Sunday, May 1, 2011

Agile Principle 12: Inspect and Adapt

Let's take a look at the twelfth underlying principle of the agile manifesto:
"At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly."
What does that really mean? What are the implications for our daily business? Let's analyze this principle and see where this gets us.

  • "At regular intervals" - It's not enough to take a look at the project after it is finished. We are not able to change our project development habits afterwards. So even if a worst-case "post mortem analysis" could bring up severe issues and action items for the next project, we can't change what already happened. Therefore we have to take a look at our current behaviour in an iterative way.
    Values: Commitment
    Principles: Iterative
    Practices: Iteration, Sprint, Weekly Cycle
  • "the team reflects on how to become more effective" - Neither the team's manager, nor the Scrum Master, nor a quality manager is in charge to define the development team's workflows and processes. Only the team is able to inspect its own habits and to decide what and how to change. Of course it is not forbidden to get a retrospective facilitator from outside the team--this may help the team members to focus on getting insights rather than holding the meeting.
    Values: Openness, Feedback
    Principles: Reflection, Inspection
    Practices: Sprint Retrospective, Root-Cause Analysis, Seeing Waste, Value Stream Mapping
  • "then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly" - The worst reflection is a reflection without any insights and action items. There have to be actionable results for the team so that it is possible to take charge of these actions.
    Values: Commitment
    Principles: Improvement, Eliminate Waste, Amplify Learning, Adaption
    Practices: Sprint Retrospective
To say it in three words, the twelfth principle is about Inspect and Adapt.



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