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At regular intervals, the team reflects on how
to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts
its behavior accordingly.

The 12th agile principle. Buried right at the bottom and yet, I think, the most important of them all.

Why do we do this?

Essentially we inspect and adapt for continuous improvement.

Adaptions are not always better. Can you tell when they are? There is a balance you need to achieve – don’t give up too soon and also don’t cling onto a change that is not working.

How would I start doing this?

Scrum teams do this via retrospectives at the end of a sprint, they also do this every morning at the daily stand up. (http://xprogramming.com/xpmag/beyond-agile-inspect-and-adapt-how/ )

Can you be honest about how things are now?

Do you reflect and appreciate when you have improved?

That’s nice but how can I use this in my daily life?

  • try new things more often
  • expand and test your boundaries
  • hold a mini retrospective with yourself once a week for 10 minutes
  • use time management techniques – like Pomodoros
  • prioritize your daily tasks then reflect on where opportunities to inspect and adapt lie
  • use feedback from others – your team, your customers

How can you encourage others?

Think about your meetings … are they productive? What would be one small improvement? Maybe just putting some stationary in the meeting room permanently would help.

How is milk ordered at your work? When its holiday season – does a lot of milk go to waste? Is there a small change you can try there?

Think about other areas – perhaps your kids at school. How can this work with study techniques or homework?

If everyone in your organization is attempting to inspect and adapt regularly you will have a learning organization. People who try things to learn and continually innovate and inspire.

That said – you need a safe environment to practice this. You need to be able to acknowledge that things are not perfect now. Even “fine” isn’t good enough. You also need to be able to make mistakes or fail. The difference here is that they are small mistakes in the inspect-adapt cycle.

You learn from every change you make, every mistake, every failure.

We strive to do this regularly at Growing Agile and its easy to forget – especially when things are going well! Typing that out makes me think of when things are going awry and you’re all stressed – there is no time then either I suppose. At Growing Agile we schedule time in our calendar to sit, reflect and plan, other engagements with clients are scheduled around this. It is valuable time and should be treated as such.

Not convinced yet? That’s ok, start small. Commit to one TINY change today and then check tomorrow morning – was it better or worse? Now go on from there 🙂

Some good posts on this topic:

http://marcbless.blogspot.com/2011/05/agile-principle-12-inspect-and-adapt.html

http://derekwwade.net/blog/2010/09/09/praises-curses-inspect-adapt-or-continuous-awareness/

Appreciation for images used:

http://27.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lot1zj4aGp1qcjks0o3_500.jpg

 

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