Practice Agile, Don’t Just “Do It”

Agile software development is all about inspecting, adapting, and improving upon findings to better your ___ (fill in the blank) or business or product development. Or “being” Agile as a lifestyle is to continually improve, or Kaizen.

Yep. We get that, and so does Tom Perry, who wrote a recent article on A Call to Practice. So many organizations don’t necessarily practice Agile more than they just “do it.” Never improving upon what they’re doing. That doesn’t seem very Agile at all, now does it?

And that’s exactly Tom’s point.

“We call a lot of things practices and what we really mean is “things we do”. We don’t really practice them… my call to action: find the practice in what you do. Engage in real practice with thoughtful deliberation. Find the techniques that we can all practice… to become the very best at what we do.” – Tom Perry

I believe that I would add just a bit of commentary here. Many people know this saying:

“Practice makes perfect.”

I disagree with this statement.

In my mind:

“Practice makes permanent.”

Just because you’re practicing something doesn’t mean that your practicing the right thing.

You could practice a particular movement for a sport terribly over and over and what you’ll have is poor form permanently etched in your muscle memory.

See my point?

This is where Tom’s point on “thoughtful deliberation” makes so much sense. Instead of just practicing, we need to practice as well as inspect, adapt, improve upon, and move forward.

Don’t forget to take lessons learned and actually employ those things. Soon enough, your Agile team will be a well-oiled machine. So, after almost 10 years of Agile, have we improved yet?

[HT: AgileTools.Wordpress]

Author: peter

Peter Saddington is an Organizational Scientist and Certified Scrum Trainer. You can find him at

4 thoughts on “Practice Agile, Don’t Just “Do It””

  1. I couldn’t agree more! Practice doesn’t make perfect, perfect practice makes perfect. And this means finding the right way to do things — which means that you should be seeking information, training, or coaching to inform you about what proper execution looks like in the first place. And then use those insights as you inspect, reflect, and adapt going forward.

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