The final icing on the cake for me on my Agile Project Management journey was watching Ken Schhwaber's Google Tech Talk video on the introduction to Scrum. He so eloquently gets the point across. And the section on technical debt, on how companies are driven into a corner in as little as 5 years was an AHA moment for me.
From that point on, Agile Project Management was to become a way of life for me. I started to purchase and read as many books on the subject as I could possibly find. Scouring the internet for articles, white papers and blogs, the paper still litters my office to this day. I just could not get enough of this juice.
My second AHA moment was when I read Mike Cohn's book on Agile Estimating and Planning cover to cover. This is a wonderful book and quite frankly the bible for anyone looking to switch to Agile Project Management methodologies. I have since read that book three times.
Now bitten by the "bug", I was hard pressed to find a tool to help my teams keep track of the myriad projects on the go. Unfortunately my teams were geographically dispersed and even the local teams could not be co-located due to the layout of the office. Moving concrete walls was just not an option. I heard all about the promise of transparency these tools offered so I signed up for every trial in the book.
Basecamp came awfully close for us. I loved the product's simplicity and usability but it wasn't long before the product's limitations, coupled with the fact that it did not support any of the Agile Project Management requirements made it impossible for us to use. So I proceeded to investigate the big three - you know who they are. These tools were slow, intimidating and had no collaboration features to speak of - what you'd expect at least from a tool in the modern web 2.0 world.
As a result I decided to build my own. Rich and I joined forces and with the help of the Rails platform we were able to build and deploy Agilebuddy in only 6 months. If not for our rigid discipline and setting the Agile project management dials to eleven, we'd probably still be coding. What makes the story even sweeter is that Agilebuddy is the poster child for Agile software development methods. Eating our own dog food was a goal from the outset and as a result we started using Agilebuddy to track it' own development from the 3rd week - the 2nd Sprint as we do 2 week sprints. One of the other goals we set for ourselves was that we were not going to sell short. At the end of every 2 weeks, we didn't produce "potentially" shippable code, we produced "shipped" code, i.e., ready for prime time, live on our production servers. Little did I know at the time that we were practicing Lean concepts without even knowing it.
Agile Project Management for me is now a way of life, it consumes me. I will never look back.
Thanks Jeff and Ken et al!