Dirty Agile

I attended the Rally Agile Success Tour a few weeks ago. I didn’t know what to expect, but it turned out to be remarkably good. As I listened to the speakers talk about their experiences implementing Agile projects, I was reminded of just how tough this work is. I think that often, as leaders (project managers, scrum masters, coaches, dev leads, managers, etc.), we tend to harbor idealistic visions of what an Agile team looks like and how it performs. It reminds me of the “Retro-futurism” that I think Brian Marick refers to in his ARxTA presentation at AgileRoots 2009. We harbor these notions of a future where the team possesses the ideal tools, the ideal solutions, the ideal environment. There is certainly nothing wrong with all that. We need these goals. We need to have that expectation that Brian characterized with the question, “Where’s my jet pack?”

But the reality is anything but clean and ideal. There is no jet pack. The reality of working with teams is dirty and messy. We don’t have the ideal team, we don’t have the ideal requirements, we don’t have the ideal schedule. In fact, we never will. That’s OK though, it’s the imperfection that provides the team with the creative tension needed to make the job interesting.

Happy (Dirty) New Year!

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