Isn't Agile really just a series of small experiments to build experience and learning

The State of Agile Report (Version One) consistently shows that the reason why most agile projects fail,  is lack of experience. Knowledge will only get you so far, we need to apply that knowledge and gain experience through learning.

I’ve had to learn the hard why what works and what doesn’t work through 15 years experience in implementing agile across a number of project sand organisations. Whilst  knowledge is a good foundation, implementing agile and scrum is hard so applying that knowledge and contextualizing it  to the organisation is critical and learning through experimenting is invaluable.
After all , isn’t Agile really just a series of small experiments that incrementally build our learning.
Each Agile project and  its products and processes are is different in terms of goals and contexts. A single
framework or approach  cannot be assumed for all projects or products.  There are no silver bullets to guarantee 100% success, however we can experiment within constraints to reduce risks and learn quickly and ensure we pivot quickly when the dynamics of the context change or we learn through  empiricism that we need to adapt our  thinking .
Developing software for the space shuttle is not the same as to developing software for a video game or mobile app. Agile teams are often exposed to  a diversity of complex problems to solve and this makes an Agile approach to product  development inherently experimental  as we constantly gain experience with each development problem and project. Knowledge emerges through experience in work practices, often being defined  and addressed as issues evolve throughout the project.
Capturing these learnings and actively identifying improvements and applying them to the next Sprint will help build capability and experience , ensure incremental improvements will help  team to learn and leverage successes.

About the author

Related Posts:

Better together: Agile + Lean UX

How do you make Design Thinking, Lean UX, and Agile work together. Sprint 0? Design Sprints? Upfront design and planning tends to delay the delivery of value, so there must be a better way to use Scrum but also engage in discovery work at the same time without devolving into parallel design work. Integrating design, user research, and experimentation into Sprints is the key.


How do I run a Sprint Review?

The Sprint Review is one of five events in Scrum. It’s purpose is to inspect the Increment of work, get feedback, and then adapt the Product Backlog. And while many people refer to the Sprint Review as the “demo” or “showcase”, this is only one aspect of the Sprint Review.


How do I run a Daily Scrum?

Many people use the Daily Scrum to provide a status report to the Product Owner or Scrum Master, and even to stakeholders, but this event plays a more critical part in ensuring that the team continues to stay focussed on their goal and adapt their work so they improve their chance of achieving it.


Setting up a New Agile Team

When setting up new agile teams we have found that starting small with the basics and adding patterns as they start to develop capability has helped us get new teams up and running within 2-3 days and acheive a baseline of agile capability within 3 months

search previous next tag category expand menu location phone mail time cart zoom edit close