Agile Is Not The Goal

agile is not the goalAgile has become the new fashion in the Software Development World. Organizations ranging from startups to large scale development, varying across technologies and domains, from Product Companies to Service Organizations have either started, or planning to start or already have years of experience invested in the Agile Software Development.

The challenge starts when the teams or organizations just want to do Agile, without understanding the need for it. They just want to brand themselves as Agile, as this is the new thing and everyone is doing it. They don’t want to be left behind in this race.

They just focus too much on the practices, and forget to think about why they are doing those practices. They blindly follow the popular Agile methodologies or frameworks without understanding the context of their problems, environment, real need of the hour, believing Agile is the ultimate solution to any problem.

The ‘purpose’ is lacking in this case. Soon you find that, the teams/organizations that lack the purpose for adopting Agile Practices, become less motivated to continue doing Agile practices, and ultimately fall back in their old ways of working.

Studies have shown that autonomy, mastery and purpose are the key ingredients for motivation. Purpose, being the most important one.

Is doing Agile, the sole ‘purpose’ for the teams/organizations to adopt Agile?

Does it sound oxymoronic?

I believe, the first step is to revisit the Goals/visions of your teams/organizations:

  • Where you are currently placed?
  • Where do you want to go?
  • What is stopping you to be what you want to be?

Individuals, Teams and Organizations working together to remove the impediments to get closer to their vision/goal is what is called being Agile.

Every problem has its unique environment, people and needs and no there is no single, proven magic formula to solve it, although there are stories, experiences and lessons learned from others trying to solve problems, that seems close to your problems, and you would like to adopt that in your teams and organizations.

So the next time, an Agile Team /organization starts adopting Agile, ask them “What is your purpose?”

Agile is a means to achieve your Goals. Agile is not the Goal.

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ashishAbout the Author: Ashish Mahajan is an Agile Consultant working with Infosys Limited. He specializes in Agile Adoption, Transformation and Coaching. He is passionate about Agile and works with teams and organizations in their journey of Agile Transition. He has worked in various capacities as a Software Developer, Project Lead, Scrum Master, Agile Evangelist and Coach. Ashish is a CSM, CSPO, CSP from Scrum Alliance and ITIL 2011 Foundation certified.

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