Insert Clever Title Here: Origins
Every story has an origin. My adventure in the world of Agile began in 2006. In my Cutter IT Journal article, I detailed my first foray into exercising agility in software development. Unfortunately, that first adventure came to an abrupt close in 2008. After that, I tumbled into the abyss of Waterfall software development.
In my years as a Waterfall developer and manager, I realized that the framework offered little room for change, inspection, and adaptation (buzzwords!). If we were pouring concrete, the Waterfall formula works fine; however, writing software isn’t as exact a process as pouring concrete. Software development projects are more like a bowl of jello- it needs time to congeal and become something. Needless to say, our amazing teams made Waterfall work as well as possible, but it always felt like we were running from a pack of wolves that kept inching closer and closer; we had no intention of finding out what happened when we finally tripped.
Some agilists will mention their ‘AHA!’. For me it came in June 2013. I attended a lecture led by David Hussman of DevJam Studios at the Agile West conference. In a two hour session, David broke the core practices of agile and gave some deep suggestions on how to take this knowledge back to our teams. His pragmatic approach hit home, and it helped me reflect on what I was doing back at work. I asked myself the question that is valued so highly in the Agile world: ‘Why’. It was here that I was introduced to Dude’s Law, which I still fall back on anytime I’m having a debate with a team member, coworker, or executive:
To make an already long story short, our team’s successfully adopted the Scrum framework. We led a grassroots movement that pushed up on the organizational hierarchy. Our claims and proofs of product value, project visibility, and increased quality earned some very key executive sponsors. Eventually, the organization as a whole aspired to adopt Scrum… and that was where that chapter ended.
The closing of one chapter often ushers in the beginning of a new one. Thankfully, in my case, the story continues. I took some time to research and write about my experiences; I thoroughly enjoy listening to the stories of other professionals. My career has landed me with an excellent new employer. I work with a well established, high performing team. I’m lucky to have a glimpse of both ends of the spectrum. I look forward to future conversations with colleagues on anything Agile and leadership related.