How the Agile Teams and Organizations Mature and Become Fluent

Agile Fluency - How The Agile Teams And Organizations Mature and Become Fluent

It’s not quite easy to switch from Waterfall Model (I prefer calling it a “Waterfail” model) to the Agile platform. But patience and learning greatly pays off. As you can see in the beautiful diagram above by James Shore and Diana Larsen, there are various shifts that happen along the journey providing various values. As you construct a new Agile Team and begin working on it, the major shift that happens is Team Culture Shift. Going from your cubical private seating to open seating planning preferred by Agile is a mindset change, it’s a team culture change. People take time to like it, adjust it and then will slowly start loving it.

Once the team members mentally accept the new Team Culture (Some of them do, some of them break apart but the final team that has been mentally ready is the team that will start providing the value), the focus will be on business value – what value the team can produce for the business. Along the way, as you can see, the team advances in the skill, so there will be a team skill shift. There will by Poly-skilling, people will start learning the other domain, developer’s will begin testing, testers will learn writing requirements (in order to be a cross functional team). If you have Java and Cobol developers sitting on the same team, people might cross one programming paradigm to another.

Then comes the Delivery of the value – where the shipment of the product is done more frequently, capturing of the value is done more frequently, defects and obstructions are detected and revealed often and early. Then you will see the organizational structure shift. Maybe there will be more agile teams coming along. Stakeholder’s may start understanding the value delivered by Agile teams. Once you the team fine tunes the delivery and organizational shift occurs, then various experienced agile team can then start focusing on optimizing the value that is being delivered. You may start making decisions that are great to the company, you may notice that the handoffs are eliminated. The decision making progress takes speed. The business gains feedbacks quicker and respond quicker.

What follows is the organizational culture shift that leads to the optimization for Systems. Agile teams can then be optimized based on what various systems perform, what their domains are etc. This leads to cross pollination of perspectives thereby stimulating innovations, and optimizing value stream. Then you gain the Agile Nirvana !! You and your company has mastered the agile process, adopted it and started to gain the most benefits out of it. You have become agile fluent.