Fuck Agile

… why does it have to be so hard to get across it’s sheer beauty?

Lately I’ve been having a daily battle with members of my team and company as I try to push the Agile values to our daily efforts; this is not an easy task.

Any Development Manager who takes the deep dive and begins a transition to Agile is a brave brave person… and with over 12 months of Agile working under our belts I have a few pointers to send out to anyone either looking to start such a process or who is in dire need of help during the process.

Don’t expect to do anything right at first This will go horrendously to begin with. You will pick the wrong tool and the wrong agile method and probably the wrong project to start it on… but it has to start somewhere right?

People always say that the first step is always the hardest with anything… break the waterfall habit and give Agile a try.

Be ready for the sceptics Every software team has colleagues who have been around the block more times than you could ever imagine and are stuck in their ways. These will be the thorn in your side from day one up until they either decide to open up to it or they leave/get fired. Agile is not just a new way of building things but it’s a whole new way of thinking.

Sometimes thinking isn’t peoples strongest of points.

You will doubt yourself Half way through your second sprint and suddenly the burndown chart is shooting up? Panic! Forgotten to put requirements onto that final user story so work is at a standstill for 2 days? Run!

All of these things will happen… and that is when you need to make sure you take a look at the agile principles and follow them.

Continuously learn things One of the major plus points of Agile is being able to consistently and quickly self appreciate and articulate what is going wrong and what is going well in the project. The Sprint Retrospective should be a safe place for your developers to tell you how they truly feel so make sure that is the environment that you give them.

You can’t learn anything if everyone is scared of criticising a process that is a complete riot in the first place.

Make friends with the Agile lovers While you will have sceptics, you will also have members of the team who embrace seeing quality at the end of every 2 week sprint and begin to tell others about your process. Embrace them. Hug them. Buy them things to spread your message.

Your boss A good Development Manager makes sure his team runs the way it’s meant to and delivers stuff.

A great software Development Manager puts themselves out of a job due to the processes and trust initiatives that they put in place within their team.

Your boss will more than likely be the biggest one to wonder how the process works and from project to project, depending on how these go, they will see the various levels of success of such a process.

But we aren’t working Agile Who cares? The principles are there to be followed whenever you can… nobody expects you to be able to walk into a £1B business and say hey guys let’s change everything today.

The Agile transition should never end because you should constantly be learning things about your projects/team members and making changes and tweaks whenever you can. Don’t let the fear of saying ‘Agile-But’ stop you from diving into the mindset and introducing stuff as slowly and as consistently as you can.

The Agile transition is not an easy task; be ready to be constantly reading documentation and papers around all the different processes and try them out wherever you can.

Experimentation is one of the key features of Agile for me… and so far it has led to mixed results. It’s up to me and my team now to make sure those results are more to the good than to the bad!

Surviving Your Transition