Starting out with Agile

(archived from my old blog from my pre-MS days)

I heard recently on Hanselminutes (115, I think) something to the effect of "Alt.NET has a lot to contribute, but the barrier to entry is pretty high." I know that didn't necessarily mean "agile" in particular, but perhaps that was actually the intent.

Is it hard to "do agile"? I'm sure there would be plenty of voices on both sides, but I think there could be more effort put into making it easier or at least better explained. Sure all the "sexy" agile info is out there on the cutting edge, but there are plenty of folks who still need the basics. 

My own knowledge of agile principles & practices came over a long period of time. I didn't have the advantage of having a coach. In fact, I remember reading something on MSDN around the 2000-2002 timeframe in which Anders Hejlsberg was writing about good coding practices, and in particular he mentioned how he used NUnit for his unit tests.

Unit tests? I thought that was like, run the application.  If it doesn't blow up it was a successful unit-test; one scant step beyond compiling. So I didn't learn agile overnight.  Even now I continually tweak my practices in an effort to learn the best way to develop the agile way.  I'll probably continue to do that as long as I write code.

After thinking about my own experience, I believe that testing is probably the best way to introduce folks to agile concepts. I mean, if it worked for me without a coach (and for the longest time without blogs or many other agile resources), then perhaps testing is a great wedge for breaking folks thought processes into the agile arena.

So start testing.

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