Apply, Inspect and Adapt

Inspired by a talk of Joseph Pelrine

about why agile methods sometimes fail in organizations, I became aware of the following point:

The cycle to successful progress in agile teams is NOT Inspect > Adapt but rather Apply > Inspect > Apadpt.

Agile teams operate in complex environments (systems). Often there are no direct connections between causes and effects observable about things that are going on during project sprints. The only chance is to address issues in retrospect with a bit more distance and the picture how things evolved in the underlying system. You can not do a useful insprection and then do adaptions without really having tried (=applied) things out in your system’s environment.

Some other points from Joseph Pelrine’s session on why agile sometimes fails:

  • Not understanding the Apply > Inspect > Adapt cycle.
  • If you are doing agile by the book (only Inspect > Adapt), you are not doing agile.
  • Agile techniques are scary to many people. They can not deal with what comes up and tend to get crushed.
  • People not willing or able to step outside of their comfort-zones.
  • Problems in communication and conflicts.
  • Use of the wrong tools in wrong places just for the sake of using them.

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