Friday, February 1, 2013

Introducing Agile? Start with a de-tox...

No one comes to agile with an open mind. Not anymore. Anyone who has yet to try agile has already got some preconceived ideas, and some of the ones I've heard are not at all helpful:
"Agile - it means coding without doing any analysis"
"Anything goes in agile, there's no discipline at all"
And if you're working with someone who has only seen bad implementations of agile then you may have real trouble sorting things out.

In one of my previous employers, some of the teams twisted scrum in to a tool for micro-managing developers via daily burn-down charts. When senior management began to encourage this approach company-wide I knew it was time to leave.

So how do you (re-)introduce agile to someone with a warped understanding of it?

I think you start by going back to basics and talking about values, behaviours, and nothing else until you can hear that you've been understood. That might take several hours, or longer, but refuse to skip over it. If you start talking about the details of scrum or XP before this level of understanding is established then you will end up with another warped implementation.

So what are those values and behaviours? The important ones are:
There's a lot of information in these two links. Take your time explaining it because this is really important. If you have the values and behaviors right then you get most of the benefits. But if you think of agile as just another process (or worse, the "no process" process) without understanding the values and behaviors then you'll be very disappointed.

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