Thoughts on Agile; What happens to six developers locked in a room together for six weeks? (Part I)

Thu Jan 12, 2012

New Year, time for some resolutions that I'm surely not going to keep. One for work - I really need to make a bigger contribution to the blog. I have a few new ideas, but before getting too ambitious, I need to use one that has been in the, well, backlog, you might say, for a while.

Let me turn my memory back to a time when I worked in the Spatial office (I'm remote now, more on that another time), and I would wander into Gregg's office where we'd solve all the problems of the world, compare notes on our sons, and make an earnest pact to get more serious about the blog. We'd list out 20 or 30 entries which I'm sure will never get written. There is one that stands out, which really Gregg should write, but since he is never going to, I'm going to force his hand.

Let me go back a more few years to a time when we were trying to improve our development practices by going through a major transition to Agile. It wasn't going too well yet, for various reasons… skepticism, an imperfect fit, resistance to change? Not sure. My particular sore point was unit testing. As manager of QA, I was very interested to see us give it a real go, but that wasn't happening. During a long discussion with our then boss about why Agile wasn't sticking, he asked, "Well, what would you do?" I said without thinking, "I'd just stick them all in a room and MAKE them do it!!!!!" (Managing a development team a year later was a humbling and probably beneficial experience for me.)

But wait, this post shouldn't be about me, Gregg was really the one with the ideas . . .

The next day we had a meeting where the boss suggested . . . just that, albeit slightly more politely. To everyone's surprise, Gregg took the idea and ran with it. Literally, I think he may have run out of the room and come back with a list on a napkin five minutes later. What was on it?

The TEAM ROOM (Gregg loves coming up with new catch phrases)

Mandatory criteria for running a team room . . .

Want to find out more about what was on it? Come back soon… I'd like to see him try to get out of this one!

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