Whole Agile

Posted by Doc
May 23 2010

It has become more and more apparent that there are at least two different views of “doing agile”:

  1. Following one specific school of thought/set of practices, such as Scrum or Kanban or XP
  2. Utilizing a mix of practices, principles, methodologies, and values to create the package that works best for the organization or team

I’ve run into a number of organizations that are following Scrum*. Prior to training, I hear things like:

Don’t talk to us about engineering practices.

Don’t talk about pairing.

Don’t talk about testing.

Independent of my role within ThoughtWorks, I don’t get this. When I factor in my experience at ThoughtWorks, and the experience of my colleagues, I’m left feeling stumped.

How can you talk about “Agile” without considering practices that are effective for developers or testers? How can you ignore the lessons from Lean? What does it mean to “do Agile”?

As of now, I’m referring to “Whole Agile”: the set of things that comprise practices and principles and methodologies that address all aspects of the development and delivery of products, from ideation to architecture to design to writing code and testing and delivery and…

I just don’t know how to talk about Agile without considering all the things that can work. The argument that “pairing is too expensive” doesn’t fly with me. The argument that “only developers need to do Agile” doesn’t fly with me.

Agile must be holistic to be truly effective.

Hence, “Whole Agile”.


* just as an example – I believe that there are many good practices and principles in Scrum

2 Responses

  1. Chad Myers says:

    Yeah, totally agree. Scrum focuses on process and not at all on engineering practices. XP, perhaps, focuses more on engineering practices and not as much on process. Kanban is mostly about backlog management. Lean is a superset of concerns of Agile (learning, correction, etc). All of these things are important (though Scrum has a place, it could be replaced with other things).

    “Whole Agile” must include: Backlog management, process management, engineering practices, continuous improvement, learning, adaptation, and responsiveness to change. Did I forget anything?

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