There are a large number of blogs out there about Agile–some positive, some negative, many awash with the same information you can get by reading any of the hundreds of books written on Agile. There are many good ones out there–very positive and trumpeting the successes of Scrum Agile.
“Hey, but aren’t you pro-Agile?”
I am. I most definitely am–probably to a fault (which will most likely be a blog topic at some point in the near future). But here’s the reason I think talking about failure is so important: it’s at the heart of Agile itself: fail, learn, adapt. So what I want to contribute are examples of the pains and failures of the Agile teams with which I work, (and here’s the important part) and how those Agile teams learn from those painful experiences. I get literally misty-eyed when I see some of my teams retrospect and come up with an actionable solution that they will implement in their next sprint. The sense of ownership they have over both their failure and their ensuing improvement is always uplifting. Yeah, yeah, schmaltzy, touchy-feely, I know. You don’t get to the good parts without going
through the hard parts. So that’s what this blog is about.
I am a full time scrummaster, coaching 3 pretty-darned mature teams. (I realize that there isn’t a “Pretty Darned Mature” column on any of the Agile Maturity Matrices out there–but there should be!) and am also part of a company-wide “Agile Ambassadors team” that seeks to offer advice to teams and scrummasters that need help with Agile, coaching teams that are struggling, teaching teams that are starting out, and generally promoting Agile across the company and in our local community.
My hope is that Scrummasters, developers, testers, Product owners and managers will be able to come to this blog to read about Agile in its everyday use. I’ll give real-world examples of the problems we encounter and how the teams resolve those problems. I’ll offer advice now and then, and I’m more than likely to lapse into telling parables or using extended metophors to illustrate my points. In the end, I hope you, the reader, are entertained, informed, inspired, or at the very least are given pause to consider how well Agile can work
For anyone coming here who is not familiar with Agile–start with the original manifesto, and go from there–everybody else has.
The Principles that support the Manifesto and that continue to stand the test of time
If you’re a video-learner, you can do no better than the fine Scrum Training Series that Michael James has put together. I direct anyone to these videos who needs a crash course (Less than 2 hours) in how an Agile team should work.