Mishkin Berteig at Agile Advice writes an excellent essay on the seven core practices of being agile. Understanding these elements is the first step in getting past the hype and fud of the agility dilemna. Promoters of particular agile practices, as well as detractors use hyperbole and extreme examples to make their points. While very effective techniques for arguing, inspiring and motivating, hype and fud detract from learning, teaching and understanding.
Here’s Mishkin’s List, with our brief descriptions.
- Self-Organizing Team. An agile team executes with some level of autonomy – responsible to others, but internally self-regulating.
- Deliver Frequently. Incremental delivery is key to getting value to the stakeholders as early as possible – and getting valuable feedback incorporated into future development.
- Plan to Learn. Introspection and review of past performance is key to improving future performance.
- Communicate Powerfully. Intra-team communication is key to execution, while extra-team communication is key to the success of any project.
- Test Everything. Quality is an absolute objective – the only thing that supercedes functionality.
- Measure Value. The impact of the team’s work is the most important thing to measure.
- Clear The Path. Getting problems out of the way – not by avoiding them, but by eliminating them.
Mishkin goes into a fair amount of depth on each practice, including links to even more detail. Check out his essay.