Thursday 14 June 2012

Pain the Ultimate Motivator

Gil Zilberfeld asks Why Did Agile Originate In Software?
Answer: the pain!
The software development business has been suffering for quite some time. The Standish group has been reporting (int heir Chaos report) that about 2/3 of all software projects does not meet initial expectations (either the completely fail or overrun budget/time or both). And for the past decade or so those numbers have not changed drastically.
And frankly every person involved in the software industry is familiar with this pain. Developing software is a hard business.
And where is a pain there is a reason to change. That is the nature of evolution. Successful species do not change. If the methods and techniques that predated agile were good enough there was no reason for Agile to be invented (or is it discovered).

The First question

One of the first question we start with at a new organization is trying to understand the current issues. And we specifically ask the people involved what exactly are they trying to solve. We ask not because we cant tell. We ask to make sure that they are feeling the pain. In order for us to actually continue we need them to truly feel it.
“I just want to improve” is not good enough. In order for agile to take hold and really succeed. There must be a a big enough pain. Otherwise the people involved most likely will not have the necessary motivation to stick with an approach that in many cases seems weird and counter intuitive. In order to change we must feel a pain.

How come we’re lucky to be the first citizens in agile-land?

Since Pain is common place in our industry we had enough people motivated to try new things. Eventually, I think, that what made agile evolve. Not so lucky are we?

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