I have attended Arie Bennekum's online lecture about Agile. One of his points made is that doing Agile does not equal to being agile. I can't agree more and would like to touch on a few things here.
Doing Agile can be done in practices, including implement stand-up meetings, user stories, iterations, etc. Being Agile is more about the mindset, understanding the organizational culture, such as being self-managing, what to value and how to behave. Look at the pyramid of Agile as Rash Khan mentioned in his Being Agile vs Doing Agile, Why is it important to differentiate!? below ,
Doing Agile is only the tip of the whole Agile pyramid, and principles and values of Agile are more difficult to implement, which is being Agile. If you ever read the Manifesto for Agile Software Development, you would know that being agile is deeply rooted in the Twelve Principles of Agile Software. It means the values and the principles are intertwined to create the mindset of being Agile.
Four Values of Agile
1. Individuals and Interactions Over Processes and Tools
2. Working Software Over Comprehensive Documentation
3. Customer Collaboration Over Contract Negotiation
4. Responding to Change Over Following a Plan
Twelve Principles of Agile Explained
1. Customer satisfaction through early and continuous software delivery
2. Accommodate changing requirements throughout the development process
3. Frequent delivery of working software (weeks rather than months)
4. Collaboration between the business stakeholders and developers throughout the project
5. Support, trust, and motivate the people involved
6. Enable face-to-face interactions
7. Working software is the primary measure of progress (collocation and pair programming)
8. Agile processes to support a consistent development pace
9. Attention to technical detail and design enhances agility
Simplicity--the art of maximizing the amount of work not done--is essential.
11. Self-organizing teams encourage great architectures, requirements, and designs
12. Regular reflections on how to become more effective
Doing Agile vs. Being Agile
Compare doing Agile to being Agile, there are three main aspects that distinguish one from another. First, doing Agile can be achieved over night, but being Agile is a journey. Second, doing Agile is easy, but being Agile is difficult. Last but not lease, doing Agile satisfies the management, while being Agile defines the Agile culture.
How to be Agile
When you and your team try to be Agile, check the followings and see whether you have actually done that.
an agile leadership: In agile transformations, the leadership often talked about is "servant leadership," which advocates the leader to help team members grow by empowering and supporting their development. Instead of directing staff, an agile leader provides strategic direction and guidance, offering a safe space for the team to learn, innovate, and grow.
collaborative and cross-functional team: Communication, collaboration, and teamwork are highly emphasized in Agile.
- deliver value fast: An Agile mindset promotes working iteratively and incrementally, and meanwhile receiving frequent feedback from the customer and change to adapt to it.
- feedback loops for continuous improvement: This is codified in Scrum events, e.g. review and retrospective meetings to discuss what worked well, what could have been improved, and changes that will make in the next iteration.
- embrace change, innovation, and learning: agile frameworks provide techniques that help manage those changes as well as provide opportunities for innovating and learning.
- cultural change: Being Agile is more about a cultural shift in your organization, and bear in mind the values and principles of Agile.
If you have any thoughts about doing Agile versus being Agile, leave your comment below.