Team In An Agile Class Is Born, Collaboration!

A team is born through collaboration in an Agile class!

Agile is not just frameworks, methodologies and characteristics. It is a culture, or maybe it would be better to say that Agile can become an organization’s culture.  Organizational culture is a common pattern of behaviors and the meaning attributed to those behaviors within the organization.  Agile, if embraced, reforms organizational culture. The culture of an Agile organization features three distinct clusters of behaviors: learning, collaboration and business-driven behaviors.

Learning is personal behavior, a project behavior and an organizational behavior.  Alistair Coburn, in his keynote at the Scrum Gathering in Las Vegas, said that Agile helps projects and organizations to learn quickly.  Short iterations and rapid feedback loops give project teams and the organizations the ability to find out quickly if a solution or alternative is viable or not, and get a better handle on what they know and don’t know.

Collaboration is central to teams becoming more than a loose set of individuals. Collaboration includes the ability to take the first step, work out loud, share credit, listen and respect others. These behaviors are also an important foundation for creating self-directed and self-organized teams.

Business-driven behavior includes behaviors like embracing change. One of the core benefits of Agile is improved customer satisfaction generated by embracing change.  The inclusion of the voice of the customer by someone that is not an IT proxy is a major change in behavior for most companies. The product owner in Scrum is an example of this “new” role. A second business-driven behavior is a embracing changes to requirements. Using a disciplined approach to embrace requirements keeps the project (and by default the organization) focused on the current needs of the business.

Embracing Agile means embracing change for most organizations, which is usually pretty hard. Most Agile and Scrum coaches say that unless there is pain involved you are not tackling all of the behaviors that need to change. It is easy to believe you are Agile, but it only counts if you behave Agile.