Doing Agile vs Being Agile

09 / Nov / 2021 by Divik Thareja 0 comments

We keep hearing the word Agile quite frequently in the industry. Every project wants to be on Agile and the thought is that as soon as you start implementing Agile frameworks, there would be some kind of magic that would accelerate delivery, reduce client escalations and the team would be happy.

Doing Agile

You have implemented Agile processes within your organization in some way which means you have adopted an iterative approach to the projects, breaking them down into incremental steps to manage them more effectively. You could have taken one of the below approaches (not restricted to these though) –

  • You are working within the scrum framework, following sprint cycle, running different scrum ceremonies – backlog grooming / sprint planning / daily scrum / sprint review / sprint retrospective
  • You have a Kanban board to manage work on a day to day basis limiting work in progress items to reduce blockers and speed up delivery.

Doing Agile would mean you have adopted roles such as Scrum Master / Product Owner, would have small cross-functional teams, work items would be broken down into features / epics /  user stories / tasks, estimation techniques like planning poker, T-shirt sizing would be used to plan work / projects.
Being Agile

Being Agile means you have understood the Agile principles and values. You understand the pillars of scrum – transparency, inspection and adaption before you actually start implementing Scrum framework. It means you are doing Agile, however, along with that you also have the right commitment in adopting Agile as a mindset to everything that you do. The focus should be on leadership and team mindset as well as behaviour and adoption of Agile.

Agile transformation – everyone lives by the learnings from the Agile manifesto – is something that you (the organisation as a whole) should undergo to be fully Agile.

Source –

Let us look at a Real Scenario
A project has been following all of the scrum ceremonies every sprint consistently. The team is attending the daily stand ups and talking on what they did yesterday, what they will do today and if they have any impediments (three question format).
However, the client is not happy with the delivery – quality of the deliverables / pace of the delivery. To keep it short they are not getting value from the team.

This is a clear example where the team is doing Agile, however, is lacking an Agile mindset.
The true essence of “Agile” is when you start applying it in everything you do. Ceremonies / Practices are just a small part of it and not the core. Here is how I would put it – “Be Agile to understand Agile”


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