Part 2 of 2: Agile Adoption – No Pain No Gain

February 21, 2012 Luanne Willimon

In my first post I said that agile adoption reminds me of my personal experience in competitive sports. The pain was so intense at times, it left me physically and emotionally spent. But with a bit of determination, the gain was always much bigger. These experiences are much like my own experience transitioning to agile development. Here’s the rest of my story:

Here I was a Project Leader at a new company.  My leader walks up to me and says, “So,
there’s this new thing called agile development and we want to try it.  Are you up for piloting it with your project?”  Being the newbie and not wanting to start off on the wrong foot, I said “sure.”   He handed me the book, Agile and Iterative Development: A Manger’s Guide by Craig Larman, an introduction to the different agile methodologies such as Scrum and XP.  From that book and the Agile conference in Calgary that year, I was off to see if this thing was worth its weight in gold.

A year later our entire dev group converted to agile development…we were on our way to the promise land!  I’m sure this is no news to you… it was painful.  I’m here to tell you the gain was worth it!

At first it was great. We had this new-found vigor and vitality that agile development was going to be the “silver bullet.”  No more late projects; the business was going to be completely involved, and all the team members would rise to the occasion and be overly zealous to try this new thing.  And then reality set in.

The pains…

  • The agile bus left the station but not everybody was on it; and some who were should not have been
  • When people get “set in their ways” it’s hard to change them or convince them to change; change is hard
  • The business could not always give us 100% of their time; they had day jobs
  • We floundered around for a bit before we got our footing… no one is perfect right out of the gate
  • Did I say change is hard?

The Gains….

  • Delivering valuable/quality software to the business early and often – once they get a taste, they want more!
  • Collaborating with the business to ensure you are delivering the right things…having a prioritized backlog and knowing what absolutely had to be done was pretty cool
  • Coming together as a team to figure out how to work and deliver; we were free!  Not “cowboy” free, but able to decide how to get the work done
  • Infusing quality throughout, not just at the end… our testing folks were ecstatic to be included from the start
  • Releasing incrementally because we could!
  • Having Fun! Let’s face it, we spend a lot of time at work and if you can’t enjoy
    yourself, it makes for a long day

Not everyone is going to experience the same “pains” and “gains,” but I’m here to tell you that I have no intention of ever going back to life before agile development.  I’ve seen too many positive business gains, and I’m here to stay!

Read Part 1

The post Part 2 of 2: Agile Adoption – No Pain No Gain appeared first on VersionOne Blog.

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