Everything I learned about Agile I learned from Pirates


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A fun little lightning talk about Agile and Pirates. Why? Because I like Pirate and I like Agile.

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Everything I learned about Agile I learned from Pirates

  1. 1. Everything I learned about Agile I learned from PIRATES Friday, October 8, 2010
  2. 2. Dead, Dead, Dead Ye and each of your same adjudged are sentenced to be carried back to the Place from whence you came, from there to the Place of Execution without the Gates of this Castle, and there within the Flood Marks to be hanged by the neck 'till you are Dead, Dead, Dead. Pirate sentencing - March 1722 Friday, October 8, 2010 If you were convicted of Piracy in the at the peak of the Golden Age of Piracy you were... - hung from the neck until dead - buried in the sand to your neck at the side of the river to have three tides cover your head - covered in tar and hung in cages over the harbour until your bones fell into the water You were. Dead. Dead. Dead. This is similar to the common problem in Agile of whether your are Done, Done Done. Or Done Done Done. What that means to a team will be different for each one, but it is important that you figure it out for yourselves ahead of time so that when you say you are done you are really Done. Done. Done.
  3. 3. The Pirate Code Every man has a vote in affairs of moment; has equal title to the fresh provisions, or strong liquors, at any time seized, and may use them at pleasure, unless a scarcity (not an uncommon thing among them) makes it necessary, for the good of all, to vote a retrenchment. Bartholomew Roberts - 1720 Friday, October 8, 2010 People only every hear about the pirate Captains and not the first officer, the cook, the carpenter, etc. And so people mistakenly believe that they were in charge. They were not. There was actually a contract between the captain and the crew over every detail of life aboard the ship. Everything was democratic and voted on -- except in times of attack. Then, and only then, is the captain was the boss. Same for the Scrum Master! They are not the boss of the team. They cannot tell someone on the team what to do. An implicit contract exists between the team and the Scrum Master. I’m still working on the under attack part...
  4. 4. Henry Every’s Jolly Roger Friday, October 8, 2010 In addition to being bloodthirsty and ruthless, pirates were actually quite lazy. Most people associate the Black Ensign with piracy, but what that actually meant was that quarter would be shown if the pursued vessel fought back. The Red Ensign however indicated that if a single person raised a finger, then no quarter would be shown and everyone on board would be tortured and killed. So reputation matters. A lot. And so too in Testing and Agile. It should be your goal to be implicitly be flying the Red Ensign. At. All. Times.
  5. 5. Sumptuary Law None shall wear in his apparel: Woolen cloth made out of the realm, but in caps only; velvet, crimson, or scarlet; furs, black genets, lucernes; embroidery or tailor's work having gold or silver or pearl therein: except dukes, marquises, earls, and their children, viscounts, barons, and knights being companions of the Garter, or any person being of the Privy Council. Enforcing Statutes of Apparel - 1574 Friday, October 8, 2010 During the Golden Age of Piracy, there were laws in place which forbade certain types of clothing and fabric to certain classes of society. Pirates would flaunt these by stitching together (literally) bits of ill-gotten clothing together. After all, what is one more broken law. The point is that Pirates were self sufficient and could build things that they needed when they needed be it a coat, pair of socks or a new sail. So too should an Agile team be self sufficient. Don’t let silly rules get in the way or ignorance of how to do something. Learn. Your survival depends on it.
  6. 6. 2 Guns arr better than 1 Friday, October 8, 2010 Pirates are usually shown with multiple guns tucked into their belts. Why? Well, it does look cool; and could inflict more mayhem. But its actually because the technology wasn’t reliable and, well, they are out at sea. Where it is wet. They needed the second (or third or fourth) pistol as a backup. Programmers (and testers when doing automation) need a backup too. And we’ve named that. It’s called Pair Programming. Two guns are better than one and so are two sets of eyes better than one.
  7. 7. Go forth and pillage. Agile-y. Friday, October 8, 2010