Will Agile for Food

Will Agile for food

By close of business yesterday, we lost 10 people. No, we didn’t lose 10 resources. We lost people.  They came to work every day, doing their jobs, thinking they provided some kind of value to the organization.  Unfortunately, some saw the costs outweighing the benefits.  The positions have been eliminated.  I get it.  Business is business.  Times have been tough, even for the Federal Government.  Everyone has to tighten their belts.  Even with the Reduction In Force (RIF), we’re still dealing with a very probable government shutdown in a week.  Will Agile for food

I’m in a weird situation here.  This is the first time I’ve been the one who survived the first round of a RIF.  Some 20 years ago, I worked for McDonell Douglas.  In one day, over 10,000 of us got RIF’d (lost our jobs). At that time, the organization didn’t care who you were.  The longer you had been with them, the longer you lasted in a layoff.  It actually made me quite angry.  The union members who had been there the longest, who did the least amount of work, got to keep their jobs.  The newer employees were the first to go (LIFO).

I think I understand the government’s approach to this first round.  The “positions” eliminated were too specialized or too generalized.  Either the person only took notes in meetings or only dealt with risks, only dealt with EVM or only wanted to work part time.

Though I’m the only one here who has any background with Agile, perhaps that was to my benefit.  I think I’m still here because I made it my business to know as much as possible about what was going on, on a Program level.  I stepped up at every turn to see if I could help with something, regardless if it was my specialty.  I could wear a Product Owner hat if asked or switch hats between a ScrumMaster and a Project Manager.

But, I can’t help but feel that my time here is coming to an end.  In one day, the culture has changed.  In one day I went from servant-leader to job counselor.

If the right opportunity comes along, where I can help people deliver more value or increase Agile adoption, I will certainly consider it.

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How We Can Make Agile Work

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bustedI just read a really good post at PM Hut titled Agile Myths DebunkedSanjeev Singh listed 12 reasons people say Agile won’t work on their projects and how they are misinformed.  His list included:
Indiscipline, lack of planning, no documentation, no QA involvement, not for fixed bid projects… and the list goes on.

From my experience, organizations commonly get caught up in their project management processes.  I think they fail to realize, when saying they can not use Agile, the goal is to deliver value to the customer. As professionals, we should focus more on how it can work and less on why it can not.  I do believe Sanjeev’s listed myths are the primary reasons Agile isn’t more broadly adopted in some markets.  I’ve sat in meetings and heard those same myths listed as though being read directly from his blog post. Only by educating clients and debunking these myths will we see more adoption.  I’m not saying Agile will work in every circumstance for every project.  What I am saying is you should never discount something unless you’ve at least tried.  Do your research and see where you can make it work.

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