Agile in the real world — no rules?

Whatever Agile or Lean flavor(s) you and your company embrace it will never be the “by the book” version of it. You’ll always use the “but” version and possible a bit of a “and” version. And that’s fine.

The point being that today as it turns out you cannot say your company is Agile or that your department or team uses Scrum or Kanban or XP or whatever. You could say you embrace Agile principles and values but that’s basically it. And then you should explain what you mean by that.

Eg. A few companies that I work with use an adapted Kanban Board. They try to enforce WIP but can’t do it all the time. Others use Scrum, but don’t have the Review Meeting as they have UATs in place and stakeholders approve features when testing them so they don’t have need for a formal Review. Others don’t have a Retrospective. Or don’t do the auto-organizing part of whatever methodology they work with and rely on the Scrum Master to assign tasks in the Planning Meeting, analyzing how many Story Points each developer has for the Sprint and plan accordingly. And many do not use Story Points at all.

Having said that, when you call your company, department or team Agile, be sure of what you mean by that. In the real world things are not always what they seem (most of the times). And please, please, do not use Story Points as a time measurement!

Tell me your real world experience in Agile!