Change Takes Time

The Braidy Tester reports on how he tried to institute Agile on a team in short order. After presenting a bunch of practices including pairing, mini-milestones, and people working on fewer features at time he waited for management to respond. Management’s response:

In case you hadn’t guessed, none of my suggestions were enacted.

I can be pretty dense sometimes, but I got the message.

He explains that the great part was that by going back and arguing his points on an individual basis and just continuing to lobby, many of his suggestions did get implemented in the long term.

My experience has been that the incremental approach has worked in practice where wholesale adoption of Agile would have failed. The best part has been is that when people come to the realization on their own that a particular practice makes sense and adopt it on their own.

Whole hog, rapid adoption of Agile practices like TDD, acceptance tests, refactoring, user stories, collocation, etc is still intellectually appealing. Since it only takes three weeks to form a new habit you can possibly move a team into Agile very quickly if you can enforce everything. I just haven’t been in a position to experiment with this approach, and I do fear it may backfire in many work cultures. Still it’s an experience I’d like to have someday.