Born to Cycle? An Agile Approach to Working

Posted in Conferences, Project Management on June 08, 2009

Born to Cycle? An Agile Approach to Working


Agile development is not about doing a set of practices, it's about a way of "being," it's about learning. How is this learning accomplished?

We know that small increments that produce visible, usable progress toward a goal is a way for teams to work successfully in a chaotic environment. Does it work well because the individuals on the team are hardwired to work in cycles?

During this talk, we will examine what some have found in small experiments in their own lives and what this means for improving our own personal productivity and agility. In the "Fearless Change" patterns, we say that a useful metaphor is a journey. We recommend that you keep with you in your carry-on bag the following patterns: Test the Waters, Time for Reflection, Small Successes, and Step-by-Step.

The most important of these (although they are all important, and work together) is Time for Reflection. Without making space in our day for thinking about what is working well, what should be done differently, and what still puzzles us, we find our learning grinds to a halt, that not only do problems ***not*** get solved, but that we keep making the same mistakes over and over again.

By taking brief pauses after small experiments, even large problems can be solved. In a recent "Harvard Business Review" interview of Toyota's president, Katsuaki Watanabe, he observed, "...when 70 years of very small improvements accumulate, they become a revolution." That's agile! 

Linda Rising has a Ph.D. from Arizona State University in the field of object-based design metrics and a background that includes university teaching and industry work. Linda is an internationally known presenter on topics related to patterns, retrospectives, agile development approaches, and the change process. Find more information about Linda at

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Tags: Practices, Conferences, Agile, InfoQ, QCon, QCon London 2008, Iteration, Agile Techniques