It seems an eternity ago. I hadn't begun kindergarden yet. We were living in a fairly large (or it seemed at the time) development complex in Laval, near Montreal. I still had training wheels on my bicycle. Many of my friends were rid of their training wheels. I wanted be just like them, riding a bicycle without the training wheels. I did convince a friend to let me try to ride his bike, and after a few false starts I was riding his bike. After a few days, my mom did notice that I was doing ok, and soon the training wheels came off.
Now, what does this childhood story has to do with agile development? I think of agile methodologies such as Scrum and XP as training wheels for teams and developers. The goal is to teach good habits and provide guidance and support as the team and its developers mature and gain experience. As they move forward, the methods, practices and dictums associated with the Agile methodologies become ingrained and the team is (hopefully) able to adapt them to their situation. They begin to ride the big kid bike.
Sometimes though, businesses, teams and even developers want to go straight to the end result of Agile development. They want the benefits associated with being an agile team without the discipline and structure that comes from following one of the many flavors of Agile development. They don't want the training wheels, they want to go straight to the big kid bike. Sometime they succeed, but often they don't.
Thankfully, OpenLogic is committed to being an agile company. We are implementing Scrum and are adopting more agile practices and methods as time goes by. We did have our own falls and scraped knees. We were able to look back, identify where we fell short and remedy the situation. Today, we have our product owner and other stake-holders attending our stand up meetings, we do put time into writing both acceptance and automated unit tests for our stories. We also pay close attention to our velocity, which we then use to adjust our tasks estimates.
In many ways, we still have our training wheels. But we are getting better at it. With a little time and practice we may one day be ready to get rid of them though.
[Originally published on Out of My Mind... Reproduced with my own permission.]
[posted with ecto]
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