As Agile As Possible

Plan Driven vs. Agile, ScrumBut, Good Agile, Bad Agile – there's a constant dialogue going on regarding what is agile, if you are truly being agile, if agile is good or evil, if you are following or violating the rules, etc. This debate especially comes into play when you move past the optimal team size of less than 10 people.

I just read an article by Scott Ambler in the March, 2006 issue of Software Development called SuperSize Me (may need subscription for access). Scott summarizes the article about applying agile processes to a larger team in a sidebar that I've quoted directly from the article:

The following strategies enable large teams to remain agile.

  • Organize your large team into several small, colocated subteams.
  • Model your high-level requirements and architecture early in the project.
  • Deliver working software regularly.
  • Coordinate via daily stand-up meetings, not status reports.
  • Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate.
  • Hire good people.
  • Adopt common philosophies and guidance.

Put another way, be as agile as possible. Take the principles of the Agile Manifesto to heart, but determine what practices that you need to be successful given your situation. If something works, keep doing it. If it doesn't, reflect and make it better in the next iteration.

Bottom line, let common sense be your guide.