Opening the portal to become agile

8. November 2009


This is start of my new blog. It thought it may make sense to begin with a starting topic

How could one actually start to become agile?

Most people think it is a major challenge and that they need to dive deep into agile “methodologies”. Even though I wouldn’t recommend to start all alone without help of someone experienced, you still can start small without calling it agile. Let me describe how I started to become agile.

I think it is important to distinguish two areas:

  • The agile methodology and process
  • Agile techniques or practices

I started to become agile without even knowing I was following the agile ideas. That was far from following an agile process. I must admit that I even didn’t really understand what agile meant when I signed the “agile manifesto”. There the term agile was coined  to give a common name to those ideas that were floating around for years already.  So what was I doing by that time?

Use techniques
I was using techniques that are widely adopted in agile teams like the following

  • Write and automate unit and functional tests to improve quality
  • Establish Continuous Integration to reduce integration issues of developers software units
  • Talk to each other frequently and efficiently to improve communication
  • Be efficient about documentation
  • Produce the most important things first, the unimportant things never
  • Understand what it means to be a team – spread responsibilities and get commitment from all

I was implicitly mainly using Agile techniques and practices without knowing or understanding the agile mindset (yet) but who cares? It eventually led my to the idea of studying the whole agile mindset. Only much later I started reading about Scrum and understood that there is a more comprehensive approach to all of the different practices and a framework that puts these and other ideas into perspective.

Start using these techniques and try to understand them by talking to someone who knows and cares.  That way you begin with a small toolset to eventually master the bigger thing to become agile in terms of the Agile methodology and process.

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