Gary Allison's Leadership Blog

Agile Software and Effective Software Projects and Leadership and Teams02 Dec 2010 01:28 pm

Smell the Agile Roses

On my day off today, I find myself contemplating how little time there is to smell the roses (and write blog posts).  We have so tuned our processes that really there is no downtime.  It turns out that when you add Agile development processes to delivering software as a service (SaaS), what you achieve is a relentless pace of innovation.  That’s good right?

Well, it does have a few consequences that are important to manage.  First is that there is never time to go back and finish that unit test, test automation, or UI tweak you really wanted to do last sprint.  You need to be complete and ready to move on to the next project.  We’ve been working on ways to improve here which will be part of a follow up post (really it will).

This post is about another consequence – we deliver innovation so quickly while also working on the way we deliver that it is easy to lose sight of how far we come.  As I overheard on a flight yesterday, “the days are long and the years are short”.  So true.

To combat this in my team, we try to be as rigorous about our celebrations as we are about our delivery.  We deliver somewhere around 10 times a year (even more with minor updates) and this will only grow as our product line continues to expand.  Still there are certain deliveries that stand out as larger accomplishments and 3 times a year as a team we will take a day and celebrate.

Often these celebrations include a team engineering event – we’ve built tinker toy towers, water balloon launchers, and aqueducts.  We’ve played kickball, laser tag, and cruised the lake on a party barge.  Once a year in Dec/Jan, we will take stock and as a team, share what we feel are our largest accomplishments as we also layout how we want to raise the bar for the next year.

It can be exhausting at times to be a part of the relentless pace of Agile delivery, and at those times when the release is rolled out to clients, maybe the last thing you want to do is plan a celebration. But every time we have one of these events, I am reminded what great people we have on our team and how much they deserve (and need) these times together.

One Response to “Smelling the roses at 80 mph”


  1. […] a prior post, I wrote about the relentless pace at which our Agile development moves, especially as it is teamed […]

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