Action #1: Pick the single (1) most-important challenge to solve next
If you’d talk to consult with an experienced Agilist, talk to a live person, and ask your questions…
You find yourself in a familiar place. It’s place of planning, a “war room” environment. It’s deserted. You take a look around. Something’s different. In the center of the table is what looks like an old tube-based TV set with an attached keyboard. Where did it come from? This is certainly unusual.
Choose Your Own Agile Adventure™️
You read the screen and it says “Zork I: The Great Underground Empire”. It’s the original text-based adventure game, the precursor to all modern video games.
Starting Your Adventure
Step #0: Aiming for Success
Agile is hugely successful in many cases, but sometimes it’s not. When it doesn’t work, why doesn’t it work? Here at the Library of Agile we took a “Design Thinking” kind of approach to discovering why Agile failed when it did fail. We started with researching both the successes and the failures, and then categorizing the patterns. What was common between the successes? What was common between the failures? What existed in both successes and failures?
Why Does Agile Fail?
Failure #1: We Ignore Our Problems
We ignore our problems because:
We don’t see them
We don’t know how to fix them
We love the solution more than the problem
We think someone else should do it
Think of what really gets your emotions up, e.g. angry 😡, sad 😢, or fearful 😱
While you can certainly implement Agile just for the sake of “going Agile”, and many do, you will realize drastically better outcomes by centering your changes around solving problems or tackling challenges.
For clarity, it doesn’t have to be drastic to be what we would classify as a problem. Some people are not adopting Agile to solve any particular problems. Maybe they’re value-driven, inspired to action by a mission, belief, or cause. It could be that they’ve already solved their major problems, and they just want to be better. One of the things we’ve discovered is that even when our problems are not problems anymore, if we lose sight of what gave rise to our values and missions, we risk those problems resurfacing without noticing it. If you fall into this category, think about the problems that you don’t want to see return.
Step #1: Make a (prioritized) list of challenges that you want to solve
How to Prioritize Your Problems
There are many ways to prioritize. (We catalog multiple approaches in our catalog). It doesn’t matter which method you use, though, only that you spend some time thinking, “What is having a greater impact, this or that?”
WARNING: Do not worry about whether or not you are personally able to solve the problem, yet. Just get clear on which challenges have the biggest impact.