Paul Beavers’ Agile Acid Test: Variability, Incremental Delivery, Empowerment

As agile moves across the chasm into the mainstream software enterprise, it becomes important to separate truly agile behavior (some call it Agile with the capital A) from a general approach to being flexible, not overly rigid in software practices and being open to changing market demands. Pete Behrens commented on the danger of “everybody being agile” in a post Agile Adoption on the Rise? Problems ahead? A few months back. Moreover, in today’s market, no intelligent executive would claim to NOT be leading an agile enterprise, so some discrimination in applying the term to teams and enterprises that have truly adopted and applied the basic agile software development principles seems warranted.

I’ve seen a number of attempts at simplifying the test of what it means to be truly agile but I’ve never attempted one myself. Now I don’t have too. Paul Beavers of BMC captured my opinion in a pithy manner in his recent post: Is it Possible to be Half Agile?

In that post, Paul describes three quintessential agile characteristics, and he does so in only four words (it would have taken me twenty or thirty!). Paul describes the three key principles as:

  1. Variability
  2. Incremental Completion
  3. Empowerment

Personally, I’d edit that to become Variability, Incremental Delivery and Empowerment, and I’ll say why in future posts, but first, read the post from Paul to understand his thinking. Thanks Paul!