Commit to the Trick

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BMX stunt riders, just like any other eXtreme Sport, takes a lot of practice to get right.  When learning a trick, a lot of practice is required.  Most of that time, of course, is spent failing, sometimes in spectacular ways.  Before a rider can learn a new trick, several things happen.  There will be a very clear idea of what exactly the trick consists of.  It will have been rehearsed mentally many times.  There will be strong motivation to get the trick right.  And then, actually performing a trick is a mental activity as much as it is a physical one.  Every eXtreme athlete will tell you that once you start into a trick, the worse thing you can do is to hesitate, or second-guess yourself.  You have to ‘Commit to the Trick’.

What does this mean for an Agile team?  Learning to become agile can sometimes feel like trying to perform a one hand back peg or a toboggan.  You are likely to fall down a lot, often painfully so.  Having a clear idea of what you are trying to achieve, why you are trying to achieve it, is vital.  The ‘intent’ – whether it be an individual goal, the team’s mission, or the organization’s objective, should be understood completely if you are to survive the inevitable pain and failures.  Moreover, when you are in the middle of executing a radical change – for example, adopting TDD, paired programming, or automating your deployments  – is not the time to start hesitating or double-guessing yourself.  Instead, take a lesson from those BMX tricksters, and Commit to the Trick.


Paul Osborn

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