Personal Agility for More Potent Agile Adoption


have a problem. However, if you point it out to them they now, they have two problems - and YOU are the immediate of those problems.

If you want others around you to be responsible, there are two things you can do: 1) you must model responsible behavior, and 2) you can share the model with them but not in moments of conflict. The rest is really out of your control;. change comes from within.

Potent Agile
Now let us come back to Agile development. How does the Responsibility Process Model fit in with Agile development? Specifically, can it help our Agile adoptions be successful? If so, how?

Successful Teams Have Responsible Members
One of the principles in the agile manifesto is that:

The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.

Consider teams you've worked with, from dismal to hyper-productive. Would you agree that massively-productive teams have members that embody responsible behavior, that take ownership and drive to the goal. Would you agree that mediocre teams consistently display one or more of the responsibility killers listed above? (This, by the way, is completely independent of Agile practices and methods.)

Recognizing and Responding to Change Requires Responsibility
Another of the principles in the agile manifesto is that:

At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

Consider teams you've worked on that successfully adopted one or more development practices. Did those practices just fall in place or were they tuned for your particular environment? Who tuned them? Was the tuning lsquo;mandated' or was it taken up by one or more individuals of the team? If you decided to write tests first as a team, didn't that require discipline from each and every team member to do so effectively?

Recognizing changes as they happen is at the core of successful Agile development. Responding to change is often difficult and painful. Successful changes require the individuals on the team to step up, propose solutions, act on those solutions, and frequently admit that those solutions were not effective and need to be changed. Teams who are successful at tuning and adjusting behavior do so at individual level. Team members are responsible. They take ownership and act accordingly.

Successful Agile Development Begins with the Individual
Self-directed teams aligned to a clear goal are the essence of agile behavior and the engine behind the stunning results some teams claim for Agile. We believe that individual responsibility , as defined by Avery, is a prerequisite to such agile interactions. That is, responsibility, as defined by the Responsibility Process Model, is necessary (but not sufficient) for successful Agile software development.

Personal Agility
The Responsibility Process Model is one tool that we've found useful in helping teams achieve success - but it is only one of many. It doesn't have much to do with software development. It is a life skill that can be used virtually anywhere. It is not our model, nor are any of the other tools in the personal agility toolset - they come predominantly from the psychology, business, and management worlds. The works of Peter Senge , Franklin Covey , and others help one attain personal skills that make them more effective. None of them are useful until you take 100% responsibility for yourself.

These tools all focus on the individual. Which, if we go back to the Agile Manifesto's very first line, is the very core of Agile development:

Individuals and Interactions over Process and Tools

The values and principles in the Agile Manifesto were not lsquo;made up;' they were reverse-engineered from

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