top cloud security threats:
What does Agile mean to you?
Paul Colmer is a digital coach for ALC Training and a freelance consultant specialising in short engagements. Paul has an infectious passion for empowering others to learn and to applying disruptive thinking in an engaging and positive way.