Agile is like golf
I went to New York last week to visit friends and to visit one of the greatest cities in the world. Wonderful energy.
A fairly well-known joke line goes like this: How do you get to Carnegie Hall?
Answer: Practice, practice, practice.
This is one of my main points as I watch The Masters golf tournament today, comfortably in Greensboro, N.C. These golfers have been playing under tremendous pressure and under very difficult conditions for four days. In a world full of duffer golfers, these are the masters of the Masters.
And yet in Agile, it seems so many expect to be masters at Agile in two iterations, or two months or two years.
In golf, one must practice putting, practice the short game (chipping), one must practice sand shots, and irons, and fairway woods and one must practice tee shots. I particularly like Rule 13 (in the Rules of golf): “The ball must be played as it lies.”
In Agile, you must practice getting value from released software, practice releasing faster, practice all the engineering disciplines in developing software, improve the TDD and continuous build processes, improve the Scrum practices (especially realizing the value from Retrospectives), improve the use of user stories and improve the definition of Business Value embedded in the user stories. Along with all this, practice communication within the team, improve the leadership and motivation of the team. While all the factors around the team are changing, the team must play it as it lies.
May your team reach the Masters. It is not impossible, if you practice.