Slow Agile Project

I recently delivered my ‘Introduction to Agile’ presentation to a client that is in the process of transforming from a very structured SDLC / Waterfall model to Agile, specifically Scrum.

The presentation is deliberately short; it is intended to spark conversations and questions rather than a detailed workshop on agile practices and processes.

The company in question has had some challenges in transitioning to agile, which is why I got a call to come in and help. I often use the introduction presentation as a tool to explore where there may be challenges. It has the extraordinary effect of opening people up, revealing numerous avenues to be explored.

On this occasion, one of the comments that came up completely took me by surprise.

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Why are we doing this?

I spend a lot of time with organizations of various sizes helping them transition from their current state to their desired future state.

In practice this offers a wide variety of challenges from one organisation to another. Some have great developers but poor processes, others have strong processes, but lack support systems, some are just struggling to understand what their goals are. Inevitably there is some level of confusion, frustration and a sense of someone else ‘just not getting it’.

I’ve increasingly taken on a mission with all of these organisations, a personal mission that I believe goes to the very heart of the malaise that I see in the IT industry over and over again.

That mission is to help everyone remember that once upon a time, not so long ago, this used to be fun.

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‘Me First’ Standards

I get to spend a lot of time with junior developers and designers – actually at my age it seems like everyone’s a junior developer. We spend large tranches of our time together discussing the various designs, architectures, technologies, patterns and standards that will best address the particular problem domain we’re exploring.

Inevitably the conversation turns to the question of priority: what is the most important thing? The need to apply ‘best practices’? The use of patterns?  SOLID? Structured Exception Handling? Language? Platform? Or is it speed of development? So I tell them: the most important thing is to set their own high standards and stick to them.

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