If you haven’t read last weeks post yet I would encourage you to spend some time going through it. In fact, I really would like you to read it over before finishing this post. Usually a writer at this point will tell you that they’ll wait while you go read it. I’m going to be brutally honest with you. I’m not waiting.
I’m not going to pause in my typing for the approximate amount of time it would take to finish the previous post. I’m also not going to try to get some cool web wizardry cooked up to prevent the rest of this post from appearing until after you’ve finished reading that one. It would be relatively pointless since we both know I wrote this whole thing before you looked at the first word. What I am going to do is assume you’ve read it. With that in mind I say I have to ask, what did you do in the last week to move closer to being truly Agile?
Seriously, I get it. It’s daunting to say the least. You want to get your team Agile but you have no given authority. You have no notable experience. You have limited knowledge. You have no buy-in from above.
Let me ask again. What have YOU done to get there? I’m not interested in what you wish would happen. I don’t care what other people who have authority, experience, or training did. I’m talking to you. Right now. What was it in the last week that moved your team closer to Agile and started with you?
If you have nothing then we are brothers in spirit. I was there. I was waiting for the next move to happen to me. I had an idea how things could be better and a growing passion to see it through. I kept waiting for someone else to give me that opportunity to let my passion shine. You know what I did when that chance came? I don’t.
You see, that chance didn’t just magically appear in front of me. I had to make some choices. I had to start some action. I had to create the chance for an opportunity to arise.
Authority, experience, training, buy-in. These are great things to have. Answer this though, what kind of Agile practitioner would wait until they have full knowledge of Agile to start working towards being Agile? I would argue it would be one that doesn’t know what Agile is. The Agilist will be willing to work with the knowledge that they have at a given time to achieve the best result they can. You need to be willing to fail or succeed early, adjust, and move forward.
The best teacher is experience. Sure you may need to have three years of experience in an Agile environment to get that Scrum Master job over at Other Company you read about, but you already have a job at This Company. Create an Agile environment around you. It’s like writing experience onto your résumé just by working your current job as best you can.
Authority and buy-in are the hard ones. If you can’t find someone in the hierarchy that believes in Agile and will sponsor you, find someone who is not against it (should be easy) and get permission to experiment on a small-scale. Note that this may not come with the authority you truly need, so be ready to work with the person that has that authority. Explain how you are striving to bring greater success to the team. When they see you are working to help them, they will stop getting in your way.
When it comes right down to it though, you need to do what I did. Stop waiting. Get started. The cliché stands the test of time, every journey beings with a single step. Stop being afraid. Stop waiting for someone to roll out a red carpet. Stop waiting for a bus to pull up. Stand up. Take a deep breath. Look ahead with confidence. Take the step. It is after all Our Agile Journey.