Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Coding Club: Agility in practice

Yesterday I listened to a presentation about Agile Software methodology. I heard about it before, but wasn't interested back then as I only new bits about the protocol, but nothing about it's philosophy or goals.

The host of the event, Coding Club is a new initiative here in Szeged to nurture the talented programming students of the university - and maybe some older guys like me :-) They plan to organize a series of events to educate us in a variety of topics.

This very first time the lectuer was Anton Kovach, the CEO of Shiwaforce.com. His company has been using agile methodology for years very successfully with a mixture of SCRUM and KANBAN he called SCRUM-BAN, so he decided to share his experiences and life story with us.

I expected a possibly boring lecture but was pleasantly suprised and totally sold to the idea of agile software development by the end. I hope to participate in such an enviroment some day as the traditional approach which we tend to use at work has a lot of drawbacks.

The problem is, that the agile approach requires teamwork and absolute dedication of the participants in the first 2-3 months, which is extremely hard to achieve with typically egoist programmers. Anton's experinces confirm this too. He hired 2 consultants to help him, still he didn't seem to have fond memories of that time. He also confirmed that at the end the price was well worth paying as productivity multiplied and customer satisfaction reached never before seen levels.

I still need a lot of reading to do in this field, but as I understand now, agility is all about flexibility and order. The workflow is governed by very strict rules that in the begining seem to be unnecessary, and all these rules are aimed to make the development staff more flexible about the client and the product.

Also I find it very interesting that in the teams that this methodology requires there is no boss figure that we are all used to - and usually hate. I too had agressive, incompetent or too tame bosses too, and they always hurt either the company or the mood. It's hard to imagine, but agile teams have no bosses, only a judge figure that ensures that the rules are followed to the letter.

As I'm no expert in the field, I will not try to further explain the concept, you can read all about it on Wikipedia. All I have to say is that I'm convinced that it works and I wish to try it sometime in the future.