There seems to be a lot of hype around about the difference between ‘Doing Agile’ and ‘Being Agile’ - the conversation seems to be getting rather heated to say the least!
I agree that there’s a difference between ‘Doing’ and ‘Being’ Agile, however I’d prefer to take a slightly more pragmatic stance and suggest that these two categories refer to either end of the Agile adoption spectrum.
The expression ‘Doing Agile’ refers to the act of blindly following the Agile guidelines, whilst ‘Being Agile’ assumes a level of fluency. Most people will progress from one to the other, unfortunately, some people get lost somewhere in the middle of the spectrum. It’s not a nice place to be (flashback to my first blog post! See:‘Doing Scrum Properly’ isn’t always the best answer).
One way to illustrate this transition is via the Conscious Competence Ladder:
You just find out about Agile – you think it sounds interesting but you haven’t a clue what it’s all about. You may start having a go but you still don’t know how little you know!
You start ‘doing agile’.
You’ve read a few books, you’ve attended your two-day Certified Scrum Master training… you’re starting to realise that there are loads of new terms, practices, ways of doing things.
Your Scrum trainer keeps telling you “that’s not scrum”…You feel the fear. You now know how little you know!
You’re still ‘doing agile’.
You’re following the steps, you’re being puritanical and you keep asking yourself how you’re going to shoe-horn your company into an Agile mould. You take your Scrum textbook everywhere you go (okay, maybe that was just me)!
You then attend your first retrospective and realise a few things aren’t working as well as you’d hoped. You stick to the Agile guidelines and realise it’s okay to tailor the approach to better suit your environment – that’s what Being Agile is all about.
You’re STILL ‘doing agile’.
You still read up about best practice and new great ways of delivering high value products; however you’re no longer a slave to the process.
You totally get it - it comes naturally.
You ARE Agile.
So, in summary – Don’t beat up on the ‘do-ers’ as I’m sure you were once a ‘do-er’ too!
Note: If you are a ‘Do-er’… and are struggling with your transition to ‘Be-er’… Subscribe to the Agile101 RSS Feed! How’s that for a shameless plug! jk
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