agile-manifesto
At the core of the Greater Sum software apprenticeship program is exposure to ideas and techniques that accelerate learning, and therefore accelerate careers.

The Manifesto for Agile Software Development, or the Agile Manifesto, is one of the key documents in the history of software development.  Here are the reflections of our current apprentices on what it means to them and their careers.

 

 


I have to fight my natural tendency to want to build an SOP or embrace a process.

Matthew Knowles

The “Agile Manifesto” is a document that I have consistently revisited many times over the last couple of years, usually when working through issues brought up during retrospectives.  We had a poster on the wall empowering anyone on the team to reference the values and principles we should be trying to follow and to try and avoid solutions that did not align with the Agile Manifesto.  I don’t know if the manifesto is arranged in order of importance from top to bottom but I have fully embraced the values from bottom to top.  I have always been someone that likes to plan rough paths ahead of time (travel, college degree, etc…) but always leave flexibility to adapt as new information surfaces.  This is in contrast to the first value (individuals over process) where I have to fight my natural tendency to want to build an SOP or embrace a process.  I am getting better but every once in awhile team members will still have to remind me to value “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.”

-Matthew Knowles   


The end goal is to provide the customer with what they need, not what they thought they needed at the beginning or what was unclearly agreed upon.

Wes Duncan

The agile manifesto helped me realize the need for constant communication with the customer. It highlighted the idea of working with, rather than for, the customer. Having worked in a non collaborative field for a while, I still have to fight the inclination sometimes to take an idea and work on it on my own without looking back to see if it’s still the idea or if my interpretation of the idea is even correct. The end goal is to provide the customer with what they need, not what they thought they needed at the beginning or what was unclearly agreed upon. By providing working software often and collaborating with the customer about it you can easily respond to the changes that arise.

-Wes Duncan  


I really appreciate how the authors of the Agile Manifesto start off their statement by saying that they are uncovering better ways of developing software.

Peter Flanagan

I really appreciate how the authors of the Agile Manifesto start off their statement by saying that they are uncovering better ways of developing software. Not that they have learned the best way or that there even is a best way, but that they are uncovering better ways.  It is a process and the points of the manifesto help expose and develop better ways of doing software development.  I also appreciate the fact that they identify the things to which they give the highest value, but even in doing so they acknowledge and give value to the items on the other side of the equation.  Individuals and interactions are more valuable than processes and tools.  Processes and tools are still of high value, but individuals and interactions with them are of higher value.

-Peter Flanagan   


I need to find that balance between making it work, and making it work optimally.

Adam Hilliard

The Agile Principle I found especially interesting was “Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.”  This seems to be a very common refrain in agile world.  For me, it’s a valuable idea to keep at the top of my mind for whatever project I am working on.  In the past I have had issues with over engineering and being a perfectionist when the problem had really already been solved.  When I started my marketing company, my business partner was very much the opposite of me.  He just wanted something that worked as soon as possible.  I think this created a good balance, since we were both at opposite ends of that spectrum.  Now that I am back to focusing on my own projects and development, I need to find that balance between making it work, and making it work optimally.  The forced schedule of having to deliver new functioning features at specific intervals is a great way to balance out my desire for trying to make things ‘perfect’.

-Adam Hilliard  


[T]he team needs to be allowed to self-organize, maintain a constant pace, and continually improve.

Mark Lamson

On reflecting over the Agile Manifesto it is clear that there is a lot packed into such a short read.  It places a premium on people and relationships.  For the Agile process to succeed the team needs to be allowed to self-organize, maintain a constant pace, and continually improve.  This then needs to be translated into simplicity, good design, and ultimately working software that satisfies the customer.  All this requires people to work together on a daily basis and preferable face-to-face.  Over the last year and a half as I continue my career transition it has become more and more apparent to me that software craftsmanship like life is predominantly about people and relationships.  

-Mark Lamson  


[I]t is easy to forget how important this communication is.

Chelsea Green

One of the main points that stuck with me is that people must work together and communicate effectively to produce the best work the most efficiently. For example, business people and developers should work together daily, and speak face to face. I can personally recall miscommunications have happened in the workplace because of lack of actually meeting with members of the team and communicating face to face on a regular basis. I think it is easy to forget how important this communication is, as everyone is busy and has a lot of their own tasks to do. However, clearly if everyone takes a little bit of time to meet and communicate their ideas and requirements regularly, the quality of work will go up, less mistakes and misunderstandings will be happen, and there will be more success all around.

Additionally, I really like how explicitly the idea of change is outlined here. Change should be planned for ahead of time and made easy to implement.

-Chelsea Green  

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