All too often I see software and product development work where those involved want to know every single detail. They want to plan out every single thing, and try to enable their success. There is just one glaring problem with that. You don’t know everything! Even the entire team doesn’t know everything. You also don’t know what you don’t know. So trying to figure it all out up front, will either leave you spinning your wheels or just waste effort. This is traditional waterfall development and project management. It is not about how you embrace the chaos – go full Agile.
Why do we try to figure everything out when the issues in doing so are so clear? To narrow it down, it is because we don’t want to be wrong. It is the fear of failure. If we try things out to learn, they could be wrong. Which is the whole point of learning. But some can’t get past that idea of failure. So they try to determine every nuance and detail upfront.
What is the alternative?
Embrace the chaos – go full Agile! Or in other words, the idea that you don’t know everything and are likely wrong on at least some things. Move past that and use everything as a learning experience. This is an idea at the core of Agile development. Which is so applicable to software and product development, but can be used in many areas. The idea is to do small pieces of work, do it quickly, and get it to a place where you can evaluate it for success. Get it to a place where it can be tested or used for real, to see if it does the job or not. If not, learn from it and fix it.
The quick implementation and quick learning is what can make Agile so powerful. And it is this idea that can help you to build real value. But first, you have to get past the fear of failure and embrace the chaos of Agile! So remember the concept of learn and adapt. And the ability you have to take things on, learn from them, then to go and do better than before.
If you can embrace these ideas, you can leverage Agile. With Agile concepts of flexibility and adaptability, you can deliver software products of real and tremendous value.