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Fool of Agile becomes full of Agile

Fail fast or learn fast? Some people might prefer to make mistakes and learn from them. Robert M. Trivetti, an agile delivery manager at Matrix argues that learning fast without creating mistakes might be a better route to success. For me, excepting that I do not know nor understand something makes me learn fast. 

Among the many events available after work for Silicon Valley professionals, the Gateway to Agile meetup is one of the best. It was founded by many Agile experts including Gervais Collins Johnson, or Jay, a national agile practice director at Matrix. Yesterday after opening the meetup with a discussion on “How Agile Exponentially Improves Requirements,” he conducted a hands-on workshop to show how stakeholders’ requirements could be developed by implementing Epic/Feature/User Story Mapping techniques. Jay demonstrated how that user story’s 3 C’s are used for defining requirements as well.

The first C is card. A requirement should be able to fit in the following frame on a card:

“As a <role>, I want <something> so that <benefit>.”

The second C is conversation. Conversation is the most important C because team members need to discuss why proposed requirements are important. So talk talk talk and talk. 

The third C is confirmation. User stories are successfully completed when user stories are applied correctly and delivered happily. A user story should be independent, small, negotiable, valuable, estimable, and testable. 

In the workshop, attendees grouped to work with three different case studies. I worked with the most challenging group, which challenged and pushed me to learn something new. We were assigned to read a business requirements document and create epics, features, and user stories. Lacking a background in IT and health care systems prevented me from understanding the business requirements. What I did first was to accept that I did not understand and then I listened to others carefully to learn from them. I reached out to David Wilson, a project management consultant, and asked him to explain the case for me. He did not mind telling me more information in a way that was easier to understand. By the way, learning by doing from the workshop obviously created both a learning and a collaborative environment. 

On the way back home, I told Ron Litchy, a former senior manager at Apple and an author of Managing of Unmanageable, that I was not 100% clear from the event and I would like to learn more from him. He replied that actually we learned from each other. I was so happy to hear this. Beside Jay himself, the hands-on workshop and support from participants makes the Gateway to Agile meetup very unique. Million percent sure that after accepting fast, I will learn fast. Finally, fool of Agile will transform to full of Agile soon.

Thank you again for learning together. (Jay-Gervais Collins Johnson, Robert M. Trivetti, David Wilson, Ron Litchy, Ian Davidson, Arun Ramanna, Fred Fowler, Tanner Hirakida, Brian Wills, Steve Reichg

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