Guest Blog: Everything is Agile

Everything is Agile: What can the Lego Movie tell us about IT projects?

Everything is awesome!

If you haven’t had a chance to catch the Lego Movie yet, we hope that it won’t ruin the plot for you if we say that the good guys win. As it turns out, it’s the ability to adapt and be creative in the face of the rigidly conformist and despotic villain, Lord Business (yes, really) that propels our protagonists to victory. And some great teamwork. 
There is a good point here to be made about IT projects, bear with me….

A bit more about Lego

A couple of weeks ago, we had some guests at the Desynit ( office - a group of IT professionals from one of the UK’s best known charities. If you had popped into our office that Friday afternoon, you’d have been met with the sight of 8 adults playing with Lego.

Believe it or not, we were running a workshop on systems development.

Here’s how it worked. We split up into two teams, developers and testers. The developers had to work together to build two games from the Lego - battleships, and then chequers.

Then the testers got to evaluate the games.

The key difference was that during the battleship build the development and testing teams worked in isolation from one another; for the chequers they worked together.

You can of course imagine the outcome

Battleship FAIL

Working separately, without knowing what the test conditions were, how could the developers validate them? But when the information was shared from the outset on acceptance criteria for the game, the end result was completely different.

Requirements delivered, job done.

OK, we don’t use Lego to build our customer’s IT platforms (although it’s an interesting idea…) but we do use these techniques, otherwise known as the Agile process.

Everything is Agile

The central tenant of Agile is there in the name - the ability to move quickly and easily. Put that into the context of software development and you get the following thinking:-

  • People before processes

  • Delivered software is better than documentation

  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation

  • Respond to change, don’t just blindly follow a plan

When do you need Agile?

You always need Agile. It’s not just a technique, it’s a mindset.

(It’s also now a movie plot)

Even on a short engagement, it’s still worth asking your IT consultant these questions...How will you deal with the unexpected issues that could crop up? How do you manage change?

Hopefully they’ll be a bit more Agile Master than Lord Business in their answer.

Want to know more about Agile? Check out this blog post.

Written by Amy Grenham