After observing the software development IT world since 1985, I have noticed that people fall into four general categories with respect to new improvement initiatives, such as Agile, PMI, CMMI, SAFe, Lean, Six Sigma, etc.
- Ignore — it’s just a fad
- Implement poorly on purpose to prove a point — “I’ll show them”
- Enthusiastically comply to the letter, with the assumption that this is all that is required to be successful
- Focus on intent and adapt whatever the thing is to further a bigger goal
Intent-ers focus on work and make the new initiative useful. Effort is expended to adapt the new practices. These new practices become the norm, and the team receives the benefits every day.
- Risk management is used to head off problems and establish a risk budget that avoids the project missing its budget goals
- Agile is applied to the riskiest parts of the project to reduce risk
- The team invites management to every fifth daily standup so it can share status and avoid one more meeting.
“Enthusiastic compliers” focus on the new practices and how to comply. A lot of time is spent discussing (arguing) about the purest form of each practice. People who don’t agree to the purest definitions are frowned upon.
- A project’s risk list refers to events way outside the scope of the current project (reality), such as “world hunger” and “sudden death.” But the project does have a risk list!
- User stories are applied to everything that moves. For example, a developer task is written: “As a developer I want to write code for the interface next week, so that I can get ahead in the schedule and keep my boss happy.”
- A project team does not invite management to the daily standup because the prescription says daily stand-ups are only for team members.
Be an “Intent-er” by adapting each practice to your current challenges and goals.
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If you are ready for some Agile intent, attend our upcoming webinar, “We’re Agile and it is Chaos, Now What?”