Friday, September 11, 2015

Is Agile or Lean really common sense?

I always hear, "Agile or Lean is not a science but mostly common-sense. If you apply your common sense you will get it right. " 

I am not disagreeing with the fact that some part of Lean and Agile is common sense but with common sense we will achieve 20% success. To be 100% successful we need to understand, in which areas common sense can be applied i.e. face-2-face conversations should get preference over email or chat, it is easy to build small artifact vs. giant one and many more. 

But when it comes to building a process, which will lead to effective and efficient delivery and happy customer, not to sure if common sense would be sufficient ingredient. To me, we need to understand culture, values, people and THE PROBLEM (they are facing).  


I try to understand the culture from its employees.
  • How respectful they are when they are talking about other teams?
  • How managers are presenting their peers?
  • Are people always complaining about situations around them and saying, "You don't know how hard it is or how bad it was? Vs. we are not perfect and it may take little time and effort to be there. 
  • How comfortable people are talking to their senior management? Are they worried when they are sitting next to them? 
These are few things from a fairly long list, which helps me understand in which kind of environment I am in.  It plays very important role in designing the improvement or learning cycles. It helps in choosing the wordings for the organization as well.


Values are very important aspect of an organization if done right. I try to watch below things when it comes to designing a process around value.
  • How well Values and Goals are interwoven together? 
  • Does everybody understand the purpose behind those values and why they are important?
  • Do they have values for employee personal development? 
  • Do Values drive their day-to-day work?
Knowing values obviously will gives me confidence in coming up a solution which will work in that organization and is aligned with them and not some out of box solution.


What to say here? This is for sure common sense :D. This is most difficult albeit most important aspect for anything and every things. YES THEY are the CORE of the system. I like to watch out wording used in team rooms. i.e.
  • I give up vs. I am sure we can find something, would anybody like to help
  • I don't understand this vs. I am missing something and need sparing partner
  • It's okay should be heard more often vs. gosh I don't know what to do now? 
These are just tip of an iceberg but something in those direction tell me whether people are positive or afraid towards changing or adapting new things. It lots depends upon CULTURE and VALUES. They are the driving factor of "IT'S OKAY" culture. 

Solution to Solve the Problem

This is no brainer that any solution should solve some problem which we are having. Don't adapt something because you heard about it or you thing it is cool but always start with WHY. Why are we doing this and what problem are we trying to solve. Propose a solution to solve the problem. Don't be process slave but be a change agent. 

SO it is lot more than common sense after all!!!! I will try to cover each topic in detail in next blogs.