Pragmatic Agile Weblog

Agile software development in real life

Agile Jedi Initiative

Ok… in the agile mythology it is enough you explain agile to your team and everybody in the team will be excited  about it and can’t wait to start to release something every week and do pair programming. If this does not happen… just fire who is not convinced enough and hire somebody else…

I do not want to argue if this is a dogmatic or pragmatic position, I would just say it is not the way I like to face the issue. If there is something that agile tells you is that hiding the problems under the carpet of time does not make you do better. From agile you learn to highlight the problems and find the solutions.

In introducing agile in a team of about 30 engineers, we experienced people reacting in different ways: somebody was excited (at least in principle), somebody doubtful, some were completely against (and maybe still are), the most close to neutral. What to do in such situation? Fire who is not fully convinced and hire a new team? Give up? Or firmly keep trying to change things and fix problems convinced that the results will come? We have taken the former approach, but I have to admit we had to push some changes from top to the teams. This is not ideal indeed and only the time will tell if it was a good thing or not. For sure, it is not something you can keep doing for too long. How then encourage people to free-up their energy also in making the way they work better, easier, more efficient, more knowledgeable… in a word more enjoyable?

One initiative we introduced and I hope will bring the benefits above is the Agile Jedi Initiative. Aim of this initiative is to combine ideas, sensitivities, skills and energy of who is more sensitive to agile practices so to build a working group open to anyone that sees a problem in the current practices and wants to contribute to solve it. This is something that shall come from the teams and that is for the teams. I really hope it will virally spread to all members of the engineering team.

But what’s the mission of an Agile Jedi? A simple question with a non trivial (or no) answer, so let’s get some principles come to help us. An Agile Jedi:

  1. Constantly inspects and improves
  2. Does what makes sense, never more, never less
  3. Takes ownership
  4. Grows leadership
  5. Turns problems in opportunities
  6. Is not afraid to make mistakes
  7. Searches for the next right answer
  8. Breaks the patterns, sees things under different perspectives
  9. Exercises agile techniques
  10. Helps anyone in all the above

May the Force be with you!

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May 1, 2010 Posted by | Agile, Funambol, Uncategorized | Leave a comment