I’ve heard it said that many industries will reach for a phrase like “well of course we’ll do this in an agile way” when they refer to taking a fast & loose approach to proejct management, expectations, deliverables. It was only in my third role in tech that I finally encountered a genuine, nuanced, established Agile methodology in use at a technology company who’d truly made it their own:

  • Stand-ups were tweaked to welcome participants from all over the technology division; this enabled developers to maintain a sense of context and meant that we were all checking the attendees list at start of meetings, to know how best to tailor our updates to be relevant to all guests.
  • Retrospectives were conducted along formats that achieved the strict requirements of a retro but also brought a sense of fun, as playing cards & “21 questions” -type games were introduced to keep people guessing.
  • An additional “Three Amigos” session was scheduled for each ticket that entered play, so that it could be discussed & the developers’ approach validated, before work was begun.
  • An addition “Technical Catch-up” session was scheduled for ETL developers & SREs to undertake collaborative “deep-dive” interrogations of the architecture midway through each sprint.
  • Chapters & Guilds were encouraged and actively monitored in quarterly Technology Updates, to keep them flourishing and delivering value for members of e.g. “ETL Guild” and “BA Chapter”. Folks were encouraged to dip into Chapter meetings being held for other functions even when this included joining an off-site in-person event in another city. Breaking up the routine — whilst of course staying within the strict framework of Agile and each individual’s duties within it — was seen as an opportunity to be sought, rather than a threat to avoid.
  • Rotating the role of Scrum Master, and the responsibility of Demoing new functionality at each Retro, was suggested and taken on board to everyone’s significant profit as the rotating personalities influenced & strengthened each other into doing things better with each passing sprint.

Making adjustments to Agile in this fashion, can serve to “re-brand” it and bring the methodology under the domain of the squads; gives them a sense of ownership and pride.

DataCat @AstraZeneca. Bass/BV @StornowayBand. Fan @lowislandmusic. CTO @Tigmuso. Voc/Gtr @DrachmaBand. DataEng @ICISOfficial. DataSys @GBioinf. DataSci @GA.