This chapter has laid the foundation for an accurate, if high-level, understanding of Agile Analytics. Successive chapters in this book serve to fill in the detailed "how-to" techniques that an Agile Analytics team needs to put these concepts into practice. You should now understand that Agile Analytics isn't simply a matter of chunking tasks into two-week iterations, holding a 15-minute daily team meeting, or retitling the project manager a "scrum master." Although these may be Agile traits, new Agile teams often limit their agility to these simpler concepts and lose sight of the things that truly define agility. True agility is reflected by traits like early and frequent delivery of production-quality, working BI features, delivering the highest-valued features first, tackling risk and uncertainty early, and continuous stakeholder and developer interaction and collaboration.
Agile Analytics teams evolve toward the best system design by continuously seeking and adapting to feedback from the business community. Agile Analytics balances the right amount of structure and formality against a sufficient amount of flexibility, with a constant focus on building the right solution. The key to agility lies in the core values and guiding principles more than in a set of specific techniques and practices—although effective techniques and practices are important. Mature Agile Analytics teams elevate themselves above a catalog of practices and establish attitudes and patterns of behavior that encourage seeking feedback, adapting to change, and delivering maximum value.
If you are considering adopting Agile Analytics, keep these core values and guiding principles at the top of your mind. When learning any new technique, it is natural to look for successful patterns that can be mimicked. This is a valuable approach that will enable a new Agile team to get on the right track and avoid unnecessary pitfalls. While I have stressed that Agile development is not a prescriptive process, new Agile teams will benefit from some recipe-style techniques. Therefore, many of the practices introduced in this book may have a bit of a prescriptive feel. I encourage you to try these practices first as prescribed and then, as you gain experience, tailor them as needed to be more effective. But be sure you're tailoring practices for the right reasons. Be careful not to tailor a practice simply because it was difficult or uncomfortable on the first try. Also, be sure not to simply cherry-pick the easy practices while ignoring the harder ones. Often the harder practices are the ones that will have the biggest impact on your team's performance.