How do you explain Agile?


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Hello lovely Lean-Agilists! 

 

I come to you today for a bit of clarity. 

 

If you were to explain Agile to someone who was previously unfamiliar, how do you convey what you do? As if you were explaining it to your parents/grandparents (or children) :grinning:

 

I too run into this challenge often when explaining what Community as a profession is (especially to my parents and non-technology networks!). 

 

Much, much appreciated for your input here. 

 

Context: I am speaking today at this: https://quartzatworkfromanywhere.splashthat.com/ 

I want to make sure I explain the importance of Agile in very simple terms as the audience may not be as well-versed in the discipline. I thought who could be the better experts than right here :blush:

 


38 replies

Userlevel 7
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@Kiron Bondale You really think there are real agilists who prefer SAFe…? 😳

@Colleen Curtis  Oh yesss, there are probably more fake agilists out there than true ones. 😉 We usually call them “wagile” (waterfall agile). Heh.

By the way, I looove those kind of wheels! I sort of love everything circular when it comes to visualizing agile workflows. Like build-measure-learn cycles (or think-make-check if you're schooled in Lean UX).

A quiz would be fun! Is it possible to create quizzes in Miro? 🤔 I've never done that. Might be fun to try!

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@Said Saddouk -- quizzes in Miro, what do you say? 

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@Said Saddouk -- quizzes in Miro, what do you say? 

@Colleen Curtis @Said Saddouk Let's team up and do it! 💪

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@Said Saddouk -- quizzes in Miro, what do you say? 

Already in progress @Colleen Curtis & @Henrik Ståhl. You will see it if you join the community battle event on the 22nd :smiley:

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@Said Saddouk I don't wanna wait that long?! *impatient* 

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@Colleen Curtis Nice work the icebreaker! Too bad agile didn't come up, but there will certainly be other opportunities in the future to steal @UpGaged’s beautiful quote. 😉

A community agile series sounds like a great idea 👌

Thank you for your kindness, @Colleen Curtis 

Userlevel 4

Now i’m intrigued…

After going down a rabbit hole of “Agile theater” I also discovered the term “zombie Agile.” I need to hear your thoughts. Are we all just playing Agile theater? Are we all zombies? Is this a bad thing? 

 

Let’s hear your opinions on “agile theater” 

 

 

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@McCall Turner -

I’m used to hearing the term “zombie” used with template zombie - i.e. practitioners who mindlessly fill out templates rather than questioning the purpose or value behind the template. I’d assume Zombie Agile to be something similar although I’m more familiar with the term “Cargo Cult” to refer to the practice of following a habit blindly regardless of the outcome. 

Never ran into Agile Theatre before, but I might guess that is similar - going through the motions or “acting” agile without embracing an agile mindset.

Kiron

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@McCall Turner Hehe, zombie scrum is almost as bad as SAFe. 😁

To be completely honest with you, I'm kind of bullyish when it comes to scrum in general. I simply believe it's a somewhat terrible framework. It can be a good starting point to get people used to agile workflows, BUT (and it's a really big but) more often than not it's just a false prophecy. I usually even  use the term “scrum orthodox” instead of scrum zombies.

And yes, of course enthusiasts will say that the “real” scrum is awesome and that scrum zombies have misunderstood it. But from my point of view, if a framework turns the majority of its followers into zombies, establishing wagility and hindering true agility in workplaces, I'd say the framework failed – not the people.

And about your question: Are we all just playing Agile theater?

There's so much waterfall dressed as agile out there! 😅 This is a somewhat radical stance, but I believe all processes focused on “estimating work” is agile theater. Shirt sizing, story points, etc… there's nothing agile about wasting time on such things.

With all that said. I've been using Miro on a daily basis for several years, and I have never used it for agile theater. So my take is that ImaWestie has a pretty bad case of lack of imagination. 🙂

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Sadly, imho, the “average person” who knows nothing about agile ways of working often confuses it with implementing a daily standup and then having a few stickies on a board. Whilst that’s a great start to things, doing nothing more than that often just leads to “zombie theatre”. In other words, teams say they’re being agile when all they’re doing is pretending...acting, if you will.

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@Paul Snedden In other words:

 

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lol yeah. That’s when I bring out my ELMO doll - Enough. Let’s Move On.

Imagine you're building a house. In a traditional approach, you would plan every detail of the house upfront, create a long list of requirements, and then start building it all at once. It would take a lot of time and effort to finalize the design and gather all the materials before any construction begins.

Now, Agile takes a different approach. Instead of waiting until everything is planned out, Agile suggests that you start with a basic structure—a foundation, walls, and a roof—just enough to make it habitable. This is called the minimum viable product (MVP). With Agile, you get to move into your house earlier, even if it doesn't have all the fancy features yet.

Once you're living in the house, you can constantly adapt and improve it based on your needs and feedback. You can add rooms, change the layout, or upgrade the features. You involve the people who will be using the house—your family, for example—in decision-making. This iterative process allows you to build a home that perfectly suits your needs over time, rather than trying to predict and plan everything upfront.

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