Agile · Communication · Product management

Introducing Agility

With a few weeks of being sick and busy, traveling and celebrating, and wrapping up my last blog arc, it has taken me awhile to settle on the next set of topics I want to write about here. The way my mind works, I’m not as good at random musings as I am at more focused discussions, and so I’ve been trying to come up with the next direction for this blog. That might sound easy but in truth it’s not that simple.

So here’s what I’ve come up with. Probably someone else who writes and thinks about Agile software development has used this term already, but I want to focus the next set of blog postings on what I will call Agility – the practical application of Agile software development methodology in the place where I work. This will mean a mix of big picture discussions (about the Agile Manifesto and Agile Principles) and small scale reflections on specific choices I am making as a product owner on a development team.

I’ll also be talking more directly about things I am reading and learning from other bloggers and thinkers out there. There are a lot of people I’ve connected with (through reading their blogs or newsletters as well as on Twitter) who have some great thoughts to share about Agile software development and the whole process of product management. I’ll try to point out some of the better things that I come across and would also be glad to hear about other sites and writers that any of you reading this want to share.

I also learn a lot both from my colleagues and from my mistakes. I’ll be celebrating the former and sharing what I’m learning from the latter. One of my favorite things about the iterative nature of Agile is that it encourages reflection and learning and so even my stumbles can offer an opportunity to improve.

Speaking of which, I expect that I will also intersperse a few reflections on how an Agile approach makes sense even beyond software or product development. Many of these principles are useful for orienting your life and not just for creating great products.

If this is what I’m going to write about, you might ask why you should bother reading it. Certainly I hope you’ll find these posts occasionally amusing and even insightful, but it’s worth saying something briefly about who I am and what perspective I’ll be writing from. I have spent the last twelve years working in software and product development in various capacities. Coming from an entirely different background in my first career, I started working in product support for a financial software company that used the traditional ‘waterfall’ method of software development. While at that firm I shifted to being first a business analyst and then a product owner and implementation consultant. When I left that company I worked for another year and a half consulting on software products at a company using a mix of development methodologies before moving to my current firm. Shortly after I started, the company began adopting (and adapting) Agile. I’ve been a product owner for several different products in my years here and a strong proponent of the Agile approach. My experience with different methodologies, my appreciation for the strengths of Agile, and my passion for helping people think intentionally about what they are doing all inform the observations and insights I will bring to this next set of blog postings. Hopefully this helps you know why you might want to read and respond.

This next blog arc isn’t a simple ‘top ten’ or a reflection on how one of my favorite movies informs my work as a product owner, and so it’s harder to predict how long this next set of entries will last before I shift topics again. I am happy for feedback on what I’m writing here so please let me know if you have any. Hopefully something that I write about here will be useful for you and if so please let me know. I’d like to think that all of us sharing what we’re doing with Agile can have some direct benefit for our industry or even our lives, but I know that in truth it’s not that simple.


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