Beginning Agile Practices

Over the last couple of weeks I have started to embrace Agile practices on any new projects that we have coming up. I have found that being a sole developer, it is actually more difficult to follow agile.I don’t have anyone else to keep me inline and it takes a lot more discipline to make sure to do daily task checks and to ask myself what I am going to complete that day and what obstacles are standing in my way. Not that this is a bad thing, it will only make me more disciplined so if I ever do work with an agile team I will be ahead of the curve. A couple of things I have made note of after the first couple of weeks:

  1.  I do have a cork board setup with note cards. I have the columns of “Planned, In Progress, Review, Complete, Blocked”. The cork board only tracks the current iteration and is a visual tool for myself and anyone else involved in the project.
  2. I am using an online agile management tool called Acunote. This tool is very useful because it generates the burndown and backlog charts for me and has a really easy to use UI. I tried a couple of other tools but you had to input WAY too much information in order to input tasks and became cumbersome. A very neat tool that I did review was ThoughtWorks Mingle, at the time though it was still in beta.
  3. I found that once I started to use Agile methodologies, it seems like everyone else just fell in line. Once I explained how to iterations worked and backlog everyone realized that since the software was released in shorter cycles that they could see immediate results and forced them to think more about what is more vital and what they don’t necessarily need right away.

In general,  Agile seems to work very well for me. I do want to purchase some more agile books. I have only read one up to this point in time and need to read another one to take the process further. I feel like I am only starting to scratch the surface in what agile can do. Cheers!