Does this feel agile?

This is how Merriam-Webster defines agile:
  1. marked by ready ability to move with quick, easy grace
  2. having a quick, resourceful, and adaptable character

It's common for software development teams to get lost in the artifacts and ceremonies associated with "Agile" methodologies. You know--standups, backlogs, sprints, etc. They can lose sight of the very basic idea of what agility means.

I've always thought of agility as being fundamentally about change--how well you deal with change.

The Agile Manifesto talks about change explicitly:
Responding to change over following a plan
Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage.

It doesn't matter how well you're following "the process" if you're not responding well to change. If you're not responding well to change, then you're not agile.

How well do we handle changing requirements, for example? Do we grumble and complain, or do we take it in stride?

If we're grumbling, why are we grumbling? Maybe it's one of these reasons:
  • We wrote very detailed user stories or acceptance criteria that we have to change now
  • The QA people have test cases they have to rewrite now
  • We're mid-sprint and we've already committed to a certain scope of work
In the spirit of responding well to change, we could examine those pain points:
  • Are the user stories or acceptance criteria written at the level of value an end user would recognize, or do they include low-level implementation details?
  • Are the QA people focused on testing business value delivered, or following a rote checklist focused on implementation details?
  • Why don't we deliver the business value that we committed to at the beginning of the sprint and capture the new requirements as an item/items for a future sprint (which is at most 2 weeks away)?

Software is soft. If we're working with a process and artifacts that we experience as hardened, ossified concretions, then we might stop and ask: what would it take to get back to our software being soft? What would it take to get to a place where it felt easy to respond to change. What would it take to be agile again?