The similarity of Agile and a Diet plan

Most of us at some point in our lives will say we need to diet or eat healthier or exercise more, and we will try to implement that change into our lives, but without support from others, a plan, and some resolve to make it thru the difficult stages, these changes usually fail, and the benefits we were looking at getting, never materialize.  Much like how agile implementation is, with no support, no plan, and no resolve to truly change, the benefits are never realized.

Agile: Companies declare that today they are going to be agile
Diet: You declare that today you are going on a diet

How much planning did you do before you declared that today was the day you would start doing something, and how many people did you inform prior to that declaration?  What Agile methodology are you going to use?  What diet are you going to follow?

Agile: Declare that IT will be going agile, rest of depts might follow
Diet: You sit down to dinner with your plate full of veggies while the rest of your family eats steaks and has dessert

No support from others. You’re in it alone.  Those steaks you know are good, and it’s comforting, how long until you can go back to eating steak?  The honest answer is you probably shouldn’t, you should continue with your change, but steak is way better than veggies, right?  Having IT only doing agile means they will have to comply at times with the business and the old way of doing things. You don’t get the benefits of agile then.

It’s just something small to add to the sprint, and I need it right away. I mean we are agile, right?
It’s just 1 dessert, I’ve been pretty good this week, or it’s just 1 workout I’m missing, that can’t hurt, right?

As soon as you break the rules, it’s hard to get back on track or to continue with your change, especially if it’s early on.  Soon it won’t be just this one time, it’s more like we are back to the old ways of doing things and questioning why didn’t agile or my diet work?

 

There are many similarities to implementing a personal change to a business change.  At first, you need to stick to the rules strictly, so that habits are formed.  Once the habits are formed, you can then start to add in some ‘exceptions to the rules’ so that it works long term for you.  Implementing Agile Scrum means strictly adhering to the ceremonies and the intentions of the scrum methodology for everyone, and then once everyone is doing them, start to implement what really works for your teams/business that might not be a part of Scrum, or is another agile methodology.  Same with a diet, you adhere to it strictly to form the habits, then start making exceptions to find out what in the long term will work for you. Only then will you gain all the benefits you were looking for.

Having a coach and someone that holds you accountable for your new habits have proven to be more effective than just going it alone.  Having someone who is trained to coach vs an internal member that has some training, is more effective.

 

Points to a good implementation of habits to see benefits:

  1. Research and plan
  2. Hire a trained coach that you feel will ensure you see benefits
  3. Stick to the plan and make sure everyone is on board with it
  4. Make sure you know what the goal(s) is, include SMART goals

Are you interested in continuing the conversation on how to implement Agile in your organization? Reach out to me at KBerger@digineer.com.