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Agile Street Smarts: Insights from an Agile Practitioner

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According to Merriam-Webster, “Agile is marked by ready ability to move with quick easy grace.” Of course, this not only describes the adjective, but also the methodology.

I’m an Industrial Engineer with an affinity for data and numbers and a Jersey Boy who realizes the need to break free from conventional approaches in order to provide rapid and innovative results.

To say that things move a lot faster today is to state the obvious and, to deal with this, we need to move quickly and carefully.

This is the first of many posts that will explore Agile Street Smarts and how to approach and practice the Agile Methodologies in our Hybrid Waterfall/Agile world.

My take on Agile is that it is a versatile, maneuverable, intuitive and adaptive approach which involves process, a good measure of gut feeling and street smarts. As Agile practitioners, we are constantly reevaluating our performance, approach and velocity – receiving continuous feedback and sometimes moving at blazing speeds.

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Unfortunately, the whole world does not operate this way and sometimes, we have a need to translate our progress, performance and results
to the Waterfall world. There are conventional metrics that executives and finance groups expect us to provide such as Earned Value and Forecasting and therein lies the challenge.

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Agile, to me, is an approach I have been using for a good part of my professional career. Many years ago, I studied Operations Research and Industrial Engineering and the Agile approach was in the fabric of our methodologies – whether we knew it or not.

One of my favorite Agile characteristics is, ” By the time you plan and figure something out, it has changed and you need to start again,” so don’t overthink.

In my next blog entry, I will discuss an approach I have used to estimate and forecast Agile projects and subsequent blog posts will highlight topics such as  Earned Value Metrics, transitional strategies the military model and the different Agile “flavors”.

Stay tuned.

 

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