Agile Methodology Meets Values
July 21, 2020
Ioana Miron

One of my favorite teachers used to say actual knowledge is what you remember after you forgot everything you’ve learned (a math teacher, no less!). In a way, this also applies to organizational culture. It’s when you randomly hear the people in an organization say, “that’s how we do things around here,” that you truly begin to understand their values. One such thing that I heard in way before I had any idea of what it all meant is – “We’re agile.”

By the third time I heard it, I was like, ok, so you have a Yoga club or something.

I was close.

From a methodological point of view, it’s an incremental development method that promotes adaptive planning, development breakdown into smaller deliverables, earlier releases, and continual product improvement. At first glance, it’s the whole sprint-planning, release-every-two-weeks, daily-stand-up story.

However, there’s more to it. Like any proper game-changer, in the early 2000s, Agile Development came with a manifesto (I know, right?), and it reads like this:

· Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

· Working software over comprehensive documentation

· Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

· Responding to change over following a plan

While there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.

So, it wasn’t a Yoga club, after all. As I was about to learn throughout my journey in several teams and projects, “we’re agile,” in, translates into:

· You define your role. You find what you are passionate about, and we’ll back you up 100% - “feedback” is not just a quarterly form lost in a black hole. L&D is a priority for us. Processes are open for discussion – what works for one team might not work for another, and we’re perfectly ok with that.

· BRDs will change. A lot. TSDs will also change, and so will priorities. This is why we strive to do business and technical analysis with an eye to the future and all ears to the client. That’s why we really care about code review and code refactoring. Because come what may, we deliver.

· As far as the customer is concerned, “collaborator” just doesn’t cut it – we want to be your strategic partner, not the “IT guys (and girls).” Understand your needs, business, and existing processes as much as possible, not just the application you need. Proactively come up with solutions. Provide maintenance and support for the applications we develop.

· Change is growth. This might refer to your role in the team, the team itself, the documentation, or the project plan, and it can be challenging, but we don’t shy away from that. We don’t mistake confidence and security with the proverbial comfort zone, and we respond to the needs of our people the same way we respond to the needs of the client: we adapt.

Stripping away the administrative layer and going back to the core principles of Agile Development, I came to realize that “agile” is a mindset in, a way to do business – a value.

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