Can Everyone Utilize Agile Principles? Absolutely.

Scott Heffield, our SVP of Operations and one of our resident SAFe Agilists, will whet your appetite for Agile even if you’re not on a development or even a technical team. He’s going to flip the script on the Agile Manifesto and look at its principles through the lens of cooking in your home kitchen. Scott will demonstrate that the Agile principles can be applied across multiple domains and disciplines.

We’ve all had our fair share of pivots over the last year and we’ve learned so much about who we are, what we do, and how we do it.  GIF from the show FRIENDS in which Ross is moving a couch up a stairwell and yells for his moving partner to PIVOT to get the couch up the stairsWe are all having to adapt and pivot in ways we couldn’t anticipate. 

For most, it means a radical adoption of new technology 
For some, it means fine-tuning and improving existing technology.  
For others, it means a full-scale digital transformation 

Depending on your team, any one of those possibilities could be an overwhelming undertaking. You could spend hours, days, weeks, even months researching and planning only to end up spinning your wheels and not make any progress.  

This takes a new way of thinking, leading, and working together. Agile principles have the building blocks to help any team in your organization successfully undertake digital transformation (not just your development team!).

So what are the Agile building blocks?

Let’s first take a look at the 4 core values of Agile. 

Agile Core Values: Individuals and interactions over processes and tools Working software over comprehensive documentation Customer collaboration over contract negotiation Responding to change over following a plan

At first glance, these are obviously geared towards a technical development crowd. But let’s flip the script and think about these values through the lens of cooking in your home kitchen (something we’ve been doing a lot). 

GIF of Muppet Swedish Chef dancing in a kitchen with utensils

#1: Individuals and Interactions over Processes and Tools

Don’t get hung up on not having the exact equipment or ingredient. You don’t need to go out and buy a $500 blender when a $50 blender will suit your needs. You don’t need to buy a food chopper when you could, instead, hone your knife skills to make you more efficient in the kitchen.

If a pasta dish calls for fettuccine noodles, but you only have spaghetti noodles — just use the spaghetti noodles! It won’t change the dish that much and you’ll still have food to eat without having to take the time, effort, and money to go buy additional ingredients. Knowing when and how to make appropriate substitutions is a necessary skill when it comes to being able to be nimble in the kitchen.

Which all boils down to…

Basic ingredients and techniques over complex recipes and tools

#2: Working Software over Comprehensive Documentation

Agile says that the most important thing is to create a working product, not just design a great document. It’s one thing to save a bunch of trendy, fancy, or involved recipes on Pinterest you plan on cooking one day. But actually going in the kitchen, cooking a recipe, and eating the food? That’s an entirely different ball game. 

Saving recipes and watching food shows might feel like you’re doing valuable work, but you can’t eat a Pinterest board. Unless you go to the kitchen and cook you won’t have any food to eat.

Maybe you have a hankering for a mid-week pie! So let’s take pie crust as an example. You could save a recipe for traditional pie crust that takes hours. Sure, that pie crust is probably buttery, flakey, and magnificent, but do you have hours to make a simple pie crust in the middle of the week? Probably not. A quick 15-minute pie crust or even a store bought pie crust will do the job and actually make sure you end up a with a mid-week pie. 

Which all boils down to…

Actually cooking and eating food over collecting recipes

#3: Customer Collaboration over Contract Negotiation

Some authorities say ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day’ and have specific guidelines for what to eat.  Let’s say your kid just is not into breakfast. There is no use in taking the time, effort, and ingredients to prepare a standard breakfast if they won’t eat it.

You’d ask your kid what they like or want for breakfast. Then you’d balance what they’d like to eat with what they need to eat. Could a granola bar or smoothie provide the nutrition they need and the convenience everyone wants? Definitely. You have to figure out what everyone needs and wants and then compromise and execute based on that criteria — not some arbitrary and impractical guideline. 

Which boils down to…

Meeting basic nutritional needs over following traditional guidelines

#4: Responding to change over following a plan

Let’s say you have a recipe that calls for you to roast vegetables at 425°F for 30-40 minutes. You preheat your oven, prep your vegetables and your sheet pan, season, and roast. Your oven is roasting these vegetables and you start to smell something burning at the 25 minute mark.

You wouldn’t just leave the vegetables in the oven for the 30-40 minutes the recipe calls for and just watch them burn because the recipe says so. No! You’d take them out at the 25 minute mark! 

Which boils down to… Responding to reality over following a recipe to the letter

So Agile isn’t just for developers? 

We would argue that no, Agile principles aren’t exclusive to development teams. There’s a use case for Agile methodology for any kind of team needing to undergo a significant transformation. 

Don’t go at it alone — get a team of experts in your corner. From the C-Suite to the developers and beyond, Veracity Solutions has experience leading teams of all types and sizes through adopting and implementing the Agile methodology.

Schedule a time to meet with us HERE.

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