Most of us would have come across the 3Rs for a sustainable future. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Following these 3Rs will not only lead to a happier planet, but also a happier team and an even happier and sustainable, Agile IT organization. Its fundamentals of programming and common sense. That’s what sustainability is about as well. isn’t it? Keeping common sense while catering today’s needs so that the generation tomorrow can also cater their needs !
Reduce: – defined as “make smaller or less in amount, degree, or size.”
Code – We need to shift our focus from Lines of Code (LoC) to Value of Code (VoC). Reduce the code, keep it simple and valuable as it can be. Do the housekeeping religiously and never let dead code lie around in production or even in test environments. Take out overly complex and redundant code. As developers, if you think the coding effort do not correlate to the value it brings, don’t shy away from asking a big Why? Recent update to Scrum Guide clearly emphasizes more on two keywords – Value and Why. Sprint after sprint while building a product feature by feature – try to get a clear understanding of why a feature is being built and the value it brings to the product/customer/organization.
Process – Process is only as good as the value it brings or the complexity it reduces. Reduce the process to the extent it helps the team to deliver value consistently. Be it an organizational/administrative process or a recurring meeting – if you don’t see the value behind such processes, question their purpose and try reducing the duration. Goal is to have a lean, inter-connected and hyper effective business processes that helps create value time and time again.
Reuse: – defined as “an action of using something again.”
Code – Computer program is not about lines of code but about solving business problems. Enough emphasis has been given on code reuse over the years. Code libraries, design patterns, frameworks helps achieve reusability. Writing Sustainable Code is key. Code in such a way that it caters the current needs effectively while it is also easier to extend in the future. Code reuse is not the same as code duplication. We should be clear in this distinction 🙂
Learnings – Reusing what others have already experienced, learnt, proved can certainly save time, effort and ultimately money. Create demand and supply patterns of knowledge/learnings within your teams and explode it further to the organizational level. Build learning labs, knowledge repositories, communities of learning. We cannot afford to learn everything on our own. Share, reuse, reform is the way to go.
Recycle:- defined as “to use something again for a different purpose.”
Code – Recycling software is processing existing/dormant code to help produce new software to prevent waste of development effort, potentially reduce software cost. This is generally seen as a specialist work. Using dead/unused code for a different purpose needs a specialist so generally development teams do not spend time and effort doing this research. Open source codes, codes from legacy systems are good recycle candidates.
Ideas: – Life long learners never ditch good ideas no matter they materialise or not. They simply journalise those ideas. One of your team member came up with a great idea to help manage a project, but it did not work out. It can very well be used somewhere totally not related to your work. Listen to ideas, brainstorm those ideas, understand the ideas, journalise ideas, use ideas and recycle ideas.
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle certainly helps organizations go Lean and Green !
I recently read an article that proclaimed, pinnacle times of Agile are behind us, Agile is doomed etc., Interestingly, the article did not mention any thought process, concept or philosophy that will replace Agile.
In my opinion Agile is here to stay. No matter if you are an IT services organisation or not, Agile has the power to transform your business if implemented the right way. When the method is fully understood by everyone involved and when there is a strong backing from decision makers – Agile teams can indeed transform the work environment, make people’s jobs more rewarding, and supercharge your business transformation.
Agile being a philosophy and mindset still has lengths and breadths of business spectrum to serve in my opinion. Recent Scrum Guide update is a clear indication that Agile ways of working is not proprietary to ICT alone.Scrum is more accessible and inclusive beyond software development. Frameworks and tools to implement Agile ways of working may get evolved over time but not the philosophy itself. Seriously, Agile is about using one’s common sense. Isn’t it?
I had been in organizations that used Agile for less than a year and decided Agile is not the way to go, another organization underwent Agile transformation with all the pomp and splendour only to fail miserably. Agile won’t fail, rather it is the people who simply don’t understand Agile fail time and time again.
What Agile is NOT?
- Agile is not a work that we do
- Agile is not a reason to manage workforce
- Agile is not a cure for all business challenges
- Agile is not an excuse to NOT put in a process
- Agile is not anti-planning
- Agile is not only for software development
So, what is Agile then?
- Agile is a mindset shift
- Agile is a set of values and guiding principles
- Agile is about team dynamics and work culture
- Agile is providing right environment to individuals
- Agile is time boxing the work
- Agile is failing fast and learning faster
- Agile is value delivered over a time box
- Agile is to continuously learn and improve
- Agile is self organizing and self reflecting
Agile transformation is bound to succeed if,
- There is a clear understanding of what Agile is
- Agile is tied to business goal
- There is a clear understanding of as-is -> to-be
- Full backing, support and promotion of decision makers
- Pilot-learn-scale approach is workeable
- Enough emphasis is given on learning and continuous improvement
On November 18th 2020, a new version of Scrum Guide was made available. Here is a quick and easy reference of the new scrum guide. Download quick reference PDF here. (pdf opens in new tab)
Download Scrum Guide 2020 – Quick Reference PDF here. (pdf opens in new tab)