How to be more agile (and less bored)

If you think figuring out this agile thing is difficult, I have good news. What follows is a simple and easy to follow guide on how to ensure you are moving in the right direction.

The only thing you need to remember is this: If your current activity is boring, repetitive or you have trouble understanding how it adds value, it’s not agile.

If your agile transformation has only one goal, it should be “Do less boring stuff”.

To help you understand what I’m getting at, I’ve made a list of extremely boring things that agile organisations tend to stop doing.

Agile organisations do

  • less specifications
  • less up-front planning
  • less estimating
  • less budgeting
  • less projects
  • less product roadmaps
  • less outsourcing
  • less documentation
  • less reporting
  • less release planning
  • less change management
  • less manual testing
  • less handovers
  • less meetings
  • less asking for permission

I'm sure I forgot a thing or two, but I almost fell asleep getting this far. Anyway, the next time you find yourself doing any of the above activities, don't pick up the phone to order a hit on yourself. Straighten your back and chant “This is not agile” until you feel better.

The bottom line is you don’t have to learn a lot of new fancy buzz words or techniques. You don’t have to automate everything because Gartner said so. That Facebook releases ten times per day, doesn’t mean you have to. Just keep reducing or eliminating all the boring stuff. What’s left is actual work, which you will now have a lot more time to do.

Bonus material: A secret just for you

You have to agree not to tell anyone, okay? Cool, here we go: To be agile, besides doing a lot less boring stuff, you don’t even have to work faster. Convince people to request smaller items of work, and then release it to production as soon as it’s done. Even though no one is actually doing more work, people still get what they ask for a lot faster.

Let’s go over that again: Your developers don’t do any more work (maybe even less), and everyone will still think you are awesome.

This agile stuff really is magic.

If you want know what agile is (not just what it isn’t), I wrote about that too.

Follow me on Twitter: @TSigberg