Ten Tales of Positive Change – Introduction

Reading that AgileScout is looking for case studies and not just the theory of Agile, I thought I might start posting these stories from my career. These come from an IEEE paper that was first published for Agile2011. The paper is too long for one blog post. Leaving the tales as close to the original as I can, I am posting each one as a separate article.

Ten Tales of Positive Change

Is it possible to make a difference? Or at least enjoy the interactions more? These tales relate successful attempts at making improvements. They are my experiences working in software shops and using Agile methods.


Suddenly I find myself at home. The last thing I remember doing was driving away from my current struggle at work and wondering, what can I do to clean up this mess? Shutting the door, putting away my keys and walking to the table I think about successful attempts from the past. It’s easier for me to remember the challenges and dwell on what could have been. Replaying the drama and mistakes is not helping and so I refocus on the wins, no matter how small. When did I feel like an improvement was made, and why?

I reflect over my past six years of work in different Agile environments. The time starts at StorePerform, where I created software with a team using Extreme Programming (XP) development and Scrum. After that I went to a start-up called vianet.travel to work as both an XP developer and ScrumMaster. Then I moved on to Yahoo! to be an Agile Coach; run some training, and embed on teams as a ScrumMaster. After that I trained and coached as an independent consultant. They conclude with Rally, where I worked as an Agile Coach. I am now helping Jeff Patton start comakers.

Ten tales stand out for me and what follows is a recounting of them. They are described mostly in the order in which they occurred, from my time working in Agile cultures. The tales are about:

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