No need to feel embarrassed

I was at the Better Software conference this week. I had a lot of conversations with a lot of developers (by which I mean programmers *and* testers), development managers and team leads. I asked most of them some form of the question: “Where are you right now with your agile development?” What amazed me was how often the answer would be a highly qualified “well, you see, we are trying to be agile, but we have a long way to go.” This would always be accompanied by a sort of embarrassed half smile, half shrug of the shoulders, as if to say “I know I’m supposed to have more of the agile practices in place, but I just can’t figure out how to get there.”

I find this very sad. Agility is a journey. Whether you are doing Extreme Programming, or Scrum, or some combination of the two, you need to embrace that you are improving your software development practices. Am I saying to ignore all of those tools that help us make great software? No. I am suggesting that maybe we each step back for a minute. Take a look at where you are right now on your journey and decide what your next step is. Then when some crazy Agilista at a conference asks, “Where are you right now with your agile development”, be proud of the progress that you have made, and then look to the next step.

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