What Agile Means To Me

Today, I placed an online lunch order to be picked up at noon. I’ve eaten at this establishment on numerous occasions and have always ordered the same thing: Zoodles (zucchini noodles) and eggplant meatballs. This is my “go to” meal when I want something that tastes decadent but is low in calories.

It’s a beautiful, spring day and I enjoyed my walk to the restaurant. I wandered up to the counter, gave my name, received my package, and headed home. On arrival, I pulled the container from the packaging and snapped off the plastic lid.

I was greeted with large zucchini chunks, not zoodles. I expected zoodles. Where were my zoodles? Why wasn’t I told there would be no zoodles? The receipt reads “Spaghetti and meatballs”. I check the website and re-read the description just to validate that I haven’t lost my mind. Yes, it says zoodles. First world problems, I know, but I was incredibly disappointed to have received zucchini chunks instead.

I PAID FOR ZOODLES!!

You might be asking yourself – what does this have to do with agile? 

I’ll tell you.

There’s a certain mindset in agile; a culture of transparency, honesty, courage, rigor. If the zoodle-makers (“zoodlers”) had an agile mindset, someone would have either A.) called me prior to making the dish to let me know that zoodles were not happening for whatever reason or B.) told me upon arrival, with an apology, explanation, and a potential discount and/or food swap.

When I contemplate what agile “means to me,” I inevitably return to the five scrum values: Focus, Openness, Respect, Commitment and Courage. It’s about telling the truth. It’s about humility, vulnerability, and doing what’s right, not what is easy. It’s about navigating the complex world with grace, poise, and love. It’s self-respect and consideration for others. Agile is grit, truth, passion. Righting the wrongs. Shining a light on the elephants. Being courageous and living your truth.

The agile mindset does not discriminate. Whatever your career path,whether you are a software engineer or a zoodler, we should all aim to be focused, open, respectful, committed and courageous. That’s the agile way.