When students sign up for our coding boot camp, they are getting much more than just a solid foundation for coding. One of the goodies, among others, is a look into the Agile world and how it functions in the IT field. They have 2 classes with our Agile Coach, Vivek, and they complete his course to receive a certificate of completion. Here is this month’s interview – we hope you enjoy it; it’s packed full of information!
1 – Name: Vivek Khattri
2 – What do you do?
I am an IC Agile certified Coach, Trainer, and Entrepreneur. I am a co-founder of a training and coaching company called The Agile Coach where we create impactful content (self-guided courses and live agile certification classes) and run a boot camp to help people break into Agile Business Analyst and Scrum Master jobs.
3 – How did you get into Agile?
I got into agile back in 2013 while I was working as a business analyst. One day my company was holding training for Agile, and I decided to check out what it was about. I really resonated with the values and principles of agile and decided to learn more about it by reading a few blogs and going for a 2 days workshop.
4 – What is Agile? (in a nutshell)
I think of agile as a mindset that is guided by 4 agile values, 12 principles, and unlimited amounts of practices that are always evolving. In context to how companies build software, I think of agile as a way for large companies with 100’s of teams with silos and bureaucracies to work and operate like a startup (small, nimble, and highly responsive teams creating valuable software for customers on a weekly basis). The world today is ever-changing with technology. When a company or teams are adopting an agile mindset, I think of them embracing uncertainty, being able to change quickly, and continuously learning, and being obsessive about delivering value to their customers.
5 – When did Agile first become popular?
Agile has been around for 19+ years, but within the last 7-9 years, I have seen it become more and more popular. With constant market change and technology evolving every day, many companies see more and more important in focusing on people, focusing on the business needs, and delivering value to customers regularly. Large companies are starting to see the importance of talking to the customers, learning what’s useful for them versus assuming, and building the product by collaborating with their customers. There is also a huge urgency to get the product to market early and often because there are many new competitors emerging that are bringing a new and better product to the market faster.
6 – How is it considered better than the Waterfall approach?
I think both approaches have their strengths and weaknesses; there are times where waterfall might be even a better approach. However, the biggest thing that makes agile popular or “better” is because of the iterative and incremental approach where companies can focus on building what’s important and adapt their approach as they go.
In waterfall, it’s hard to make changes once certain steps have been completed vs; the approach of the minimal viable product (MVP) allows the customer to check out the working version of a product and provide feedback early on. In VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex, and Ambiguous) technology space, an organization can minimize failure with business and organizational agility.
7 – What are some problems that an Agile team might have?
Starting to do some agile practices is not that hard but when it comes to changing the culture and mindset of thousands of people is hard. Change is hard. It’s really difficult to let go of certain patterns, so it takes time for the collective mindset to formulate. Transforming to agile requires courage, leadership, and patience from both teams (knowledge workers and leadership).
Leadership asks teams to go agile assuming teams can deliver sooner, cheaper, and with higher quality. However, sometimes there is a lot of resistance to this initiative from leadership
8 – Describe the perfect Agile team/system.
I don’t know that a perfect Agile team/system really exists. I think a good Agile team does exist and those are teams that communicate and collaborate well, have a growth mindset, and are constantly uncovering better ways to deliver value to customers.
9 – What should someone new to the Agile framework remember most?
I’d recommend you approach agile as a mindset over a framework. There are many frameworks within agile and they are always evolving. Also, remember change is hard and it requires individuals and teams to be open-minded to try new ways. So, go with a curious mindset, experiment, and pay attention to what happens when you try on some new practices. Pay attention to the impact of the change and tie it back to the business results because if you can show that the change is bringing positive business outcomes, there will be more support from leadership and team members!
10 – How can people learn more about Agile?
People can take industry-approved certifications through various companies out there. Our company (theagilecoach.com) has created a self-guided online course on learning agile (along with Scrum and Kanban frameworks). In addition, we also offer accredited certification classes from ICAgile and Scaled Agile for Agile Developers, Scrum Masters, and Product Owners. We also have an immersive learning path for anyone looking to get some experience in agile product development through 4 months of cohort-based learning.
11 – What advice do you have to those on an Agile team?
Have patience! Focus on values and principles. I sometimes see people get caught up on certain frameworks and meetings, but forget about Agile values and Principles. Also, keep in mind that you have those learning cycles where you can really inspect and adapt to what you are building as well as the team’s processes.
12 – Is there a big job market for Agile positions?
Absolutely! Most companies are going through an agile transformation. Outside of the coding or software developer roles, there is a huge demand for new roles like Scrum Master, Agile Business Analysts, Product Owners, and Agile Coaches. No matter what roles within the tech you are looking for, having an agile knowledge and experience will provide you an edge!