When we first started creating tinyPM, we wanted to build a tool that will help us do some often repeated things, that will help us structure our actions and make it all visible to our clients. We did not create any user’s guide. We assumed that everyone that will start using tinyPM will find elements familiar to agile environment and the only thing we need to do is to make them easy to use.
We assumed that a user of agile tool will know what to do with it. But the time passed and agile way of working got into mainstream. Now we often get questions “Where is the user’s guide?” or “I signed up, followed the first steps, but what do I do next?”. Finally “We want to start working agile way and a friend told me to take a look at your tool”. This one actually made me think about this post.
So many people want to be agile these days. That’s great as agility offers great ideas, but the first steps those people take go down to finding a tool that will… Hmm… I think “that will guide them” is what they actually are looking for. If you are such person or if you ever be asked to recommend a tool, please, first think about:
If you think about Agile, I’ll give a short recipe or checklist that I would like you to follow.
STEP 0 – Agile Manifesto
This is an ancient paper once created to remind the values and principles that make us all want to be agile. READ IT! I really do mean it. Read the manifesto, but what is more important read the principles. We’ve done a terrible thing once and read only a few first pages of Winston Royce’s Waterfall paper not paying attention to the rest of the document. Please do read the “second page” of Agile Manifesto.
STEP 1 – Ask yourself some questions
- What will change after I become more agile? What change do you expect? How your situation will then differ from what you are dealing with right now?
- Why am I doing this? What is wrong right now? What areas do you expect to fix?
- If you could remove one of your current problems, which one would it be?
- Do you see some agile principles that you could follow to remove that single problem?
This will set your expectations. This will help you focus on the right things. Being agile is useless unless you have some expectations towards your current process.
STEP 2 – Experiment
Take the most painful problem and try to find agile solutions or at least try to find out what Agile methods are offering to solve that problem. But start with a problem and expected outcome. You will quickly find out that your first steps lead to a team’s room or to a chat by the coffe machine, not to a web sign-up form. That will come later, probably somewhere around STEP 20 :-)
If you don’t know what to do with an agile web tool, then you’ve probably tried to skip some steps. Unfortunately this will rather slow you down instead of making you more agile and we really want you to succeed!
Go talk with you team mates.