Making Time for Agile Transformation

Today I’m planning on painting the living room so I figured I’d get a few things done early in the morning.  I still have a bad habit of checking my email first thing in the morning and at the top of my inbox was my personal coach’s Monday morning message.

It’s a short post, feel free to check it out but don’t forget to come right back!

It’s 8:18am, I can hear the cyclone of activity as my kids are getting ready to leave for school in 10 minutes.  As usual, my wife is flustered, my daughter is singing My Little Pony songs right behind my office chair and my son is drawing pictures of skyscrapers.

The clock is ticking to leave and I can feel the stress in my shoulders and neck as my wife is doing the last minute lunch bag and backpack check while belting out “c’mon kids, time to get ready to go!!!

After I read Cynthia’s post I realized I was doing 4 things at the same time and rushing through all of them just to “get them done” so I could get ready to start painting.  All of a sudden a certain calmness fell over me as the words of Cynthia’s post made their way through my neural network.

So I stopped writing this and focused on what matters.    I’m sure you’ve guessed what that was.

By the time I finish writing this sentence, 278,000 more tweets will have flooded twitter.  47,000 apps will have been downloaded from Apple’s app store and over 2 millions searches will have been run on Google.

Today’s organizations are moving at lightening speeds in an attempt to crank out solutions (software or what-have-you) faster than their competitors at a lower cost with higher quality.  Many of those organizations are looking to Agile Transformation to help them solve that problem but, from my experience, few are taking the time to understand how to use Agile to do that. Perhaps more importantly, few are taking the time to practice in the name of busyness and getting stuff done.

There are likely hundreds of thousands of posts about Agile Transformation that are offering advice, approaches and techniques for being successful with Agile practices.

Any of those approaches can work for you if you are able to do one simple thing:

Make Time.

Perhaps you wanted a more concrete answer, something that will help you make time for your Agile Transformation.    I could spout off Kotter’s “create urgency” or “do more with less” or “limit your work in progress” or “try Google’s 20% time” or “focus on important work over urgent work” or other feel-good statements that are popular today.  There are plenty of tricks for making time.

None of them will work unless you make time.

None of them will work if your managers and executives freak out about every production problem you have.

The Agile community says there is no silver bullet when it comes to Agile.

I disagree.

The silver bullet is time.

Learning Agile practices is no different than learning any other skill whether it be playing the piano or snowboarding.  They take time and practice and that won’t happen if you’re constantly in a rush to do things better, faster and cheaper.

The kids are at school now and I’m ready to paint.  My wife is still freaking out because she forgot about a meetup she signed up for so she’s running around getting ready and thinking, quite loudly (darn extroverts!), about how to cram in all the other things she was planning to do today, where her business cards are, why the cat is laying in the sun, why the shutters of my office are open, why my son left his shorts on the stairs, where are my keys???...

I’m calmly trying to figure out how to stop rambling so I’ll close with Cynthia’s final quote of her post:

People travel at their own speed and on their own path. Hurrying doesn’t help the journey, it restricts the view.