I came up with the idea for this blog while listening to a presentation by Dave Prior at Agile 2014. He was talking about our agile journey and how do we know when we get there. The reality is, we don’t really get there, we continue on a path.
As an example, I've been working with a client that thinks they're doing agile but the reality is they're not really being agile. They put some practices in place that are agile-like but the actual mindset hasn’t really settled in. For example, they are writing user stories but for every user story they write a use case that's a very detailed requirement. They are writing this all up before the first iteration planning session, so in essence they’re still planning a waterfall method but just using user stories.
I think one of the reasons they reached this point is that at some point a couple years ago they were trained on agile but after the training they started following some of these practices without really understanding the principles behind them. As time went on they started to drift back towards some of their waterfall practices and without continued coaching and mentoring they drifted farther away from being agile.
Whether we’re looking at our individual path or an organizational one, agile is about inspecting and adapting. Frameworks like Scrum might be a good starting point, but we need to continue to adapt those practices to fit our needs. We need to continue to ask “How can I do this better?”