Tuesday, 12 June 2007

Skeptism about Agile

When you are starting something new, you can sure to expect some skeptism. Do not let these deter you though.

While just 2 weeks into starting Agile, I received some optimistic remarks like "I really believe in Agile. ", "Yes, we should go agile". A lot of people are showing great curiosity and asking all questions to get prepared.

Sadly though, there are people who showed skeptism......

"We started talking about Agile for two weeks already..and I still do not see anything and cannot even start to contribute in terms of product requirements. Yes, Agile may help us but ultimately, it is attention to details and preserverance that are required for us to have successful executions - just like a good race car may help but the driver is the most important."

My reply was:

"The problems highlighted in development actually boiled down to the planning, design and execution. These are which Agile is supposed to improve.

Anyhow, we will start agile asap. Start very small. I already gathered all the decided product backlog. It just that I am waiting for the resources to be free up from the current project that was in waterfall methodology and now it is somewhere in the QA stage . Also, I am working on some coding in part-time basis and it is hard for me to focus. You see, multitasking is never good. As much as we can admit, trying to load all things on the ppl is not sustainable anymore. So, I will call for meeting very soon. "

Yes, I did call for the meeting for 2 teams and we laid out what we need to do in SPRINT 1 despite the lack of the product backlogs. We then committed to the stakeholders on the release date and made everyone happy once again. Phew!!!

Sometimes, I know I have this designer attitude where I like to be left alone for sometimes while I work on my design and creativity. I actually met a designer that used to tell me about something that she could not tolerate because she has this designer attitude. My advice for her back then was to try to change that. In the end, she sticked to her principle and left. I must say, I agree with her sometimes. :)
But that attitude does not actually work very well with some bosses. Some will want you to update them very often. They won't look at your plan and they do not remember what you told them last week about what you are working on. So, you have to update your boss every now and then.

That's where the Agile is designed to help your boss remember and know what you are doing. You draw every user stories/features on the whiteboard, commit the time to come out with something in 2 weeks (each iteration) and hopefully your boss will be happy to leave you alone. And you have daily SCRUM meeting to check on the progress. What is cooler than this? It is like a boss's dream comes true!

SCRUM meeting does look fun , if you do not treat it as a pressure for you to show daily results. View the following video- it is funny. In the end, I guess being a boss or not, it is important to understand that your team are just human, i.e. they make mistakes , they proscrastinate, and they prioritize wrongly. It is your job to forgive them and point them to the right directions and most importantly learn and grow together. (I am sure boss is not the most perfect person in the team).
In the end, as I reflected on what was being said, I think the skeptism shown is more towards the people , rather than Agile - "just like a good race car may help but the driver is the most important."
I guess it is more right for me to say that driving a Proton car (do click on the link and you will see what I mean especially if you are not Malaysian..hehe) is different than driving a Mercedes. Both can get you to the same place but it is just different, especially on the safety level. Now, I am not just thinking about driving myself. We are together in the car and of course, we hope for a more comfortable, safer and more-quality car to get us to the destination. In the end, the experience during the journey counts as much as the end results.

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