Agile development is something that I’ve never really done professionally, but I really want to be in that space. Implementing agile practices to an organization that is not agile is not an easy thing to do. There will be resistance from every angle, BAs, QAs, developers, managers, etc. This morning, I had an experience that helped to clarify in my mind why agile techniques can be hard to adopt. My experience made me realize that by nature people favor process and ceremony over results. While most people are geared towards end results, intermediate results don’t seem to matter much as long as the standard process and ceremonies are followed.
The experience that made the “bulb over my head” turn on was a very simple example how, without even thinking, I followed a process and ceremony with the end desired result in mind but ignoring the intermediate results. This morning, I walked into the bathroom and reached for the light switch. I moved my hand in the usual upward motion over the switch and made contact but didn’t feel the typical “flip” and didn’t hear the typical “click” of the switch being turned to the on position.
Following my usual ceremony and procedure, I tried again. Again, I made contact with the switch but the switch didn’t flip and I didn’t hear the comforting ceremonial “click” of the switch being flipped. It was at this point that I realized that while my intention of reaching the end result of having the lights turned on was completely distracted by my typical ceremony and process of flipping the light switch. In that same moment, I realized that the switch was already in the on position, and the lights were already on. I just needed to wake up and realize that the end result was already attained and I didn’t need to follow my typical process twice, once or even at all.
Process and ceremony are hard things to bread once we get comfortable, but in some cases they overstay their welcome and usefulness. I could have walked into that room and gone about my business, but instead my typical ceremony got in my way and slowed me down.
Stay tuned for part one of a new blog post series that I’m going to start called “My Crusade for Agility”.