Being Flexible With Agile

After being involved with many Agile teams across a wide range of organizations – one thing is certain: each group will have their own style and flavor. No organization – whether a startup or Fortune 50 company – or team – distributed or collocated – will be the same. And in my opinion, that is a positive thing that adds value – not only to that specific situation, but to the Agile community as a whole.

The Scrum Guide, Agile Manifesto and other bodies of knowledge provide guidelines to follow, but flexibility is necessary in order to meet the needs of a particular project or client. Let’s face it, if teams aren’t flexible and don’t adapt to a given situation, there are times when nothing would get done. And typically, the goal is to produce working software, not to be in compliance with the Scrum Guide.

I have met those who are a militant about following the Scrum Guide to a T and any deviation is perceived as an act of war. Typically, I have found that sticklers are new to Agile – in the Shu phase of Shu-ha-ri. I will admit that when I began learning and applying Agile, I tried very hard to stick to the “rules”. However, I learned a while ago – after being exposed to various teams, organizations, levels of Agile experience, clients and situations – that being flexible with the application of Agile methodologies is important and probably a necessity.

The more experiments run and ideas tested only add to the amount of knowledge circulating throughout the web, conferences, Meetup groups and impromptu conversations. One of the great parts about Agile is the agility that it provides – the risks taken, the lessons learned, the nonconformity.

So how about you – do you strictly adhere to the Scrum Guide or do you tailor your approach to the specific situation? What are the pros and cons?