Are you doing or being Agile?

It’s amazing how many times I’ve seen companies saying they are doing Agile, when in fact what they have is a ritualised version of Scrum without the good bits.

The very term “doing” Agile should always ring alarm bells. You can’t do Agile at all. By adopting this mind-set you invariably fixate on the tools and rituals of (usually) Scrum, without ever-moving to the understanding stage.

In fact I’d say that it doesn’t really matter what framework you tell yourself you are adopting the main part of becoming more Agile is a shift of mindset. This shift of mindset can be hard to achieve, in fact you could say being Agile is like being happy.

It’s something we all want but often don’t know how to go about. This again is often because we focus on the method or the tool of being happy. If I lose a few ponds I will be happy. If I could just run a marathon I’d be happy. Again this is focusing on the mechanism not on the mindset.

This is why I am beginning to see all sorts of ranty blog posts about how Agile sucks and it isn’t all it’s sold to be. This is normally because what people have experienced is what I call mechanised Agile. A process imposed from on high to a problem that is cultural.

So take time to think about your current Agile practice, are you being or doing? If you are simply doing then take a moment to reflect on one thing you could change that would help you or your team be Agile.

Perhaps you could start with the standup and do away with the interminable three questions ritual which often becomes an anti-pattern. Or perhaps just introduce the elephant in the room; that rather than being Agile you are merely doing.

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