The fifth principle behind the Agile manifesto

The fifth principle of the Agile manifesto states

Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.

Too often, we have read that people are an organization’s greatest asset. We have read that the success of the organization can be tied down directly to how motivated and focussed are the people working in it. It is repeated by the leaders in every organization every so often that it can now be considered a cliché. Despite the overuse, it is utterly true that people are indeed an organization’s biggest asset.  It is therefore not surprising that the Agile Manifesto justifiably founds its philosophy on this assertion. Indeed, the success and failure of Agile in an organization can be tied to how well this particular principle is realized and implemented. Continue reading

The fourth principle behind the Agile manifesto

The fourth principle of the Agile manifesto states

Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.

Many many years ago, I was part of this offshore maintenance project for around 2 years. During the first year, we were a team of 3 – a project manager (PM), a technical and documentation lead (TDL), and a developer(DEV). I was the DEV. The PM had to interact with the client in getting new requirements, change requests, defects and prepare a plan for them. The TDL was in-charge of conducting feasibility studies, preparing implementation proposals and relevant  documentation. The DEV had to implement it. I guess you can already understand the problems with this setup.

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The third principle behind the Agile manifesto

The third principle of the Agile manifesto states

Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.

Let us suppose you are the project manager for a project that is managed using traditional project management methods. Further, just suppose that the project is going through a particularly difficult phase where the tasks in the critical chain are beset by several issues that are stretching the plan. How would you see through this phase so that the plan is back on track? During 2007 I was part of a project that was similarly beset with a huge defect backlog. This was hampering new feature development and schedules were generally getting delayed. We were not using any Agile method to manage it, a sequential waterfall-like approach it was. The PM immediately swung into action and set up a plan to get things back in control. It was called Operation Arnold and terminating bugs was its mission! Continue reading

The second principle behind the Agile manifesto

The second principle of the Agile manifesto states

Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.

Back during 2009-2010, I finally decided to buy an apartment and call it my own home. I had a few specific requirements of an apartment. The budget was an important factor, others were location. amenities, neighborhood, proximity to schools, and so on. However, my most important factor was that it should not have a balcony if it was a high-rise. So there was some search and I zeroed in on one project that was offering an affordable, community living experience at a good location with no balconies. So I signed up, paid the advance, booked a small box in that project, and the deal was done. Continue reading