A true Agile Craftsman Mindset understand that change is the only Constant
As product developers, we take pride in the “big picture” of the function of the software that we are designing and implementing. Delivering a solution for our clients, and their customers, takes diligence, long hours and impeccable planning. However, even the best-made plans can go awry. How we deal with those plans differentiates the inflexible resistors from the agile craftsmen.
“Agile Value #4: responding to change over following a plan” speaks to this behavioral response. Optimists hope for the best but plan for the worst. Pessimists expect the worst but plan for the best. And flexible realists exhibit behaviors that are the best of both understanding that being nimble and prepared for change is the right mindset. Framing everything that you do with the strong possibility that things will likely change and be different that you planned for cues up your brain to be prepared for change. Hence, you enable yourself to successfully adapt to whatever the new situation is.
Beyond one’s mindset, a critical aspect of practicing Agile Value #4 relates to planning and design. Approaching any project with the expectation that it will likely end differently than it began requires proactively building a roadmap that is designed to be nimble and responsive by anticipating potential changes. Getting ahead of industry trends and predicted needs requires that we are constantly in the mode of collecting feedback from clients, tracking the market and soliciting input from other agile experts. Scenario planning is another way to help with preparedness. This is the only way that we can evolve as a trusted partner. As agile craftsmen, our clients expect us to be inherently nimble, ready for change, willing to adapt and to plan for adjustments so that we can still track to a set schedule and deliver the quality product we are contracted to produce.
Understanding that change is a natural aspect of a project is one thing. Being prepared for it with a thoughtful plan and design that anticipates where and when those changes are most likely to happen is quite another thing altogether. Here, experience can make all the difference. The client relationship is another factor, one that we’ve discussed in a previous newsletter, ”Customers are Much, Much More Than Signed Contracts”. When a client and vendor embark on a path towards partnership, versus a client-vendor relationship, both sides enter the agreement and project understanding that it’s best to expect the unexpected and be prepared to flex. Sometimes, the client may need to be flexible. Other times, the contracted agile partner may need to adjust as the situation changes for the client.
If change is the only constant, and Agile Value #4 requires that we plan for and accept change versus resist it, we need to each ask ourselves if we are agile and flexible. Or, are we rigid and linear?
Thanks and Keep Growing,
What We’re Reading Around the Web
Agile Manifesto 4/4 – Responding To Change Over Following A Plan by Christopher Okhravi
“We should never forget that they [the clients] are the ones asking for the system. And they are the ones who will ultimately use it.”
“To be agile, you need to be able to ask, ‘Is this agile?’”
Applying Agile Management Value 4: Responding to Change Over Following a Plan
“Unfortunately, traditional project management approaches attempt to wrestle the change monster to the ground and pin it down so it goes out for the count.”
Getting Started With Agile: Responding to Change Over Following a Plan
“As project execution unfolds, the team learns more about what needs that resulting product will fill as well as how that product can best be built. As this new reality emerges, the team struggles to keep their project aligned to the original plan, which likely no longer reflects the team’s new reality.”