Agile With A Small “a”

I was talking recently with an executive general manager at a medical device company. She was very interested in deploying Agile, but she said, “What I’d really like is Agile with a small ‘a’.”

What does that mean?

Agile small a

It means transparency. It means rapid and frequent views of the status of programs. It means sparkling clarity around program definitions. And it means having clear indications of measurable progress. She did not care about the extensive roles, ceremony descriptions, deliverables, and jargon that often clutter an Agile transformation.

Agile with a small “a” consists of three things:

  • Fixed length iterations or sprints
  • A mechanism to track progress so that it is visible and transparent
  • A clear indication of the accomplishments of each sprint through either a demonstration or some other shared artifact indicating the status of the project

When you are working with your team and are considering an Agile transformation, I’d like you to put on an executive mindset. Remember, senior managers want transparency, frequent updates, and a clear demonstration of results at the end of each sprint. This is Agile with a small “a” – practical, implementable and scaled to your organization.