For the last two years I have been rolling out a standard Agile approach to a department of 350. One part of the roll out strategy was to have a published standard. This was to make the goal / end-game obvious even if we didn’t initially mandate everything.
The first version of the standard, published Oct 2006, was a 50 page document. Earlier drafts had been quite short but in reviewing the document people kept asking “What does that mean?” so we’d add another section explaining it. All rather worthy but, aside from the initial reviews before publication, nobody read it. And it diluted the document as a standard, defining what must be done, as opposed to a guideline about how to do it.
We published version 2 today. This version of the standard is one page. I want to give people a simple checklist so they know whether or not they are following the standard.
The new, one page, standard reads:
Agile Vision: “Empowered teams delivering high value software frequently”
The key practices are:
1. Co-Located cross-functional teams.
2. A clear product vision and roadmap.
3. Synchronised team activities with a regular heartbeat using:
- Daily Scrums
- Sprint Planning
- Sprint Reviews: Retrospectives, Product Demo
4. Release Tested Software every Sprint.
7. Just enough documentation to allow communication within teams and over time.
8. Teams are empowered to make decisions affecting their work.
You’ll notice bits of Scrum and XP in there which reflects the nature of the process we’re rolling out.
My Agile roll out team did have a wee internal debate about whether the standard as written actually listed “practices” or “principles“. I argued that as it was a standard, not a guideline, it had to list practices. And if you look at the items most are practices. The only exception being the one about empowerment.
We moved the material from the earlier 50 page standard, which was really “how to” rather than “what to”, to a wiki for those who wanted to find out what these practices meant.