Thursday, September 22, 2016

Some personal thoughts on agile and letting go

I've been thinking a lot in this vein the last week, and really wanted to commit these thoughts down electronically.

I've spoken in the past about quite a traumatic event in my early 20s where I saw someone killed.  As you can imagine, it wasn't very nice, and there was a whole personal journey dealing with the post-traumatic stress of that.

The last few years however, I was very aware of something that lingered from that experience.  What is so troubling about an incident like that where you have flashbacks, is the sense of only witnessing, and being powerless.  It's had a knock on effect on my whole life where I always try and do something over nothing, because then I felt a sign of ownership in whatever outcome occured.

This is me on waterfall

In waterfall, that means I was a really proactive, guard-dog of testing and all aspects of quality (this really isn't the blog to have the argument about quality though guys).  Playing the superhero role whenever I could, I was always trying to be that guy who makes things happen, that guy who fixes it all.

In our agile transition at work, I've had some really great mentors.  First of all, don't get ideas that out of waterfall I don't care.  But I've learned to focus much more on those items which are expected of me, and doing the best I can about them, and learning to escalate up any problem which falls outside of that.  And to do that in such a way that it doesn't feel like I'm "telling tales" on other people - to escalate in a supportive way, but acknowledging I'm not always the right person to solve all the project's problems.

Sometimes to fix something properly, good intentions aren't enough, and you need the appropriate expertise, and I've learned to set aside my male pride and accept it's not always me.  [You should see my attempts at plumbing before I realised this]

But most of all, I've learned with fortnightly sprints, I don't have to be the attack terrier trying to keep everything on track.  We can and should be daring and try new things, even challenge "sacred" taboos every so often - the worst that could happen is we mess up a sprint, all of 2 weeks lost.  But just maybe we might also find a better way to do something which will help sprint-after-sprint.  Or learn a good reason for why we always should do X that no training course could have got across.

Far from not caring, it's allowed me to focus my energy so much more on areas I'm relied on much more, and actually enjoy what I'm doing.  But it's allowed me to accept that letting things play out isn't always a fraught case of life-and-death.  And to me, that's something more important than you can imagine.



Now Playing: "Sulphur", The House Of Love


1 comment:

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