Interpreting the Agile manifesto

This has to be done very carefully. Recently a friend of mine went to a company for test automation consulting, and was shocked to see that no requirements documentation was available for him to develop the test scenarios. They were all blaming their agile coach for this, and unfortunately their agile coach was me. It was a great learning moment for me. That is when PMI’s communication rule “It is the responsibility of the sender of information to ensure that the recipient got the message and understood the intended meaning of it” really made an impact on me. Agile manifesto, if not understood properly can be unproductive.

Here is the agile mainifesto;

We are uncovering better ways of developing
software by doing it and helping others do it.
Through this work we have come to value:

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan

That is, while there is value in the items on
the right, we value the items on the left more.

 

We value individuals and interactions over processes and tools

Having a good camera will not make you take good photographs. Some of the great photographs are taken using mobile phones. Having a great project management tool, will not make the projects better. Sometimes it can hinder the progress. Any tool, which do not promote face to face interaction, promote wrong reporting and inefficiency. That is one of the reasons why agile project management promote face to face interactions among individuals than processes and tools. Unfortunately, the agile tools segment is booming, and do not fall prey to that. The best tools still are the white board and the post-it’s. This creates, lot of positive peer pressure on the team, resulting in better productivity. Tool usage take away this positive pressure.

 

We believe in working software over comprehensive documentation ; This says, demonstrable piece of software is the only measure of progress, nothing else. Either something is done, or it is not done. There is no room for partially done.

We believe in customer collaboration over contract negotiation; Does it mean that we do not need any type of contractual agreements to work effectively with the customer?. The answer is yes. Contracts has value, only when the relationships sour. At the same time, we are not talking about serving the customer without profits. We are talking about win-wins here.

We believe in responding to change than following a plan – again this is stemming from the ‘teaming with the customer’ spirit. A valid change request must get precedence over contractual constraints.

That is while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more. Here the question is about a 400 page requirements documentation which nobody uses Vs a 25 page architectural document which everyone is dependent on.

 

Hope I could convey the spirit behind the agile manifesto 

 

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