On Teaching Agile Methods

At Danube we’ve observed in the course of our work doing Agile transition consulting at various organizations that it’s not enough to dump a bunch of principles and practices on a group and walk away letting new Agile inductees fend for themselves. Let’s call this the “big dump up front” approach. Rather, for principles to take root and be effective in practice, it takes a long-term approach where newly introduced principles and practices are reinforced highly periodically. Our approach to Agile transitions reflects this principle because we believe a transition can only take root when long-term mentors are integrated with teams and management for months or years.

In fact, this long-term approach to consulting is in fact more Agile; rather, than trying to achieve the conversion in one swoop up front, we work iteratively revisiting areas that need attention and shoring up.

This seems self-evident and obvious to me. It’s interesting then that most consulting organizations still prefer the “big dump up front” approach.

Victor Szalvay

Victor Szalvay currently leads product development for CollabNet’s ScrumWorks® product suite. In that capacity, he works closely with customers, stakeholders, and the development teams to deliver high business value each release cycle. With more than 150,000 active users worldwide, ScrumWorks is used by more than half of the Fortune 100 and boasts the largest market share of any Agile management tool.

Posted in Agile
One comment on “On Teaching Agile Methods
  1. Tamara says:

    Victor –
    I agree with you! We are in the midst of a transition to agile methodologies, in particular Scrum wrapped around a core of XP practices (i.e. co-location, test driven development, pair programming…)
    We did the ‘big dump up front’ by having a series of week long classes for our team members to attend. We also had a series of smaller ‘home grown’ tutorials that have proven successful as well. Now that we are two sprints into the effort we’ve followed this up by having on-site mentors come in and work with the two teams that are leading the way with this methodology. Having the follow up mentoring has proven to be invaluable.
    While we don’t have full time, onsite mentors, (that would be nice!) we have a core group pf employees who are passionate about this way of developing software.
    We are only a couple of months into the change, and there were some rough spots. Now how every the team I’m on (I’m a scrummaster) is joking about having ‘drunk the test first kool-aid’ and how much they enjoy, and are productive, being co-located.

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