Too many people sell agile as a way to get better, faster, cheaper. But the problem with setting these high expectations for agile teams is that we too often neglect the roles of and expectations for agile managers. Managers are responsible for creating the environment in which people can deliver great work.
Having a standard process everyone uses makes sense in theory. You could compare metrics and progress across teams and projects. But it practice, it becomes like comparing apples and oranges. Teams aren't all the same, and neither are projects. Each team need its own optimized way to deliver value.
If you're working more iteratively and incrementally and things are better for your team and your customers, can you call yourself agile? As long as you're improving, does it really matter what you call yourself? Johanna Rothman says yes. Unless you're following the Agile Manifesto, you aren't truly agile.
In a big push to scale agile, it can help to think of scaling agile as program management, or coordinating projects where the value is in the overall deliverable. Consider how you can deliver your product one small, finished bit at a time. If you deliver value as often as possible, you see real results.
Of course it's important to work efficiently, without wasting time, money, or energy. But working effectively is just as important. Agile cycles between creating, testing, and getting feedback, allowing us to work in small chunks and make sure what we're producing has the most value. That's effective.
Manufacturing design looks a lot like software: You iterate through possible solutions, and the manufacturing itself is about repeating the making process. But building software means learning about the problem as you solve parts of it. For that, you want flexibility. How do you find your ideal process?
We all have work we don't want to do. Some of it is boring or unpleasant, but there's another type: work we don't know if we can finish to our satisfaction. It's hard to tackle a task you're not an expert at. Johanna Rothman offers two classic project management approaches to face the work you're putting off.