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Everyday Agile

31 July 2017

Saurabh Gupta

I experience Agile routinely as part of my daily life. Let’s consider a few examples.

Meeting changing demands

I was standing at a popular sweet shop, patiently waiting for my turn for the most sought-after item — samosas, a popular Indian snack — when a tall, burly man broke the queue and walked to the chef who was about to remove the cooked samosas from the oil pan. He authoritatively asked the chef to fry them a bit more, and stood in front of him while he waited. Meanwhile, people in the queue muttered under their breath, unhappy that their turn has been overtaken.

The attentive shop owner quickly walked to the impatient customer and politely engaged him in a conversation, asking him to wait his turn, and assured him that his serving would be extra fried, the way he likes them. Before the intimidating man could respond, the ready lot of the delicacy was already packed by the chef and handed over to the next person in the queue.

In Agile: A ScrumMaster similarly protects his or her team from those occasional, unreasonable stakeholder demands so that the team can continue to take the agreed tasks to completion, while ensuring that the concerned stakeholders are accorded their due requests in a reasonable way.

Prioritizing items

My daughter was eating while watching TV. And as usual, her attention was on the cartoon instead of on the meal her mother had prepared with great care. Her mother asked, "How is it?" but my daughter wasn't even listening. Upset by the lack of response, her mother promptly switched off the "idiot box" and asked her to focus on the food, which was a priority.

In Agile: The role of the product owner is to regularly perform course correction to help the team maintain focus on the valuable backlog items.

Acquiring cross-functional skills

I usually wake up before six in the morning. Just about that time, the daily newspaper is delivered at my doorstep.

One day, I caught up with the delivery man and inquired about his daily schedule. He enthusiastically informed me that after delivering the newspapers, he works during the day as an electrician, and sometimes also as a plumber. He added that he learned these disparate skills all while on the job, teaming up with an experienced companion.

In Agile: The development team comprises cross-skilled members who deftly switch among varied tasks during the course of the day, week, or sprint.

We all can recount numerous such routine moments from our everyday lives. Even if unknowingly, we all are well accustomed to Agile ways.


Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.

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