SPECIAL XMAS BONUS: The Joy of Agility, looking at Business Agility with Joshua Kerievsky

As Joshua started to research his book, he discovered many stories of people applying the principles and ideas behind agility to their lives, and their businesses. The Joy Of Agility is a book that collects those stories and explains what agility is really about. And it’s not about Scrum, or any other process framework. 

Joshua starts by telling us a story of a young Richard Branson who, having been left stranded on an airport, came up with an idea to get to his destination while helping other fellow passengers who had also been left stranded. This is a story of a person being resourceful in the face of adversity. Being resourceful is one of those aspects of agility that we often don’t discuss, but is – as Joshua puts it – at the core of Agility.

The art of perfecting your act

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BONUS: Joshua Kerievsky introduces Modern Agile

In this BONUS episode of the Scrum Master Toolbox Podcast, we explore the idea of what Agile needs to be to continuously adapt to what we have learned about what works and what does not work in Agile.

Agile is soon 20 years old, the Agile manifesto was published in 2001, and as it says right there in the first phrase: it was about discovering (the active word) new and better ways of developing software.

Nearly twenty years on, Joshua Kerievsky has started writing about what he has learned and started a movement with his article Modern Agile.

He starts by making a point that practices need to evolve. Agile has never been about the specific practices, but rather about the value and principles described in the Agile manifesto. And as practices evolve, some should be changed, and others completely removed or at least replaced. In the #NoEstimates movement, for example, the call is for a completely different way of scheduling/predicting project releases, this is just an example of a practice that is a big contrast to the usual Story Point estimation techniques of the first few years of Agile.

Joshua mentions a concrete example: trunk-based development. An approach to software development that foregoes the idea of needing to have multiple branches, but rather has the code integrated at all times. Something that not all Agilists would even support today.

The 4 principles of Modern Agile

We review the 4 principles of Modern Agile:

– Make people awesome: Where we discuss how the goal of our work is to make people excel at something that matters to them. Either users, customers, programmers, or whoever it is that we are serving. In the context of Agile, this principle means that the practices we use are in the service of those developing the products and services with the Agile approaches we support

– Make safety a prerequisite: While discussing this principle we review books like The Power of Habit and Smarter, Better, Faster. These books inspired Joshua to bring the idea that safety needs to become a habit, and together with the story of Paul O’Neil (CEO of Alcoa), it created the link between safety (physical and psychological) and productivity.

– Experiment and learn rapidly: One of the key ideas of Agile was to bring speed of delivery, satisfying customers early and often, thereby creating a feedback loop that helped teams and organizations learn faster and therefore improving their products/services faster than their competitors. Experimentation is one of the key ideas that Joshua built into Modern Agile.

– Deliver value continuously: from the fake features that prove demand, to constantly delivering something concrete in a short-time frame. Modern Agile is about the value cycle: deliver, validate, learn, rinse and repeat.

We discuss how these principles are linked and why we need all 4 principles to be present.

The Modern Agile community

At ModernAgile.org, the Modern Agile community is active in discussing their lessons learned as well as what new ideas come from applying the principles. All the material on the site is open source and available for you to use.

Listen in to learn about Modern Agile and see how you can apply the ideas that you resonate with. Agile is adapting to the new reality, and so should you.

About Joshua Kerievsky

Joshua is the founder and CEO of Industrial Logic, a pioneering Extreme Programming/Lean consultancy that radically improves the software development capabilities of organizations around the globe.

In the mid-1990s, Joshua was among a small community of “lightweight methods” practitioners experimenting with better ways of developing software. Since then, he’s helped thousands of people across hundreds of organizations learn better ways of making software. Today, he leads an effort to modernize Agile by removing outdated practices and leveraging the best of what the software community and other industries have learned about achieving awesome results.

Joshua is an international speaker and author of the best-selling, Jolt Cola-award-winning book, Refactoring to Patterns, numerous Agile eLearning courses, and popular articles like Anzeneering, Sufficient Design and Stop Using Story Points.

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