Agile project teams are like skilled martial artists

A team working on a project is like a martial artist fighting a big crowd of opponents. That “final product service or result” can look quite overwhelming. The crowd looks menacing, big, and hard to defeat. The agile approach is incremental approach. It’s flow and movement that matter. Real masters do it sequentially and position themselves in such a way that they never have to face more than one opponent. Limit your work in progress. Work on one product backlog item - one opponent at a time. Pretty soon there are no more “opponents” left - the product backlog is empty and the project is delivered. Just don't get stuck anywhere!

How to use Agile Manifesto?

White Rose

Generally, I like elegant and simple rules. They make life super-easy. For example: green light - go, red light - stop. There is nothing to interpret and not much to think about. You just make it a habit: stop on red, go on green. However, not everything is so clear-cut. Sometimes we have shades of red and shades of green and quite a few shades of grey. Take agile manifesto for example.

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Agility requires humility

Humble sun

Humble attitude is useful on many levels. For an agile mindset it’s pretty much paramount. The reason - everything is so transparent. Things are visible. There is nowhere to hide and no way to delay showing your incremental achievements. Other people regularly see the results of your work and offer feedback. They peruse your stuff, give you a different perspective, point out mistakes. If all of that makes you clench your teeth, you are in trouble. One has to stay humble and willing to consider many points of view. Agility requires humility.

Process or no process?

Toothbrush

If you were to take the PMI-ACP exam, you might get a question if agile practitioners shall respect a process or not. The obvious answer is, of course, not. After all, it’s “individuals and interactions over processes and tools!” Being agile means using a process as long as it helps you and your team to get the job done and deliver value.

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What is value?

Value flowers

Agile teams focus on delivering value. What is value? What does it mean, when something is valuable or has value? How do you measure value? It may not be as easy as it seems. First of all, it’s a nominalization of a pretty complex concept and combines many philosophical, psychological, economic, ethical, and social factors.

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Agile mindset in a restaurant

What is “agile mindset” and do you need it in traditional project management? How do you know if someone has an agile mindset, or not? It was the topic of a recent conversation that we had in a San Francisco restaurant.

Now, a little bit about the restaurant. It’s called Educated Palate. It’s run by the City College of San Francisco. That’s where “students practice culinary & service skills in a 50-seat dining room with a rotating menu.” What it means is that it’s run by students.

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Hello world of Agile!

It’s customary to start a new blog with the "Hello world!" This is my "Hello world" or "Hello world of Agile!" This post is the first step in a thousand-mile journey. One has to start somewhere, hasn’t he? One way or another, everything that’s coming in this blog is related to agile. Agile philosophy, agile strategy, agile principles, agile management, agile mindset, agile methodologies, PMI-ACP, etc. This blog should help you learn agile, think agile, be agile.

A blog is a big and overwhelming endeavor. What would be an agile way to tackle something that big? How do you start something like that in an agile way? How do you gain speed and get this “jumbo jet” off the ground? Well, you produce a small piece of it quickly. An increment, a potentially shippable product - so to speak. Something that you can show. Something that you can publish. Even if it’s not much to write home about. So, here you are my first increment of my agile blog about agile.