onsdag 12 april 2017

A Capability View on Agility

Agile "methods" (Scrum, SAFe, DSDM etc) are not tools but toolboxes, collections of tools that skilled folks have seen work so they have put them in a toolbox and put a name on it. The "methods", the toolboxes, are very similar when it comes to what tools they contain. Iterations, cross functional teams, daily meetings preferably in front of a kanban board of sorts are often present.

What creates agility in a collaboration however isn't the name of the toolbox, or even the tools, but the new capabilities you can build using the tools. When you focus on the capabilities you need, you will be able to select the correct tool for the job and be able to avoid the not so helpful religious fights about what toolbox one should use.

You don't need the product owner but the capability in the organization to understand and decide what is the most important thing right now given that this product should be healthy during its full life cycle. A product owner is one way of creating that capability.

You don't need sprints but the capabilities to review what you are doing at regular intervals and to plan ahead a bit, synchronized with other efforts. Having sprints is one method, but there are others.

You don't need the scrum master but the capability to have coaching servant leadership working in the organization, where the human factors are understood and regarded.

You don't need the retrospective but some structured way of doing kaizen, continuous improvement.

The toolboxes are often excellent starting points. The particular collection of tools has after all proven to be effective. But by all means, don't look at the tools, look at what you are trying to build.

Focus on the capabilities.

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