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Do it agile! - Okay, but what? How?

When they say to you, "Do it agile!" but all you get are the questions. Darwin, team sports or any battle will help!

Dear me. Let me write you a few words about "the" thing. Now, with your eyes gleaming in the maze of computer programs, people, projects in the IT industry, you will probably be pegged as a solution: do it agile!


You will ask: Okay, but what is this? There is no answer. Or there is, because a lot of it is not agility. It's not the solution to everything and it's not the answer to everything. You'll hear about its origins[1], there will be consultants, coaches, books and videos. All sorts of tools and software, rituals and naysayers who have only seen projects fail because of it.


Let stop yourselves a little. Then close your eyes and look inside yourself. Look back to the past when you took your first step as a child. Look around at Darwin's theory of evolution and glance at any team sport or historical battle. Why am I asking this? Because it's all the answer. This is what you're really living in, this is the ether. Agility is evolution, a desire to learn. When you took your first step as a child, you had a vision. You knew what you wanted to do (walk). You knew it took balance (you fall), perseverance (practice after all the falls), retrying (you won't get it right the first time), self-awareness (I don't know how yet, but I believe in myself).


Okay, but that doesn't help. Does that make my project agile? Yes, have a fixed vision for your project, don't move it around. Plan what you ideally need (hands, feet, balance, gravity, eyes, coordination, etc.) Your project is like that. Without actors and resources, you won't have a team to solve tasks in parts, one after the other, building on each other. Some places will call it product backlog, and sprint, and use all sorts of magic words like Epic, Story and Task, Bug, Worm. Don't worry about those. Know what you want and adapt constantly with the knowledge you have with the tools and people. Everything is needed to understand and perform the next task. Sometimes you will need to step back and tidy things up. But don't rush or you'll fall flat on your face. Slow steady progress is always better than getting stuck.


What about Darwin? Adapt, try, adopt. Incorporating the useful stuff. These are what you need to adapt with your team, because that's how you'll get things done together. Everybody that's good at what they do. Your ears, your eyes, your feet, your heart. Gravity is something you can't deal with, it's a gift. Don't try to change that.


Team sports, American football? You can. Offensive line, defensive line, special teams. Everyone has a role and you can't win without one. Yeah, there's quarterbacks and receivers and linemen. It's about team unity and accepting everyone as a team member for a common goal. We stick together and help each other. The wall man also scores the touchdown. You'll have developers, operators, system administrators, business analysts, infrastructures, testers, managers. Try to get them to understand that the team is a living thing. It reacts to internal processes, it reacts to external stimuli, but it is going somewhere towards a goal. Self-improving and honest with yourself. Never assign tasks out of necessity. Have clear simple tasks broken down into small parts (10 yards). Always discuss the set-up and the play. Run! Sprint? I know that one! Yes, it's similar. You don't have to vary either. It's either pass or run, don't change scope during sprint/development phase either!


And the battle? You're not serious, are you? It's a typically flawed assumption that battles are won by weapons (OK, sometimes they are.) But mostly by preparation, planning, adaptation. You have to know your team's weakness. You protect it, you strengthen it. If you have a junior or scarce resource, you help, teach/organise around tasks. You use cavalry, infantry, archers at the same time, moving in parallel where possible, as you have a plan for interdependent and independent tasks, which the controller knows. The two catchers on either side rush at the same time, the villagers in front of you close up, and you pass the ball to the bishop in the back. You provide food/drink for the soldiers, rest and entertainment.


So you write the story, for yourself. Homo Sapiens Agilitus :)


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