TLDR: Agile frameworks are much more than daily meetings or the KPIs we measure. I am certain there are aspects of Agile that everybody can use to enhance their lives, especially in times like these. What are these aspects, you ask? That’s up to you, the reader.

Pff…is this another post about Agile? Seems like it. Is it different than the other 76 ones you’ve read so far? Yes. Does that make this one worth reading? That’s up to you to decide. It will take you about 154 seconds.

For the usual Agile stuff, visit the links at the bottom.

I came to realise that Agile is a way of life. It’s the cycle of doing stuff and reflecting on whether we could do said stuff better. It’s about testing ideas,  making decisions based on the info we have at the moment and failing quickly to succeed or pivot as fast as possible.

I started working in software in early 2018 as a Project Manager (why do I feel the need to always capitalise these two words?). I received a book about Agile (more precisely about Scrum) from my boss on the first day of work. I was so excited, I read it cover to cover the following weekend. It was such an exhilarating knowledge to behold. Then, as you might know this feeling all too well, reality hit hard when I realised that:

  • Agile looks very different project by project
  • The successful implementation of Agile is very much dependent on the client’s willingness to adopt it
  • The benefits of Agile are not that straightforward to those that don’t spend time researching it

So that created a kinda awkward situation, when I was the junior PM on the project and didn’t want to step on any toes, but I also wanted to implement at least something from my newly gained knowledge… I am only human, so I went with the flow of the project and didn’t really give much thought to the ideal way of doing Agile for the next 2 years.

Then I started working at another company, now as a Scrum Master (that capitalisation again). Which company you ask? Look at the page you are on. I regained my excitement about Agile and Scrum and started creating Retros, Stand-ups, Sprint Plannings and all kinds of team building exercises.

Then COVID-19 came along and made us suddenly distributed. How are we doing Scrum without being in the same room? We had to realise that sometimes adapting means giving yourself some breathing room by NOT doing Scrum or Agile. Sometimes a project is too short or too technical to start writing user stories, or do retros. C’est la vie, right?

Over the past few weeks, as I had more time to reflect, I realised that Agile is impacting how I spend my time in my personal life, too. So, what do I mean by Agile being a way of life?

For me this means that if you don’t like something about your life, you can and should change it.

Be transparent with yourself, inspect your feelings and actions, and then adapt if necessary. This also mean voluntarily accepting the burden of self-inspection. But instead of always doubting yourself, which leads to inaction, you make a decision, you commit yourself to a goal and set of actions, you act, then inspect and adapt. That’s the cycle we all go through ALL the time. That is, if we want to continue our existence in a fruitful and #woke manner. And that’s how you can make progress. Incremental steps over a long period of time.

Additionally – but equally importantly – don’t be afraid to change stuff about yourself. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking about yourself in a fossilised way. You might already know people that make this mistake. The guy that rents that fancy apartment for the past 5 years? He would probably move into a cheaper option without the external and internal pressure to “remain the guy that rents a fancy apartment and invites people over to gain validation”. The lady that has been an accountant for 20+ years but hasn’t really enjoyed it for the past 5? She might consider taking up painting and make a living off of that. That is, if she takes the time to inspect and adapt.

Shake things up on a regular basis, inspect, adapt and live a fuller life.

But hey, who am I to tell you anything? Tell me your thoughts about the topic. Reach out and let’s converse

andras.bozzai@snapsoft.hu

 

The links at the bottom:

http://agilemanifesto.org/

https://www.agilealliance.org/

https://www.scrum.org/

https://www.amazon.com/Scrum-Doing-Twice-Work-Half/dp/B00NHZ6PPE/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=scrum&qid=1587717144&sr=8-1