I worked with a client once who “really wanted” to start trying agile practices; however, the manager kept delaying training until the licenses and software for the TFS scrum templates add-on had been acquired and installed. Despite my protests, it was three months before we could start the pilot project – which only lasted two months!
Agile practices don’t expect you to start from a “perfect” position, or to follow a prescribed path. That’s kind of the point of the agile framework – it’s designed to work with multiple organizations, with a variety of cultures, experiences, issues, products … I hope you get the point. How can we pretend to identify the best starting point with all those variables? Unless we say that the best starting point is where you are now?
How many of us delay activities at home or work because the time is not yet perfect? We think we’ll need forty minutes to clean the junk drawer, and we only have twenty, so why start? We can’t create all the folders for our finances for 2013 yet, because we’re not sure if we’ll need one for the savings account we think we may close.
Here’s where Nike and agilists agree – JUST DO IT. It may not be perfect, but it won’t get done if you don’t start. You may need to make some revisions on a system because you forget the credit union account that only sends quarterly statements, but it’s okay to add that folder later – even without matching labels.
You know, there’s even a process in the agile framework to allow for this need to modify on the way – Agile Principle 12 calls for frequent reflection, with the ability to tune and adjust behavior to be more effective.
What are you waiting to start (or modify) until later? Will you really benefit by waiting? Or can you Just Do It?