In his original Extreme Programming book, Kent Beck said that we should “embrace change.” A few years later, the agile manifesto told us to “value responding to change over following a plan” and to “harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.” But what does this really mean? What does it look like in practice?
In my work with agile teams over the last 15 years, I’ve found that few of them are truly skilled at handling change. While they may give lip service to the idea, change more often than not brings frustration, delays, and quality problems. But excelling at change is a skill that can be learned. And the mastery of this skill is what differentiates teams that fully realize the benefits of an agile approach from those who don’t.
In this talk, I’ll explore what it means to “excel at change”—both technically and culturally—and discuss some specific ways that individuals, teams, and organizations can get better at it.