I’ve seen a lot of orgs/teams/groups/whatever (I’ll call them orgs for now) doing things that aren’t working, and yet proceeding as if they are working.
I’ve seen a lot of these orgs move on to “better” starting from wherever they are by learning to reflect, tune, adapt, adjust (and some other things).
I’ve seen number orgs revert or “backslide” as well – both slowly over time, as well as almost instantly in some cases.
Whatever the situation, those of us who want things to be “better” need to take action, and that will never stop. At least I’m pretty certain that will never stop.
I take it as my responsibility to make things better in my profession and in the places I work. I act on this responsibility by exploring possible “better ways”, implementing “better ways”, and influencing things to the degree I can. To that purpose, I constantly work on improving my ability to influence things for the better – sometimes I have success, sometimes I don’t.
To me, this is “Agile”:
An approach that works well for me is to always take rapid, never-ending baby steps to “better”. I constantly reflect, tune, and adjust. When things work, great. When they don’t, it’s easy to adjust or take back that baby step and try some other step. Sometimes I take leaps, but I prefer taking baby steps.
For me, there is often a “Lofty Goal” that represents a vision of a better future. It will change over time, and any specific “lofty goal” can grow, morph, or fade away over time depending on what I discover as I take more baby steps.
I want to always have the option to make mistakes, and to pay as little as possible for those mistakes. Sometimes I must pay a lot for our mistakes. Still, I prefer to find ways to keep the price tiny when I can.
Being resolute to work with others to always steer to the next possible “better” seems to work nicely. I fail in many ways, but it is not the ultimate failure of thinking and acting as if “I can’t make a difference”.
The Values and Principles of the Agile Manifesto are the foundation of my idea of what “Agile” is, and what it is to me. I have expanded on these ideas for my own work, and I don’t see them as being “static”, but rather a somewhat firm yet dynamic set of guidelines that are easy to apply for evaluating my thinking about the business of software development, and for my exploration of software development practices and techniques.
I know what works for me: I take the Agile Manifesto seriously, and I constantly Reflect, Tune, and Adjust. I think of this as “Pure Agile”.