Does Agile Fail To Focus On User Wants?

Has your organisation modified its methods of working to Agile however nonetheless not improved considerably?

Many organisations battle with Agile. They undertake an Agile framework resembling Scrum, however don’t see any advantages. For some it is because they’re simply paying lip service – for instance holding Scrum occasions, such because the Day by day Scrum, with out actually altering their mindset.

However even in case you are dwelling the Agile mindset (as described within the 2001 Manifesto for Agile Software Development), your aim may appear elusive.

What’s your aim?

Implementing an Agile strategy resembling Scrum shouldn’t be your aim: Scrum, Extreme Programming, Kanban, and so on. are all simply approaches that will help you obtain your actual aim. So what’s your actual aim?

Once I ask this query, a standard aim I hear is: ‘We want our teams to deliver faster.’ This is sensible as a result of the Agile Manifesto talks about satisfying prospects by means of ‘early and continuous delivery’ and encourages individuals to ‘Deliver working software frequently’. It even states that ‘Working software is the primary measure of progress.’ (It was written by a bunch of software program individuals, however you may change ‘software’ to no matter your services or products is and it nonetheless works).

Subsequently, it’s comprehensible that sooner supply is a standard battlecry of administration, particularly in these organisations who contemplate themselves ‘agile’.

The issue with sooner supply

I discover that many organisations overlook two vital points when specializing in this type of aim:
What drawback is being addressed and who needs it?
What high quality is fascinating?

The instance I exploit is serving diners in a restaurant. We determine that now we have a lot of hungry diners and the boss pushes us to serve these prospects as rapidly as potential. If we deal with velocity with out contemplating high quality, we push out an omelette each 30 seconds and serve up disgusting omelettes to our prospects who by no means return.
If we deal with velocity with out contemplating our customers’ wants, we solely discover out that we’re serving omelettes to vegans as soon as plates are hitting the tables. Our answer of sooner supply has not happy our hungry diners and now we have misplaced these prospects endlessly.

The standard challenge is comparatively straightforward to resolve by refusing to relent on it; a much less full services or products doesn’t need to imply poor high quality, it’d simply imply a extra restricted performance is obtainable within the early days. Decreased scope, not lowered high quality.

Sadly many agile-minded organisations are falling down with the opposite challenge, typically dashing into supply earlier than they know what it’s they need to be supplying.

The correction

“Before beginning a Hunt, it is wise to ask someone what you are looking for before you begin looking for it.” — Winnie the Pooh

Constructing one thing, then telling those that they want it, is a very laborious approach to promote a services or products; we needs to be making an attempt to fulfil an actual, current consumer want.

Nonetheless, we, the organisation, have no idea what crucial buyer want is. We’d suppose we do, however that’s often simply an untested assumption. And whose assumption is it? The crew’s? The CEO’s? That of another skilled inside your organisation?

Your prospects are greatest positioned to inform you this. I’m not suggesting we must always merely give prospects what they ask for. Though Ford by no means really stated ‘If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses’ it nonetheless will get the purpose throughout that blindly giving prospects what they ask for shouldn’t be essentially a good suggestion. Organisations want to think about their prospects’ wants, needs and needs alongside their enterprise wants.

The candy spot is the intersection between the organisation’s imaginative and prescient/goal and the shoppers’ wants/needs/needs. Solely then do you have to begin to transfer in direction of a supply part, by way of solutionising and prototyping phases.

Is the Agile Manifesto incorrect to deal with supply?

Written in 2001, the Agile Manifesto set out some ideas that coated a group of approaches to creating software program, together with Scrum, Excessive Programming, and Crystal Clear. It addressed quite a lot of dangerous practices that had been widespread on the flip of the millenium: 12-month initiatives with an enormous bang launch on the finish, groups working in silos, ridiculously lengthy and detailed requirement paperwork, threat pushed to the tip of the undertaking, and so forth.

It didn’t prescribe how you can strategy each undertaking. It intentionally left heaps out, for instance it doesn’t point out setting a imaginative and prescient or goal, however I’m sure the creators meant so that you can have them. So, it’s not that the Manifesto is incorrect; it’s about how individuals are deciphering it.

It’s all about interpretation

It’s helpful that many organisations have absorbed the phrases within the Manifesto. This has enabled them to interrupt free from their previous, unhelpful methods of working. They’re now in a position to launch services and products sooner, thus lowering threat and delivering worth to their customers earlier.

The sensible organisations are conscious that the Agile Manifesto doesn’t give them a step-by-step information. They recognise that they’re anticipated to do their very own pondering too.

Sadly, there are some organisations who take a literal studying of the Manifesto, as if it had been gospel. These organisations undertake a we-only-do-what-it-says-in-the-Manifesto sort of perspective, and are prone to lacking the essential early step of product/service growth: understanding what the aim is.

They fail to grasp what it’s that their prospects want. They fail to grasp what the ‘value’ is that the Manifesto calls for be delivered early and repeatedly. These organisations are just like the restaurant that optimises to push out two omelettes per minute … however fails to recognise that its diners are vegans!
The answer

A smart possibility is to comply with the double-diamond strategy, created by Design Council. This begins by understanding your organisation’s goal and issues. It then seems to grasp your prospects’ issues, collect insights about these issues, and discover potential options… At this level you can begin your prototyping and iterative supply.

It isn’t that the Agile Manifesto obtained it incorrect; it’s that some individuals are following it blindly and lacking the preliminary, elementary step of discovering and defining the issue that they’re making an attempt to resolve. Doing a bit extra pondering actually is essential earlier than you rush into making an attempt to hurry up your supply.


About David Lowe

David believes that everybody has the suitable to enhance their work and private life, so divides his time between teaching and coaching people, groups and organisations. He has labored with a variety of purchasers throughout many industries (together with Ford, Ministry of Justice, NET-A-PORTER, NHS, John Lewis, GDS, Bare Wines and Shelter). David is closely concerned within the Agile and Lean communities, providing free guides to assist individuals begin their agile journey.

In his newest ebook, The Innovation Revelation, David distills the widespread issues and errors discovered when organisations attempt to “become agile”, then layers on easy-to-understand options and present greatest practices to assist information readers to a brighter future.

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