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Agile adoption basics, and basic mistakes

I came across a helpful post on the Edge of Chaos/Agile development blog on the 10 most common mistakes for agile adoption.

No. 1: Don’t start with a tool. Choosing a tool will only slow down agile adoption. No. 2: Don’t start with processes, but rather agile values such as communication, collaboration, feedback, trust and passion, the blog’s author, Michael Dubakov, advises.

Sage advice. One of our contributors, Joseph Flahiff, has 15 years of project management experience, the last five of which have been spent working on agile projects. He can’t stress enough how much communication is key to the success of agile adoption.

In his agile tutorial on SearchCIO.com this week, Flahiff explains:

The best description of the real heart of agile I have ever seen is buried in that [Agile Manifesto] history. According to [Jim] Highsmith (one of the manifesto’s authors), at the end of the [manifesto] summit, Bob Martin, another manifesto author, talked about the process of creating it and about how he “felt privileged to work with a group of people who held a set of compatible values … based on trust and respect for each other, and promoting organizational models based on people, collaboration and building the types of organizational communities in which we would want to work.”
This is what lies deep at the heart of agile: a set of values that put people first and foremost. Above all other things, in work of any kind, people are the most important.

It is not setting the scope up down to the letter — that’s going to change anyway, and it’s not about documentation — that often slows the project down.

The real sign that you are on the right track is a working piece of software … developed by a team of people. “Until a piece of code is working as you expected it to work, you have no empirical evidence that you are making progress. You have documents and plans, and you hope they may result in software that does what you want it to do; but you do not have empirical progress and you don’t have proof,” Flahiff said.

Still, putting people first over documentation, tools and processes is a challenge, as is getting the basics down for agile project management. To get started, Flahiff outlines agile definitions and project lingo in his tutorial.

What other agile basics would you like to see explained?

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