Confused "Agile"

Agile is not just a methodology, it’s a kind of attitude or philosophy for thinking and doing things.The reason that our company no longer emphasizes agile is because we found most people view it as a process, and go into the wrong direction. What's agile? Simply put, agile means everyone in the team working independently and creatively.

Scrum causes more misunderstanding about agile. Scrum looks easier to understand, especially for people who are used to working with waterfall software development process. But as a matter of fact, agile is not the same kind of process as Scrum, and that is why Martin Fowler (CSO of ThoughtWorks) doesn't consider Scrum as agile.

Team members who are able to work independently and creatively could use Scrum as an incremental process, but that does not imply the whole team is agile. Agile is a way of placing emphasis on empowering teams to communicate, self-organise and collaborate in order to deliver the best possible solutions. If people do not really understand and accept the concept of agile, but merely use Scrum as process, it can cause many struggles and issues in the real world. Unfortunately, I have seen this happen again and again.

In these days, Shinetech doesn't speak about agile that much but does things in an agile way. Because we believe people could be influenced, and it is one of the best ways for them to understand and accept agile. We are trying to build an environment for agile to survive and grow. Forcing people to use a process may be a fast way, but will, in fact, make the situation worse.

As an organization, if we want to be "agile", we have to focus on the growth of our developers/employees, we can't just ask for the "results' or profits from the employees, this is the vision and value we acknowledge. If the result is bad, but it's good for our employees to grow or become more independent, we are happy to accept it. But instead, if a PM forces the team to work overtime for the so-called "good result", they will not get any support from the company. Because as I have mentioned before, we view our employees as the top priority, customers as the second and shareholders of the company the last.

If our management can help our employees to be more independent and creative, then it is a good agile management. But if we manage people like a production line in a factory, then we will lose all of our advantages and cannot compete with any of the larger outsourcing companies in India or China.