Agile Series No.12 – Reflection

Welcome to the twelfth and final article where we talk about the do’s (and some of the don’ts) of Project Managing Agile Projects.  During this series we will work our way through the 12 principles of the Agile Manifesto and talk about how it relates to you, a project manager and your project.

At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behaviour accordingly. (Beck, 2001).

Reflection is probably the most important of all the Agile Principals when working with teams, especially long term. Let us start this discussion by remembering the Agile manifesto that is behind all of these principles:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools]
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Responding to change over following a plan (Beck, 2001)

These lead to the twelve principles:

  1.  Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
  3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
  4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
  5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
  7. Working software is the primary measure of progress.
  8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
  10. Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential.
  11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behaviour accordingly. (Beck, 2001)

Projects (and teams within them) are not agile unless they are constantly improving the way they do things. Therefore, it is important to have marked circles where you, as project manager, can look back with the team and work out those things that went well, those that needed improvement and those that did not work at all.

When reflecting, you need to be brutally honest. You need to be honest with your team, and they with you, and use this knowledge to improve. This is extremely uncomfortable, especially at first, as it involves looking at specific problems and mistakes and very few people are comfortable pointing out their own or other people’s mistakes.

Thank you for coming on the Agile Journey with me and I hope that you will continue being a successful project manager into the future.

References

Beck, K. B. (2001). Agile Manifesto. Retrieved from Agile Manifesto

Scaled Agile. (2019, September 24). Team and Technical Agility. Retrieved from SAFe

Torf, K. (2020). Continual Reflection: An Agile Element to Hone and Prepare IT Projects. Retrieved from T2 tech Group