Bond is a name, a character, a persona, a franchise, and a universe itself! Bond is a complete entertainment package. We tag our expectations with him, and he fulfills those without a deviation. If we look at him closely, he is more than a hero-on-the-screen!
When we look at James Bond through the agility glasses, we see a coach in him. Through the series of Bond movies, this character leads agility by example.
Agile is contextual and fluid. The definition of Agile changes with the environments, people, and perception. The most inclusive definition of agile is “use feedback with constant adjustments in a highly collaborative environment”. Bond has constantly exhibited adjustments/re-adjustments in collaboration with M, Q, Miss Moneypenny, and other agents.
With his exemplary blend of skills, motivation, output, and attitude, James Bond is a perfect example of the agile suite. With all the strengths, he does have weaknesses which he overcomes with his focus on the mission. Let’s touch (and learn) a few agile expertise he fearlessly exhibited through his work. We believe that these pointers will surely be helpful in one’s day-to-day work life and, in a bigger sense, this can accelerate and positively influence the agility in teams’ culture.
Going to the root of the problem
Agile development starts with ‘just sufficient’ information (story/feature) and we learn more as we progress. Through the progression, we follow “Plan >> Do >> Check >> Adjust >> Re-Plan” cycle.
Movies Reference: In Skyfall (2012), Bond starts with this least clue.
Using the available tools and environment in the best possible way
Instead of the management defining and paving the path forward, agility promotes the new-age minds to utilize the best of their ability and creativity to find a suitable solution to respond to the problem.
Bond uses the provided and available resources to the best of his capability. He improvises with the situation.
Cross-functionality (a full-stack developer quality)
An agile team must/should be cross-functional. We can not ask the entire team to be V-shaped, but the T-shape aptitude is highly desired for success. In an agile context, T-Shaped skill means the worker is capable in a lot of disciplines but expert in one of them, while V-Shape represents cross-discipline expertise.
A spy, who is not just a driver, pilot, sailor, but also an efficient warrior with any weapon, multi-linguistic person, great at gambling, and not to forget Bond is a charmer too.
Innovation, creativity, self-motivation
Agility is not the solution. It is the way you solve the problem. The freedom provides an open-minded environment for every team to feel inclusive too.
Movie Reference: In Octopussy (1983), Bond creatively uses the crocodile submarine.
Identifying the blockers and working on eliminating them first
While envisioning the delivery goals, agile provides a platform to identify the potential blockers in terms of risks and dependency. Also, the organic mindset provides an opportunity to work on any unseen blockers as soon as they appear. The reaction depends on the nature of the impediment. However, it is highly recommended to eliminate the blocker first, either we have an owner working on it, or the team swarms to clear the blocker.
Bond starts identifying his enemies, their territory, and their strengths. He removes the blockers, sometimes by eliminating the enemies. (Remember, Bond is licensed to kill!)
Deliver what is committed
Agile is iterative and incremental, but a work item (story/feature/epic) is done only when its defined scope is fulfilled. The item is not done until the scope is achieved and the intended value is delivered. An item can either be "done" or "not done". Half-done stories are not acceptable. Every chunk of work must deliver a value in terms of minimum viable increment.
The beliefs, assumptions, creativities, attitudes, behavior, and actions lead to the culture of a team. Learnings from mistakes, always pursuing growth through reflections, and problem-solving drive relentless improvement intended by the lean-agile manifesto. Relentless improvements are achieved by practicing transparent communications, honest feedback, regular retrospectives, and following the action items.
James Bond, as the secret agent or as a franchise, we all have witnessed improvement with age. They improved on every front of the movie, like the plot, the complexity of missions, fitness, technology, cinematography, and overall Bond impact. Casino Royale is a great example, where we have two versions showing the implemented improvement over time and applied appropriate changes for the new age viewers.
Try new work and/or tools (ready to fail)
Fail fast, fail often, fail forward is a lean principle that encourages new-age-workers to try out new things that may potentially help reach the team goals. This opens up an entire world of possibilities, builds trust in the team, empowers the team, and embraces positive change.
Even when the odds are 1/100, James Bond tries it out for the mission because he is ready to fail, and always ready to learn when the trial doesn’t work out. Even if he fails, he tries to fail forward.
There are endless opportunities to learn and practice agility. Being Agile is not following a set of practices, it is about having an open mindset that is ready to adapt to situations. Agility is a culture to live, rise, and shine with the best values. Keep learning with entertainment while watching the 007 flicks next time.
Don’t forget to check out how 007 makes sure that his Product Owner, M, is happy. 😊
Reference: The "James Bond Package" by Dominik Berner