The Stance of Readiness for Change

I think this whole “Welcome changing requirements, even late in development” thing is a lot more challenging that I had first anticipated. It was a long week, and perhaps not my best. I pushed myself hard at work and at home. Probably too hard. Soon I discovered that much to my chagrin, it is really difficult to be receptive to changing requirements when you are exhausted. Where is the principle in the manifesto that covers sustainable pace? Oh nuts…that one doesn’t come until week eight! I’m never going to last that long!

Well, while I reconsider the wisdom of this little exercise, I wanted to share one more observation: All this thinking and writing about the manifesto has me writing software again. I guess if you talk about it long enough it’s bound to happen sooner or later. So now I have a small integration project that I’m doing for some folks at work. I gave a little demo and asked for some feedback. Guess what I got? That’s right: no requirements changes. I think those hosers are going to wait until the last minute to hit me with the changes! I suppose to some degree that is a natural consequence of the way software tends to evolve.

This all reminds me of Brian Marick’s excellent “Agile Stance” talk that he gave at XP2011. He compared agility to ballroom dancing. As he put it, we are all in a partnership with our customers as if we are engaged in a dance where each party may not know exactly what the next move is. This leads to a posture or stance of readiness. We stand on the balls of our feet, we notice the way our partner is leaning, we are looking for the signals that will indicate what the next move should be and thinking about how we react. I think it is a very “present” and alive way of being – and it’s where we need to be in order to be ready to respond to our customer’s changes late in the game.

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