Jiri Lundak

Knowing when to Leave

In Agile Development, Career, Job, Team, Values on January 23, 2013 at 1:02 am

It was a long time with the same company. I nearly became part of the inventory. It was an awesome journey from a disorganized bunch of people, with no real concept on how to produce good quality software, that preferred to depend on external knowledge for managing projects, to a lean and mean software company, that produces 17 releases a year and had more than 135 releases go live during these 9 years.

We made a dent in the universe, for how long it lasted. We introduced Agile development practices and looked for talented people to join us. Self-directed people, good collaborators and able software engineers. We were trying to hire only the best of candidates (we hired only every tenth maybe).

This saved the company from failing. We were successful again.

And now I am leaving. Why that? It is not because of bad technological choices, it is not because of bad customer relationships and it is not because of a hostile business environment. These are problems of daily business life. We can cope with that.

The discussions of the last month have worn me down. I was not able to convince my peers, that we were drifting away from values we all valued.

So here we are. Our people were breathing the spirit of agility. They embodied self-organizing principles. They valued to be included in the decision making process. Sure not everything was rosy. But we never shied back from correcting ourselves. Unfortunately I was not able to counter the building up of positions, of creeping distrust. Though I tried to improve things I miserably failed.

But now there is hope again. People are talking again with each other, about their values, their hopes and their expectations for a better future. That is a good sign. But I am not part of the solution anymore and this makes me very sad.

In this dark personal moment, there remains one wonderful and encouraging thing deeply impressed in my memory: the pure and genuine solidarity with Agile principles, that most of my colleagues have shown, by underlining the value and positive effect the Agile way of doing things had in their lives.

Especially one colleague brought me joy and encouragement. We never talked personally about agility and its benefits in depth, he always seamed not to care much, just doing his thing, taking never any sides in 12 years. And now this… a long email, showing his personal benefits he got from the Agile way and how much he cared. This was very moving for me personally. Agile has reached the hearts and minds of people living it from day to day. This I call a movement!

So now, that I must go, I leave behind people, who for themselves have seen the light, who know what they want and know how to take care of themselves. So my wish goes out to them: be courageous, do not give in and continue to do good work! You know who you are.


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