Tuesday, 11 June 2013

What do I want? Everything to change! When do I want it? Yesterday!



 

It has been said have very little patience, which is mostly accurate. I think I can be both extremely patient and massively impatient across different issues of different magnitudes at different times.

That said I like to think I have gained a more considered perspective in the last year or so, particularly in relation to the issue of organisational change. During that process, I have noticed a trend in some of my interactions with others. 

Change, and the demand for it, is being used as a weapon. ‘If things don’t change around here then I’ll be on my way’ and ‘things would never change, so I gave up and left' are statements I’ve heard.

Even in my variably patient/impatient state my recent experiences have taught me that change is an ebb and flow process. The rate of change can be easy and fluid, or hard and unyielding, but never, ever, linear.

This rate of change versus the amount of patience is never more prevalent than when an organisation is in the process of agile transformation. Across various organisational levels, from directors to developers, patience is a rare commodity.


I believe the source of this trend of impatience is the innate human inability to see the bigger picture over longer periods of time. We simply struggle to see beyond our immediate situation, and the pain of change is often underestimated.


For example I have consulted on agile transformations in recent years, where my own and others frustration with progress grew over time. However when I look back I realised that the organisation had come from a state of:

  • Multiple projects in progress for each team, most of which never finished.
  • Uneven team skill sets; some with no test, analysis or deployment focused individuals at all.
  • No test automation or continuous integration/delivery.
  • Long, drawn out projects, which sapped morale and encouraged attrition.

To, in a relatively short space of time:
  • Each team worked on one project until it was done.
  • Each team had a blended skill set.
  • Almost every team had continuous integration and delivery integrated into their processes.
  • Testing individuals had 3 or 4 tools in their locker for testing at DB, Service and UI levels, plus an appreciation of the subtler arts of exploratory and context driven testing.

There were still issues to be resolved, but I know which the more desirable state for a working environment is. 

In short, when it comes to change, I find that many cannot see the wood for the trees. Next time you get frustrated, remember where you began and try look at the bigger picture.

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