I worked at a company that promised agile, but decided not to deliver. They asked me to change. To adopt a different, better world. They couldn't describe the ecosystem to me. They just had a couple practices. They couldn't enumerate the values or the principles. They wanted me to adopt new practices even though they couldn't tell me how these practices support the human behind the coder. Even though they wouldn't discuss how it optimizes the entire flow of delivery of features.
I said, "I'm game." I am open to change. I was there when our industry took those early tentative steps towards Agile. But adoption requires discussion to achieve clarity. Like any change in habit, it requires regular touch points and constant feedback. You have to describe this new world, clearly. Tell me what it looks like. Tell me how it is better.
They were asking for a massive change in me. They were asking for massive change, after removing my support system. The principles and practices of agile are there to help us embrace change. It's part of the DNA. Pair programming, shared ownership, group iteration meetings, and more, provided the feedback and courage I leaned on to embrace change.
To create and encourage change, I believe I need 5 things (1,2): awareness, desire, knowledge, ability, and reinforcement. I felt that their request was missing most of these.
They described a world with continuous delivery. Each developer would deploy their feature as they complete it. That sounded good to me. There are so many good habits that are encouraged by this. It encourages the developers to build the ecosystem that enables it. We would need real-time QA. And notifications to tell us when production wasn't working like we expect. Unfortunately, it is difficult and risky to do this without that supporting infrastructure. And we didn't have that yet. And we weren't given room to build it.
But they still touted continuous delivery.
So, I am asked to do it, but I know that we can not do it reliably, so I balk (unconsciously?). I postpone. I work on things I can change. I let something else became more important. I don't see a way forward and we have not been openly discussing the way forward. I feel that I have been either ignored or shut down, when attempting to discuss this in particular. I see the results of similar behavior throughout our team. It is highly possible that the reasons are different, but the result is the same.
Change is hard. You have to make it easy for us or we fall back into our comfort zone. All too quickly.
It's clear to me that we have to grease the wheels of change. Remove any roadblocks. We need practices that support and encourage change. We have to make change embarasingly easy.