Project Management

Flavors of Agile - Make it FAST

From the Taking the Plunge Blog
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In case you actually read this description, the beginning of the blog is about preparing for the PMP exam. It then evolved into maintaining my credential. After taking a break for a few years, I'm back and will be blogging about project management, in general, and probably a bit of agile on a regular basis.

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FAST Agile - "…a collaboration model for organizing people around work."

As far as I can tell, FAST is not an acronym.  It borrows from Scrum and XP, among other things, but is even lighter weight.  It has a vision, values, rules, and principles that may sound a little chaotic, if you're new to Agile, but a little chaos might not be a bad thing.  The prerequisites can be summed up as follows:

  • Be committed to self-organization
  • Co-locate your team
  • Have a large room for the one meeting you will have between each release.
  • Management support and willingness to experiment

The roles in FAST are:

  • Product Director - similar to the Product Owner in Scrum
  • Stakeholder - what it sounds like.
  • Developer - people with cross functional skills, dedicated to the team, organized into what is called a Tribe.
  • Resource - a part time member of the tribe
  • Story Steward - someone who suggests a story in the Marketplace

There is a FAST Project Manager, but not much is said about this role.  I'm assuming it's similar to Scrum Master, but I could be wrong.

Call it a release map, product wall, or story map, this is how work is planned and tracked.  It is the only artifact for the project.

There is only one prescribed meeting, although the team can have huddles whenever they feel the need.  The FAST meeting is broken into four parts:

  • Show and Tell, where work from the previous iteration is demonstrated
  • The Marketplace, where members of the tribe get up and discuss stories or problems they would like to work on in the next iteration
  • Public announcements and alignment of vision
  • Team huddle for planning and to discuss dependencies

There you have it… FAST, fast.

If you have an experienced agile team but you feel like you’re getting a little stagnant, FAST could be a way to change things up and invigorate the team.  If you're new to agile, however, you may just experience failing fast and failing often, and not in a good way.  As I mentioned before, this is a very lightweight framework, it is also very developer-centric, and very experiment-based.  As you go through the FAST agile web site, you might even think FAST is unfinished as the author does not attempt to address every possible scenario and encourages feedback as you use the process and try new things. This just means it is young and evolving.  By the time you read the web site, there could be additions to the process.

Unless I come across another Flavor of Agile, this is the last one I will attempt to summarize.  I will give an honorable mention to SCARE - Sustainable, Cultural Agile Release for the Enterprise, but I can't really call it a Flavor of agile.  Instead of covering how to conduct an iterative release process, SCARE is more about a mostly bottom-up approach to introducing a Flavor of agile into an organization and working toward adoption.

I'm planning on one more Flavors of Agile post.  In it I intend to group the flavors that I have covered into Scrum-based, RUP-based, and any other foundations that may be contributing to the flavor, to distinguish their roots.  Kind of like sweet, salty, and savory flavors.  I will also present a list of Agile certifications and attempt to distinguish differences between them.

If I missed any flavors of agile, please let me know.

Posted on: September 26, 2016 11:35 PM | Permalink

Comments (6)

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Thx for the breakdown... it was a pretty FAST read ;).

Very very fast Agile

Hi Aaron...Good to have you back after break.
also thanks for such a comprehensive article on FAST.

Looking forward to your next articles :)

Thanks Aaron, great article!

Thanks Aaron, great article!

Thanks Aaron, great article!

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