Agile fluency

Recently saw a video of a keynote speech at XP2013 by James Shore, wherein he described the Agile fluency model that Diana Larsen and he put together.

One of the key things James emphasized is, this is NOT a maturity model for agile. Fluency at any level is a good thing. The key is to ask ourselves – are we fluent at what we do? One maybe at “1 star” or “3 star” level, but are we fluent at those respective levels?

Fluency is doing things well and gracefully even under extreme pressure. So if one believes they are “2 star” team, and you drop writing unit tests because you have a pressing deadline, then you are not fluent.

One key take away was, if you want to be a “3 star” team, then begin working towards that from day one. i.e.: Start practicing both the basic and advance practices rather than the traditional easy to difficult progression. Fluency is about habits, so the more often one does it, the more effective it would be.

Per James, majority of the companies are struggling to be fluent even at the “1 star” level. We are increasingly in danger of being perceived as snake oil salesman, if we continue to promise “3 Star” agile benefits, with “1 star” level of training/coaching. The transformation to agility is not easy (and we should not sell it as anything else), but once realized you cannot imagine working any other way.

I found the presentation very inspiring and also a call to action . You cannot be agile by certification. Yes, one needs to be well versed with practices, but no methodology/framework can save you from bad code. To be agile, one has to be fluent with all the practices of software development.


Recovering programmer, Agile software developer & coach

Posted in Agile Tagged with: ,

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