Agile steps to improve the status quo

Meeting real deadlines is a hard and stressful job. It’s a job that typically eats all resources available, because when we know exactly what the best way is, we want to go full steam ahead. After all, we want to utilize our full productivity. Except that we typically do not know the best way. We know a way and we get comfortable with it.

While the status quo can be comfortable, it is certainly not perfect. There always is something to improve. However, when entrenched in a routine we typically have no clue of what that something is and how to improve it.

How can we find that something and how can we improve it?

In this talk, I draw a number of lessons learnt during seven years spent in the research world. It turns out that the steps to take are not dependent on the domain:

  • Always challenge the status quo, even when it appears perfect.
  • Identify the wrong assumptions, especially when they are obvious.
  • Design your approach, don’t just settle for half-baked solutions.
  • Demo your ideas, even when they seem hard to implement.
  • Listen, even when you do not agree.
  • Enable new things to happen.

Why should we care about this? Because it affects everything we do, including the design of our software system, understanding our clients’ requirements, or managing our team. And because the solution is simpler and cheaper than we might think.