My Agile Valentine

My Agile Valentine: How Relationships and Development go Hand in Hand

Is there anything more beautifully nerve-racking than those excited butterflies that build up inside when we have our first kiss in a new relationship? Those undeniable goosebumps never really go away the more we grow closer to a partner, slowly tearing down walls and allowing them into our most protected of thoughts.

It seems like every Valentine’s Day, you can go to your local bistro and see tables filled to the brim with couples at every stage of their relationship. From the cute puppy dog-eyed couples in the corner shyly laughing at jokes they have yet to understand to the middle-aged married folks trying to rekindle the passion of earlier years to even the elderly couple at the bar sharing a toast having made it through so many challenges. It is like a kaleidoscope of emotional process development incredibly similar to agile methodology.

Where Relationships and Development Collide

Like Agile development, every relationship is unique, and maintaining that appreciation for one another takes work and adaptation. There is no written playbook of guaranteed success because each one of us has a special formula of likes, dislikes, and needs – just like clients, customers, and projects.

Of course, every team has a different approach to agile development. A couple from Italy may prefer something unique for their date night than a couple in Los Angeles, but that does not mean the foundational steps are not present.

When you start a new relationship, you spend a lot of time getting to know one another. What funny quarks make up this magical creature you want to spend more time with? What can you do to satisfy their needs? How do you maintain their attraction when there is so much competition on the market?

Sound any different from agile development? When we approach a new project, we spend a great deal of time understanding the unique needs and challenges of a client, so we can accomplish our end goal. Whether an MVP or enterprise solution, the end result is the same, customer satisfaction.

Those early dates turn into long nights and mornings waking up next to one another. Slowly, our minds begin to see a future together, and we start making plans in our heads of what life would look like if this was the new normal. We begin to design a life with this other person walking beside us and adjust our preconceived notions of what we have wanted to fit the needs of a new human being.

Reactive Communication

Development is impossible without clear communication. There has to be a base level of mutual trust as you move forward so that all issues, concerns, and challenges are met in a timely fashion. If you let ideas or concepts go unheard, they can foster and grow into resentment that could end a project or relationship.

This is the foundation of agile development. This flexibility to adjust to current trends and needs is essential to quality turnaround.

We cannot expect our clients or developers to read our minds for what we want out of a partnership. The same is true for our relationships. While it may be nice to have a partner who can anticipate our desires 100% of the time, the reality is we need to communicate a need or want. Otherwise, nothing will ever change, and we will be stuck with the result that may not meet our expectations.

Constant Collaboration

A healthy relationship is just like a quality agile development team. There must be a constant collaboration between everyone involved with the ability to adapt when things are not going as planned.

Every relationship needs to step back and take a bigger viewpoint of where things are going from time to time. Is this relationship leading to something more? Are all our needs being met? Can I finally get them to put down the freaking toilet seat?

Agile development is exactly the same. It thrives on the constant inputs of clients, team members, stakeholders, data, and customer desires. It is an ever-evolving mysterious concept elevated in the minds of the team as they move from challenge to challenge, constantly reacting to what is needed next.

The beauty part is if reliable communication and honest flexibility are introduced, an agile team can build anything. The same could be said for your relationship.

This Valentine’s Day, as you scramble for a last-minute gift and rush to see what reservations are still available, take a moment to remember the lessons of agile developers across the world and listen to your partner. Be actively engaged in what they have to say and take stock of how things are going. You never know when a genuine conversation can lead to incredible results.

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