Tuesday, April 17, 2012

On bumping down stairs


Unsurprisingly, here at Thirsty Bear Software we have a certain affinity with our bruin brethren, not only in the wild, but also in literature. I have found that one particularly famous bear can teach us a lot about how we behave, how we can improve ourselves, and even about the way we develop software. I am, of course, talking about Pooh Bear, of Winnie-the-Pooh fame. But what can the Bear of Little Brain tell us about true agility? Are you sitting comfortably? Then let's take a stroll to Hundred Acre Wood....

“Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin. It is, as far as he knows, the only way of coming downstairs, but sometimes he feels that there really is another way, if only he could stop bumping for a moment and think of it. And then he feels that perhaps there isn't. 
Winnie-the-PoohA. A. Milne

This is the starting point for many teams, including some self-declared agile teams. They are working hard to produce quality software, but they seem to be bumping their head on each stair on the way.
Capture the requirements. <Bump!>
Write the code. <Bump!>
Test the code. <Bump!>
Build the system.<Bump!>
Commission the environments. <Bump!>
Deploy the system. <Bump!>

Everyone is left thinking that there must be a better way. If...Only...We...Could...Just...Stop...For...Long...Enough...

Yet this is often the unwitting first step to behaving with agility. Awareness. It is that thought telling you that there is a better way of doing what you do if only you could just stop long enough to take a closer look. Without awareness, you remain blissfully unaware that there is even a problem. To improve how you work you need to recognise and actively seize this fleeting realisation, allowing yourself the chance to take a cold, hard look at what is causing the problem. Once assessed, you can plan actions to improve the situation, even if it is initially simply padding each stair on the way down the stairs so that you can think more easily next time....

Awareness. Assessment. Action. Think it over. Think it under....

Thanks, Pooh.

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