The existential joys of agile practice: angel on your shoulder

At Agile NYC I presented a pecha kucha. 20 slides. 20 seconds per slide. This is the fourth and final part.

Angel on your shoulder

play at your own riskAgile values call for honesty and trust. A shared ambition to do better and be better while causing each other less unnecessary pain.

I try to remember this in one on ones, retrospectives, coaching and in reflecting on my own decisions and actions.

The great thing about these values is that even as you strive towards them your co-workers will give you permission to demand more of them.

Just as they will demand more of you.

AngelThis demand gives you an angel on your shoulder. Watching you as you work. It inspires even as it shames you into substantial actions that go against your nature. And you do this because your team needs you to.

You invest in the hard daily work of adjusting your own bad habits one behavior at a time in the interests of the people you work with and the work you do together.

This isn’t easy. It’s mortifying. It’s scary.

TeamBut the reward is that you get to be the same person with your boss that you are with your peers that you are with your staff.

The reward is that you get to work at your best with other people working at their best.

And you carry that potential with you as you move on to other projects and other teams.

Building blocksUltimately, I want more than success on a project or in a particular job. I want a career.

I want to be proud of my accomplishments and I want to be proud of who I was as I attained them.

I want to spend my life loving what I do.

And I want to build things that are useful and delightful to people.

My pecha kucha topic was inspired by Samuel Florman’s book, The Existential Pleasures of Engineering

The main goal has always been to understand the stuff of the universe, to consider problems based on human solution, and to follow through to a finished product.

Existential delight has been the reward every step of the way…

— Samuel C. Florman

The existential joys of agile practice

  1. A family tradition of care and craft
  2. I want to live in our imperfect reality
  3. People over process
  4. Angel on your shoulder
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About Ken Judy

I am an executive manager, software developer, father and husband trying to do more good than harm. I am an agile practitioner. I say this fully aware I say nothing. Sold as a tool to solve problems, agile is more a set of principles that encourage us to confront problems. Broad adoption of the jargon has not resulted in wide embrace of these principles. I strive to create material and human good by respecting co-workers, telling truth to employers, improving my skills, and caring for the people affected by the software I help build.