In addition, an organization should have their own in-house experts and advocates to teach proper agile practices. A way to do this is to start with a pilot team, and once you have found success with that team, break it up and build new teams around those initial people, according to QASymphony’s Dunne.
What your mom has to do with agile
When Caleb Brown, agile coach at CollabNet, attended the Agile2015 conference in Washington, D.C., he had a unique “plus-one” he brought with him to teach the attendees about being agile: his mom. Having been in the field for over five years, he couldn’t quite understand why agile just wasn’t common sense to some people. It wasn’t until a conversation he had with his mom that he had an apperception: “Creating a new idea out of a series of old ideas and old experiences and old things you understand.”
Brown’s mom had just finished writing a book on spinning yarn, and when he asked her how she wrote it, he realized his family had been practicing tenets of agile his whole life.
“She said, ‘Well I know I have productive time from 4 a.m. to 1 p.m., where no one interrupts me, so I make sure that is my work time, and I put together ordered lists of all the things I have to do, and I set goals along the way, and I have to actually make those goals.’ And I am sitting here going, ‘You are basically describing Scrum,’ and that is where it clicked for me,” said Brown.
The reason agile isn’t common sense to everyone is because it isn’t always in his or her DNA, according to Brown. “My whole life I have been training to do this. My whole life I have been learning to do these things,” he said. “I realized the reason these things are common sense for me was because my mom, my dad, my family, her dad, my grandpa actually have been doing things in a very agile fashion for generations. What we learned as common sense isn’t something everybody learns.”
Being able to have that apperception can actually help agile trainers and coaches because you can understand why some people can’t grasp the concept and help them to better understand, according to Brown.
“If you can understand the life experiences of people and actually go back a little bit in their life and start to tie lessons they learned outside of software to software, you can better help them understand what is going on,” he said.