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.

About Steve Ropa

Steve Ropa has more than 25 years of experience in software development and 15 years of experience working with agile methods. Steve is passionate about bridging the gap between the business and technology and nurturing the change in the nature of development. As an agile coach and VersionOne product trainer, Steve has supported clients across multiple industry verticals including: telecommunications, network security, entertainment and education. A frequent presenter at agile events, he is also a member of Agile Alliance and Scrum Alliance. In his personal time, Steve plays principal trombone in a regional orchestra and is an avid woodworker.
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