A couple of months ago I posted that software is just a means to an end.
Here’s an equally commonly lost point – in fact it’s almost identical.
Agile (or Lean, TOC, whatever) is a means, not a solution.
Our customers, users and stakeholders don’t want “agile”, they want “success”. Once they have success they’d quite like a means of making that success more repeatable but ultimately they simply want success.
We seek to promote our way of working (one of our goals as an agile community) but risk missing the actual goals of our stakeholders?
Our conversations should move away from Agile by name and onto:
- how do we best attain our stakeholders goals?
- how do we effectively identify those goals?
- how do we attain consensus on what those goals are?
- what do “success”, “good” and “OK” look like for everyone involved?
If we step back, agile is just a marketing term – a simple pattern for a collection of mostly proven ways in which we believe we can work effectively. Where we need that marketing or verbal anchor, let’s use it – (much like we’ll use whatever agile practices and culture we know are useful in attaining our stakeholders goals) – but let’s ensure we’re not having methodology and culture conversations for the sake of methodology and culture alone.
Before diving into “agile” discussions, step back and (re-)establish what success should look like for your customers and users from their perspective.