Agile Principles across the organisation; does Agile work in real-life?

There’s a growing trend in 2016 to introduce Agile principles and practices to new areas of business, or to the organisation as a whole. Can Agile— with its roots in software development — really deliver more value to the wider world?

This is a question I’ve been considering for years. I’ve worked in digital for a long time, and spent much of my time considering how to help the people in software teams to deliver value. Ideas like the Agile Manifesto, Agile Principles and related methodologies like XP, Scrum and Kanban, have been developed over the last 20 years, and I’ve explored, accepted and rejected many of them with software teams.

I’ve built teams to develop products, and to deliver services, and support programmes. At every step I’ve strived to consider real-life and what that really means to those teams and the shared purpose.

I’ve also brought this experience to a number of large-scale L&D change / transformation projects, when having a strong technical background and keen interest in people allowed me to bridge the divisions between IT, IS, HR and Delivery functions of organisations.

So when I closed my eyes to quietly consider all of the above, in a 2016 context where organisations appear to be embracing Agile principles cross-department, I came up with the following:

  • Software is not real-life (despite what some might say)
  • People live in real-life (mostly)
  • Agile reduces the distance between software and real-life
  • Can we all apply Agile to other areas of real-life

I’ve been invited to speak at an event for Sports Coach UK tomorrow evening. I’m looking forward to meeting the cohort of around 20 delegates, who’ve been on a learning journey together for over a year. I’m planning to share my own stories about real-life Agile, and together explore if and how the principles of Agile can deliver more value for their lives and those of the people they come into contact with. I’ve been truly inspired by Kurt — the organiser of the event, and all round delightful human being — and am excited to learn more about a subject I’m passionate about: people.

Share your very best and worst experiences of taking Agile Principles out of their comfort zones and into the real-world. I’ll be sure to reply if you do.

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