Soon, I will be leaving my workplace for the past 3.5+ years, and that has got me to do some retrospective. One thing I’ve been reflecting on is how good programmers seem to move towards better programming/working habits that are shown to them and how easy it can be sometimes to make a difference.
On August, I moved to a new team. At the time, the team consisted of 3 developers (including myself) and a team leader. Both other developers have joined the project about a year earlier than me, and have been working in the workplace about 2 years more. They are really talented folks, and I’ve learned quite a bit working with them. But when I joined the team, it was in a bit off a “stop”. The team didn’t have that feeling of self-propelling inertia.
I knew that they used to do scrum in order to manage tasks and work, but that had stopped for some reason, and in my first weeks there I noticed how task management was at fault – sending emails to one-another, with things getting lost between mail-clients and no real way to tell where we are currently standing.
After about 3 weeks in the team I showed the guys a few links of agile teams and their cool whiteboards, filled with tasks and burndown charts. They immediately liked it and said that “it does look cool”. A few days later I brought some stacks of post-it notes and we spent an hour deciding how to partition the board and a simple convention for the post-it notes and actually drawing it on a board with permanent markers. We used an ugly picture-frame (with the picture inside flipped, so the white side was facing the glass) to draw a burndown chart on.
It was an immediate success – every time someone walked in we all enjoyed explaining how the board works. Moving a task to done was usually followed by a bit of celebration and everyone could see what was going on easily. Now, 7 months later, we plan our sprints, have daily scrums and continue to get better at planning and being more agile.
What I’m trying to say is, I guess, that sometimes all it takes is just a little push in the right direction to start something good going on. It may take some balls or reading some Dale Carnegie, but it’s worth it!