Does the French Government follow the Agile Methodology?

May 13, 2020

By Samuel Habif

Through this article, Samuel Habif, Innovation and Solution Leader at ADNEOM Paris draws a parallel between the lockdown exit measures implemented in France and the Agile Methodology.

In this unique context, I would like to give you an overall view of the lockdown exit plan in France. This is not a polemical article. It seems very unlikely that an Agile Coach has played a part in the lockdown exit plan in France, even though many similarities can be pointed out. If you have some knowledge of Scrum Methodology, you will not see the deconfinement the same way as before.

A quick overview of the situation

Everything began on April 28th, when the Prime Minister gave a speech about the lockdown exit plan. The strategy introduced is based on 3 main pillars: living with the virus, taking actions gradually, and adapting locally. As a reminder, the Agile Methodology also relies on 3 main axes: transparency, inspection, and adaptation. All these pillars can be reconciled. The more this article will go into details, the more similarities will be specific.

Submitted to different phases, the deconfinement took place on Monday, the 11th of May, in France. The first phase will last 3 weeks (from May 11th to June 2nd ). Does it ring a bell to you? Working with iterations in order to adapt ourselves is one of the pillars of the Agile Methodology. What about detailing the framework of these iterations now?

Many rules were introduced during this speech, all dependent on the development of the French indicators.  At first, rules were likely to change until May 7th. Thus, the Government has refined the rules until launching the iteration. This could be assimilated to the Agile artefact: the Backlog Refinement, the Government being the Product Owner.

On May 7th, one day before the launch of our first iteration, the deconfinement steps of the first phase were introduced. The Product Owner (the Government), revealed to the team (French people) the different rules they will have to follow during this first iteration. We could draw a comparison between this step and a broadcast Sprint Planning in an Agile context. At the end of this presentation, the team knew how to behave over the coming 3 weeks. The Sprint Backlog was then defined.

The Prime Minister explained that indicators would be monitored. According to the results, appropriate prioritization and adjustments could be made. A summary map has been displayed and updated every day, like during an Agile daily meeting. The Government has led a broadcast daily meeting to monitor developments of the Sprint, including the deconfinement BurnDown with indicators such as the intensive care admission rate.

An appropriation of some Scrum principles

Considering all these elements, we can draw a parallel between the organization of the deconfinement and the Agile Scrum framework, the best-known methodology of project management. This is an appropriation of some Scrum principles, including artefacts and ceremonies. The Government might also have determined the Sprint goals.

Then, the following assumption can be made: even if the Government has not been accompanied by an Agile Coach, we could yet noticed that the Agile Methodology could be adapted to different situations.

To conclude, everyone has a part to play to ensure the deconfinement BurnDown, for friends, families, and coworkers to safely meet again.

Samuel Habif, Innovation and Solution Leader at ADNEOM Paris

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This post was written by Suzanne Berthou