Transitioning from the classroom to any type of work environment often takes a little bit of time. However, when transitioning into an Agile work environment, I feel as though the transition can take a little bit longer without the proper help and expectations. In my software development course, we learned about Agile, and claimed to have practiced Agile, so I thought the transition from college to a company that stresses Agile would not be too difficult. This assumption proved to be wrong. The truth is, we did try to do agile in my classes whenever development was needed; however, college is an unrealistic atmosphere to be completely Agile.
The first difference that was immediately apparent were the daily standups. Daily standups are critical in an Agile environment. Everyday, each member of the team says what they did yesterday, what they are going to do today, and if anything is standing in their way. Although I had heard about this format, I was not completely informed. In standups it is important to have very specific goals. For example, my first standup I had planned to say something to the extent of, “Yesterday I worked on Chef stuff, today I am going to continue working on Chef stuff, and nothing is blocking me.” After hearing everyone else’s update, it was obvious that I had the completely wrong idea of how a standup is actually run.
In an Agile environment, you are expected to know what you can realistically get done in a day or a week. This is a very important aspect of the Agile work environment. For example, if you are requested to do something and you give an unrealistic deadline for yourself, you will begin to lose the trust of your coworkers and superiors, and will have to live with the feeling of letting someone down. Another important part to this is if you know the expectations are unreasonable, you are to voice your opinion and verbalize why the deadline is unreasonable. Another good reason to speak up is if you and a team member have completely different ideas on how long the task should take, there’s a good possibility that one of you does not understand what is actually being asked.
Overall, working in an Agile environment can be a difficult transition right after school, but Agile is a proven methodology that adds great value. By pointing out these two main differences, there is one underlying theme when it comes to transitioning from the classroom to an Agile work environment. Take advantage of the daily standups and your coworkers. If complete and specific goals are given during the standup then one of the other team members might have helpful insight into your problems. Also, you need to figure out when a goal can be realistically completed, in doing this it is important to make sure your opinions are voiced and you completely understand the goal. If you do not voice your opinions or you do not understand the goal, this can cause many problems down the road.