“We have a strategic plan, it’s called ‘doing things’ ”
– Herb Kelleher
Does this quote describe how many people perceive Agile project management to be? That is: we build stuff incrementally and iteratively but heck we don’t plan it!
If that’s how you think Agile project management works, you’re wrong.
A strategy is simply a set of actions designed to achieve an overall aim. Every project designs a set of actions in order to create the end product or service.
In Agile methodologies, the strategy is (in simple terms) a cycle: analyse – build – test – release – feedback – iterate.
Different Agile methods are built on strategic elements with names like, Backlog, Scrum, Sprint, Kanban, etc. that help the team ‘do things’.
Agile is about ‘doing things’ but not haphazardly.
The thinking behind Agile is, don’t do ALL the thinking upfront and then release the product. Agile builds a viable product, releases it, and using feedback, iterates the product. Knowledge is accumulated through iterations, not a fixed point at the start of a project.
Herb Kelleher co-founded Southwest Airlines that originally flew between three cities. They started small, they ‘did things’ incrementally, and now fly to 103 US destinations and ten other countries.
Herb, like it or not, that’s a strategic plan.