I have been reading “Practices of an Agile Developer” by Venkat Subramaniam over a few lunches. At 200 or so pages, it is a quick read (I am 2/3 through).
The problem? I have not been learning anything new.
But is that really a problem? The book is excellent, pragmatic, and full of good tips and ways to gauge yourself. In other words, I strongly recommended it!
I was blessed with a team that really tried to incorporate a lot of agile practices. I incorporated a lot of their suggestions into how I ran the team (back when I was in management), and as much as I could into the overall Engineering Process I was leading for the company. Later at another company, I studied Scrum only to discover that I already doing 90% of its methodology.
Why? Because I had been doing what works, and Agile is really about doing what works (as opposed to what should work in theory).
My belief is that when you are leading an Agile team and agile methodology, the emotional intelligence of the manager is a key factor. Agile is really about the kind of relationship that exists between you and the team, and between team members. It takes a certain kind of sensitivity.
Within the overall team (including the manager), the other key factor is trust. It takes on a “everyone has everyone else’s back” mentality. The manager has the responsibility to foster this kind of environment (incentives and soft skills play a major factor here). The team members have a responsibility to act as team players, which is where humility, sharing, integrity and trust really come into play.
I am reading this book to help me continue to work as effectively as I can as a developer. Once I finish the book, I will blog about the points that I felt really stood out for me.