Agile Essentials: The Paramount Importance of ‘Getting It Done’
Agile methodologies have transformed how teams approach project management and product development. At the heart of these methodologies is a simple yet profound principle: ‘Get it done.’ This principle emphasizes the importance of moving from prolonged discussions to actionable results, embodying the essence of agility in driving project success.
The Essence of Agile: Action Over Conversation
The core of agile lies in its focus on action-oriented processes. This concept can be amusingly summarized through a dad joke referencing Elvis Presley as the “first scrum master,” with his song lyrics, “A little less conversation, a little more action, please.” This analogy humorously but accurately captures the spirit of agile: prioritizing tangible results over endless discussions.
Agile’s Call to Action
- Delivering Value to Stakeholders: By having a ‘done’ product, teams demonstrate value delivery to stakeholders, showing progress and managing risk effectively.
- Risk Management through Tangible Deliverables: Presenting completed work to key stakeholders, like CEOs and CFOs, is an effective way of managing and mitigating risks.
Defining ‘Done’ in Agile
A clear definition of what ‘completed’ looks like is crucial in agile methodologies. This definition varies across different agile frameworks but serves the same purpose.
Scrum’s Definition of Done
- Scrum’s Definition: In Scrum, ‘done’ is defined as the ‘Definition of Done,’ a clear description of what completion looks like for each product increment.
- Kanban’s Completion Policies: In Kanban, ‘done’ is defined by the sum of all policies across the board, ensuring that each stage of work meets specific criteria before moving to the next phase.
Collaborating with Key Stakeholders
Understanding and meeting the expectations of those who will receive the product is essential in agile processes.
Engaging with Operational Teams
- Consulting Deployment Teams: For software products, this involves discussions with deployment teams responsible for putting the product live.
- Engaging with Regulators and Legal Teams: For hardware or legal products, it might involve regulators or legal counsel who need to approve the final product.
Considering Regulatory and Operational Factors
Ensuring that a product is ‘done’ in agile involves more than just completing development tasks. It requires considering a range of regulatory and operational factors.
Broad Spectrum of Considerations
- Regulations and Legal Compliance: Teams must ensure compliance with relevant regulations and legal requirements.
- Copyright Checks: Avoiding legal pitfalls, such as unauthorized use of copyrighted images, is a crucial part of declaring a product ‘done.’
- Adoption and Absorption Factors: Ensuring the product has passed through necessary checks by legal, finance, procurement, and other relevant departments.
Building Large and Complex Products
In agile, the principle of ‘getting it done’ applies not just to software but to a wide range of products, including physical and civil engineering projects.
Applying Agile to Diverse Products
- Physical and Civil Engineering Products: Agile methodologies can be adapted to manage the development of large-scale physical structures or complex engineering projects.
- Service Offerings: For service companies, agile can guide the development of new service offerings, focusing on iterative feedback and improvement.
The Number One Thing: Getting to Done
The primary goal in agile is to achieve a state of ‘done’ for each increment of the product or project. This focus drives business agility and ensures that teams are delivering tangible value consistently.
Overcoming Barriers to Completion
- Identifying Roadblocks: Teams need to identify what’s preventing them from reaching ‘done’ and address these challenges effectively.
- Clarity for Product Owners: Ensuring that the product owner or the person engaging the team has a clear understanding of what ‘done’ means and what they can expect from each sprint or iteration.
Conclusion: Done as the Core of Business Agility
- Done Drives Business Agility: The concept of ‘done’ is not just a marker of progress; it is the driving force behind business agility.
- The Guts of Agile: Achieving ‘done’ consistently and efficiently is the essence of agile methodology, enabling teams to deliver real value and drive success.
In summary, ‘getting it done’ is more than just an action item in agile methodologies; it’s a philosophy that underpins every aspect of agile project management and product development. This principle ensures that teams move beyond planning and discussion to deliver real, tangible results that meet stakeholders’ needs and drive business success. By focusing on what ‘done’ looks like and striving to achieve it in each phase of a project, agile teams can enhance their productivity, manage risks effectively, and deliver value consistently.