Why I Am Thankful for Agile
In one of five Thanksgiving-based articles, a Zone Leader provides aspects of Agile adoption for which he is thankful to utilize on a daily basis.
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In the United States, the end of the month of November is when time is taken to perform a retrospective-like event called Thanksgiving. What started out as a dedication to giving thanks for the blessing of the harvest and the preceding year has transformed into a time to simply be thankful for one's blessings.
Since Thanksgiving is recognized on the fourth Thursday in the month of November, I thought I would introduce a five-part technical twist with the following Thanksgiving-focused articles:
- Thankful for Java.
- Thankful for Agile (this article).
- Thankful for Web Development.
- Thankful for Cloud Computing.
- Thankful for DevOps.
I hope you find time to check out the other articles, as well!
Of all the things I am grateful for regarding the Agile framework, the idea of iterative development and delivery is at the top of my personal list.
In fact, in my twenty-seven years as an IT professional, only thirty-seven percent of my time has been spent using some form of iterative development. As one may expect, I am quite thankful for the ability to deliver aspects of functionality when it is ready for use — instead of waiting for everything to become ready for use.
In those days before iterative development was an option, it seemed like an application would always be "almost ready" for use. Or, in other words, the application was never ready for use...or released to the customer. Because, by the time all the functionality was finished getting developed and tested, the business needs changing, causing rework to hold up the delivery even more.
To avoid sounding like an old man yelling at youngsters to "get off my lawn" or to cite stories of how I used to have to use a telephone line to connect to the early days of the Internet, I am quite glad that a majority of feature team members today will not have to build applications in a non-iterative environment.
The Daily Stand-Up
Love them or hate them, I feel like we should be thankful for the periodic stand-up meetings that teams often employ.
Consider these three reasons:
- Communication is good — Even if brief, there is value in hearing what others are doing.
- Team support — Provides an easy way to ask for help when needed.
- Increases motivation — I always feel driven to complete as much as possible before the next stand-up.
To me, without a periodic stand-up taking place, these benefits would be harder to recognize.
The use of an application lifecycle management (ALM) toolset by feature teams is an assumed and often over-looked gift by management.
Having worked with the de facto standard in the ALM space for several years, JIRA has helped feature teams document, manage and track all aspects of the development lifecycle. When combined with another tooling, the underlying source code can be reviewed, built and delivered in an automated fashion.
In the "Thankful for Java" article (noted above), I called out features that avoid the need for repetitive or boilerplate coding. The same view can be recognized by ALM tooling, where tasks can be automated and executed continually without introducing issues.
One common example is in the deployment space. If a proven process is building the application, based upon some defined trigger, the potential for issues being introduced in a non-automated approach is removed.
The Team Itself
Finally, I am extremely thankful for the team I get to work with on a daily basis as an employee at the CleanSlate Technology Group.
Some I have worked with for nearly twenty years, while others have just been on the team for a matter of months. In all cases, we have a team which is always available to pitch in and lend a hand wherever possible.
I am also very appreciative of the teams I get to participate with on projects driven by our clientele. In those cases, I am treated just as if I am a full-time employee of the corporation employing my services, which I truly feel like leads to a better return on their investment as a customer.
Having worked on teams that do not work well together or support each other, makes me appreciate my current situation even more. For those struggling with their current team, consider the following articles:
- Are These Personas On Your Team?
- Dealing with Rustey, Bartman or Omarosa On Your Team
- Lack of Honesty In Your Agile Team
- How A Product Owner Can Drive the Feature Team Crazy
- Is There a Place For Personal Expression On Your Team?
With this article and the other articles listed in the introduction, I was inspired by realizing just how fortunate I am to be employed in an industry that has so many wonderful facets that can be employed on a daily basis. Since Information Technology is an industry of constant change, I fully believe I could revisit this topic on a yearly basis and provide another series of articles for which I am thankful.
As a kid growing up in the United States, there were two Thanksgiving television specials that I looked forward to watching each year: A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving and the Brady Brunch Thanksgiving episode (The Un-Underground Movie, season two, episode four). While most have likely seen A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, I thought I would include a link to Greg Brady's school project, "Our Pilgrim Fathers", from that episode:
My hope is that you can take time this month to reflect on the things by which you are thankful. While I am blessed to work in such an amazing field, I am truly blessed that each of you has taken the time to read my article.
Have a really great (holi)day!
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