How I Met Agile

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How I Met Agile

One dev shares his story of falling in love with Agile when he used Agile methodologies to move his entire office in just a week.

· Agile Zone ·
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Though I had been doing Scrum for about 4-5 years, I was still a typical delivery oriented project manager converted into a Scrum Master. After many years, what made me fall in love with Agile was my first experience thinking about and applying Agile principles to a real life situation.

It made me realize that I am not Agile because I had some qualified certificate which says so, but because I have the Agile mindset. 

Setting the Scene

Due to a plan to ramp up our staff, the current office space I was in couldn't fit everyone. Hence, the company I was working for decided to have a new, bigger office space in the same city. Our current office capacity was 45 members and the new one was capable of holding 130 members.

The process of moving to the new place was in progress, but slow because the dates for the move continued to get postponed. Accommodating new team members proved a big challenge. 

Problem 1: The current estimate of the time need to complete the outstanding work, according to the building contractor, was 15 days, minimum.

Problem 2: One of the CEOs from the vendors obviously was not aware of the plans to move our offices, and decided to visit the India office in 10 days.

Problem 3: Frustration and pressure.

Scene 1: When it Started

A call between us (selected members) and Management to review the situation and mostly to agree to stay in the original office, as, according to the contractor, the newer office was not going to be ready by the time the CEO came to visit. The decision to move was known by practically everyone.

Scene 2: What Was My Reaction?

I was asked my opinion when my turn came (lucky me). I said I would do it the Agile way. If we do it the Agile way, we should be able to move on time and also able to manage the big fish's visit.

Silence on the call. I am no magician I said. I am not talking about a 100% perfect, up-and-running office, but only about handling the current needs and leaving an opportunity to refactor anything later on.

Most of them did not have an idea of what I was talking about, but still, they agreed (don’t know why) and called my idea Plan B. Plan A was always to stay in the original office (because it was their plan).

Scene 3: The Problem

New office site:

The furniture work was about to finish, plumbing in the washrooms (3 men’s and 2 women’s) was in progress. The electricity still needed to be connected, the air conditioners were not fitted, the curtains were not even bought, the networking connections and server connection was not done, of course, because they were supposed to be brought from the old office. The decorative element was just on paper, and the list goes on. In total, many different departments were to be engaged and there were dependencies to be managed (i.e. without electricity no point moving servers).

Scene 4: Men at Work Talking About MVP

Monday morning.

A group of people gathering and discussing something at the site - the building contractor, a couple of his men and a couple of other service engineers, a couple of my colleagues, and myself.

We selected a division of the office that had space for 60 people, 2 meeting rooms, 1 men’s and 1 women’s washroom, and a kitchen area.

The rest of the office part was blocked with partitions (not priority).

The backlog of all outstanding work was on one of the walls.

Reasonable and fair acceptance criteria were listed against them. Interdependency was addressed.

Prioritization was done. Work started.

Scene 5: Something Is Completed But Many Things Are Outstanding

Tuesday morning, management calls.

Is the office ready for everyone to move in yet? No, but we are making progress.

They continued working based on what was left and on the priority list (electric connection and plumbing were at the top of that list).

Scene 6: Closer Look to Targeted Solution (MVP)

Wednesday morning.

All networking was done for all 60 desks that had been moved. Only a few air conditioners were visible to the target area and were fitted and now working.

Work on 2 meeting rooms was started but not finished. The work on the kitchen area was started.

3 days over.

Scene 7: We Are Getting There, We Are Getting There!

Thursday morning.

Explaining the situation to management.

Is the office ready for everyone to move in yet? No, but we are making progress.

Rooms got painted, some decoration was done, temporary desk allocation plans got finalized, curtains were hanging on the target area windows, desks were polished, 2 meeting rooms got networking, and a projector was installed.

Thursday, the outstanding work in the kitchen area was finished (not 100% completed).

Scene 8: First Move Towards Move

Friday morning.

No call.

The site was under cleaning. The staff was asked to physically move their computers and other belongings on Friday afternoon before they finished for the day.

Scene 9: No Beer This Weekend

We moved the servers over the weekend.

I engaged a couple of colleagues to go out on Sunday and test to see if the connections worked.

Everyone was in the new office on Monday morning.

Scene 10: All Moved

Monday morning.

Addressed all 35 members that they are going to discover many issues which need to go to a particular board. The contractor and selected members will assess if the issue is something very important and needs to be fixed in the next 3 days or can wait.

For the next 3 days, the issues kept coming in, and prioritization was given based on what should be accepted at this stage.

Scene 11: But Not Completely There Yet

The major challenge came when a women’s washroom was not functioning properly. It was not in an acceptable state. No time to fix it.

We decided to convert one of the men’s washrooms temporarily into a women’s room, and simply swapped the signs. We informed the staff of this temporary change.

Scene 12: The Final Product

The big day came. The CEO liked the setup. He liked the new space. He also visited the blocked iff area even though it was under work. We assigned him a desk in one of the meeting rooms with a projector and networking (and where the air conditioner was working). He stayed there for 2 days and flew back over the weekend with an impressive set up in his head.

All happy faces, a few more days to fix all issues, but we made it.


  1. Everyone was clear on the goal – move as soon as possible and cover the visit.

  2. Decided the MVP was a 60 seat area and worked to get that done.

  3. Continuous prioritization of the outstanding work items and new issues was key.

  4. Acceptance criteria for each work element were designed to fit the purpose.

  5. Deploy early to face the biggest challenges early. We moved the staff early in imperfect conditions, with minimum facilities and wanted them to experience the solution, uncover the major issues.

  6. Team spirit was high. Everyone contributed, helping the staff to physically move stuff or transport the goods, we even got weekend support, and eveyone helped by providing meaningful feedback rather than complaints of something not working.

agile, agile methodology, kanban, scrum master

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