Back to the Basics: Prologue

“Fundamentals are the building blocks of fun.” – Ray & Molly (Dakota Fanning & Brittany Murphy), Uptown Girls 2003

If you haven’t seen the movie I forgive you. The quote is used twice. The first time by Ray (pre-teen girl) to justify herself (to Molly – her 20-something Nanny) spending a lot of time doing the same basic dance move over and over again instead of just having fun. The second time is by Molly to explain why she is taking an entry-level job in the fashion industry when her resume suggests she could skip ahead to a mid/high career level position. There are times when I read forums and blogs online where I feel as if Scrum is that higher level job or the more advanced dance moves. The problem is that successful Scrum should build on a Manifesto and Principles.

While reading a blog post by Mario Moreria I felt he may have found part of the root cause.  I have pointed out the danger of Agile being seen primarily as Scrum in previous posts. That post and my own thoughts inspired me to explore the heart of Agile. This week I am starting a series of posts that will go over what I consider to be Agile basics based on the Agile Manifesto and the twelve principles used to uphold it.

To truly reap the benefits of an Agile implementation (even a straight Scrum one) I feel it is imperative for the team, if not the entire organization, to be grounded in the Agile Manifesto. Don’t misunderstand me, even without that grounding some benefits will almost definitely be realized. Without a grounding in Agile values there will always be something left on the table.

Think of it in reference to the Tuckman model of group development. A Scrum team not grounded in Agile will make it through to norming but will likely never cross that gap to performing. In fact the way that Scrum tends to expose problems will probably have them hover the line to storming more often then not. The grounding in Agile would allow them to more properly address issues that come up while implementing Scrum and they would be able to move forward to performing.

Do you feel you have a good grounding in Agile? How well would you do on Mr. Moreria’s “spot test”?

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