When you start working on agile projects you realize the most difficult part of the job is to convince people. You are basically swimming against the tide on a daily basis. Exhausting. But if you don’t have the right answers to their questions it makes things even worse. So let’s try to build ourselves the right discours.
Agility is a part of our everyday life
A lot of things around us are what we could call “Agile”. The foundation of agility is empiricism. You try something you get a feedback and then you adapt to the situation. You simply use the feedback to progress in the right direction. That’s it.
The Hotel Shower
For example when you arrive in an hotel room for the first time and you want to take a shower. You don’t know at this time what will be the temperature of the water coming outside the pipe depending on how you have adjusted the faucet. So you try and you measure the temperature with your skin then you adjust again until you find the right one. This is empiricism !
Now let’s look at the same situation from a different angle. This time in a sequential (waterfall) way of doing things. First you need a faucet that delivers an average temperature of 38 degrees Celsius. You go and ask someone to build one. You install it and then you open it and you realize it is way to hot for you. Back to square one, unmount it, back to your vendor and ask him to change it to deliver water at the temperature of 36 degrees Celsius.
I will let you imagine the time and energy spent across the entire process. Without mentioning the frustration. In this first simple use case it is clear that we need to adapt from what we measure and we need to do it as fast as possible to avoid accidents.
The Traffic Jam
Another example this time with traffic in big cities. Today a lot of roads are jammed with thousands of cars coming in during the rush hours. Now let’s imagine for a second that all the cars and motorcycles would be trucks instead. See how it could turn to be a nightmare ? And now let’s say they are all motorcycles. How much smoother the traffic would be?
In Paris we have a lot of traffic jams during the rush hours and during those hours you can see hundreds of two wheels. This is because most of us realized that it was much faster to go between the lanes with smaller vehicles. Again a simple inspect and adapt process that we applied to our every day lives.
So now, just pick a story your client can identify himself in and tell him how much better it could be to change the way his products are delivered. And again keep this in mind : start small.