There Must Be an Agile Way

How many times have you heard someone say, “There must be a better way.” I’ve heard it often enough but rarely does any real change follow.

There is surely resistance to change but the problem runs deeper. A “better way” is too general — too ambiguous. It is not actionable. What if the statement was re-phrased as “There has to be an agile way.”?

Agile principles are not just for software development. Any business process can be more agile. Adding the following concepts to any group effort will make it more agile:

  • Cross-functional teams
  • Empowered people
  • Focus on value and excellence
  • Risk reduction techniques
  • Open communication and transparency

Ask a few key questions to draw out ideas and focus attention on the need for change. If people are serious about wanting a better way, the answers will lead them to it.

  • If more people were available, could activities be overlapped (done in parallel)?
  • Are there tools available that could automate the work or make it simpler or faster?
  • Can the effort be deconstructed and reformed into an iterative set of activities?

The next time someone asks for a better way, ask a few questions and think of ways the team can be more agile.

Updated: January 19, 2011 — 10:53 pm