Monday, January 06, 2014

Trying New Things

Over the past weekend I went ice climbing with my son. He is a pretty serious climber and I've picked it up because of him, but neither of us have ever ice climbed before. We went to a place near Cedar Falls Iowa that ices down a grain silo. It's really different from the sport climbing we've done, but it was fun and by the end of the climbing day, I was able to make it to the top of the silo.

How often are we open to trying something new? In my work environment, we follow an agile process based on Scrum. We do 2-3 week iterations, with planning sessions at the start of each iteration and demonstrations and retrospectives at the end…but sometimes you have to try something new.

I had a project a few years ago where the work wasn't as predictable. My team couldn't come up with estimates because they hadn't done anything like the work that faced us, so I decided to throw out the iterations and use Kanban. In this case, trying something new paid off. The Kanban approach worked well, we were able to get the work done and everyone learned from it, especially myself. When I was faced with a troubled project a few months later, I knew Kanban would address the challenges and get the project back on track. 

So don't be afraid to try something new. It could be as simple as changing the questions you ask in your daily stand up, or as complex as trying a different methodology. If the approach you're taking doesn't seem to be getting the results you want, inspect, adapt, and move on.