Thursday, November 19, 2009

Agile...and the pursuit of happiness!



- adjective

1. quick and well-coordinated in movement.

2. active; lively: an agile person.

3. marked by an ability to think quickly; mentally acute or aware.


- noun

1. the quality or state of being happy.

2. good fortune; pleasure; contentment; joy.

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It is said that if you love what you do for a living, you don't really work - you enjoy. If you enjoy your work, more than likely it is fulfilling, productive, efficient, makes you 'happy'.

I have a love for technology, particularly software and the many wonderful things that it helps me accomplish. I enjoy exploring software, learning the ins-and-outs of what it does, how it does it, and how it enriches and simplifies, not only my life, but that of others, many others.

I am a Quality Assurance engineer.

But loving technology, or software, or being particularly interested in opening it up, looking at the moving parts and figuring out how to break it can become a tedious task, particularly when this becomes heavily regimented or directed. Or when time is limited (and time is ALWAYS limited). Or when, in the interest of fulfilling a hard, unyielding deadline, the task consumes time else spent in the pursuit of other activities that also (and perhaps more importantly) bring one joy and fulfillment - life, family.

I began my journey in software engineering eleven years ago as a tester, and perhaps more due to my gregarious nature than my hardcore tech skills, have grown into roles of team leadership, management and (gulp!) even Director of QA. Given my penchant for new technologies, I am more of a generalist (a label that I carry with honor) and have played a part in delivering software in several, very distinct industry niches. But truth be said, for all the compelling work in which I have been engaged, something was missing - something that I was not aware of...

Then, an epiphany!

Agile came into my life over four years ago and transformed my perception of 'work': how to more effectively accomplish it in ways that were truly intuitive, adaptive to different environments, situations and deadlines, and that fostered trust and cohesion with the people involved in it. I did not have any specific 'training' at first (that would come later, after growing organically into the role); my conversion occurred overnight because if felt so...natural. I have since much more enjoyed my role as an active member of my teams testing code, organizing work and activities, and enabling other team members to better accomplish their jobs. And Agile has provided me with an increased level of happiness and satisfaction.

I am a Scrum Master.

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There are many excellent sources from where to learn Agile practices, and I will often link and refer to these. There are also many very proficient Agile professionals, and I will also mention them often. Above all, I will be sharing the many things that Agile does to promote productivity, efficiency, satisfaction - happiness.