Written by Jennifer Romero-Greene
on April 28, 2022

Today, everything seems divided and we see what I call the “either/or” approach. My Grandmother used to tell me, “Jenny, the bird needs both wings to fly.” She was right. I choose the “both/and” approach that embraces the body and spirit of the Agile mindset. Allow me to explain.

Since the Agile Manifesto burst onto the scene more than twenty years ago, Project Management has been divided; either Traditional or Agile, or Predictive versus Adaptive approaches to Project Management. The longer I have been Agile, the more I’ve realized we need to embrace the “both/and” Agile mindset. Today’s organizations are Complex Adaptive Structures (CAS), oftentimes with constraining environmental factors such as government regulations, steering committees and limited planetary resources (we all live on the one Earth), and therefore it can be confusing to determine the best course of action to take. Here is where you can benefit from the “both/and” Agile mindset.

Agile transformation is a journey not a destination, so we should stop periodically and assess how the journey is going. When CAS organizations began their Agile journey, they were sold one specific name brand of camping gear. By that I mean all Scrum or LeSS, SAFe, Lean. Either one brand of tent or the same brand of lanterns, etc. As they proceeded on their Agile journey, they realized there are no one-size fits all Agile solutions. Just as there is different camping gear for the Artic Poles versus the Amazon rainforest, organizations need the tools that best fit their current environment.

Teams may not be able to fit their work into one version of Agile. This is where we need to set up camp and reflect. The good news is that one brand of tent can be used with a different brand of lantern. The fundamentals of Agile center around TIA – Transparency, Inspect and Adapt. Transparency requires courage - the courage to admit that there will always be unknowns and we cannot know everything. Inspect what we have done and question everything. Lastly, Adapt our processes to reflect the valuable lessons we have learned. Agile is not a one-size fits all solution nor is it an all or nothing approach.

Embrace the “both/and” approach and determine which Agile practice is best for each team. One division may be able to adopt SAFe and conduct Program Increments, while another department uses Kanban to limit their Work in Process. There isn’t one singular Agile solution that works for every team; however, every team can discover an Agile solution that works for them. I’ll let you in on a huge secret, there are no perfect solutions and, like my Grandma said, you need both wings to fly. Let your Agile Journey take flight by adopting a “both/and” approach. Let xScion show you how!