Of Post-its and idiots

Working in an IT company for customers who are not always very IT minded isn’t always easy. You see, we always have to be… how to define this… understanding.  No matter how hard a customers screws up, we can never say that to his face. We always have to find a pragmatic way to define this.
And sadly enough, doing this job for almost 5 years now, it’s painful to see how many times customers screw up. I’m talking “daily basis” here.

There is one customer I worked for, who felt the need to change the way they approached projects. They wanted to have a certain way of working which allowed them to easily track problems, work load and other project related things. So they decided to start working AGILE. This is a certain way of working, which involves around user stories. Basically this means that a user has a need and this need has to be translated to a technical solution. This need, is called a user story which is written on a post-it and hung on a board.

Every 2 weeks we had to get into a meeting and plan all these stories. We had to plan work for, I believe, 2 weeks at the time. So me and a bunch of agile.. uhm “experts” meet up and we start discussing the work that has to be done.
There is one task, that involved several smaller tasks. And I preferred to do them one at the time. So I just wanted to set up 1 part, allowing people from another team to test and then move along.
At the time this was the best, safest way and most logical way of developing this task without striking major disaster.

Of course it took only 1 minute for one of those AGILE so called experts to tell me that this was not done. Either you have multiple user stories or you deliver 1 story completely. So I tell them again why I want to do this, because it really is the most logical thing to do. After about 5 minutes, we were no longer discussing the task at hand but rather how many post-its and user stories we would define. I’m not kidding around here, the definition of the process was more important to these guy that the actual work that had to be done.
To make a long story short, at the end of the meeting (which was about a hour and a half) we still did not know what exactly needed to be done. But hooray! we had the correct amount of post-its and user stories on the board!

Goooooo Team!

I feel like Dilbert half of the time…


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