Comments Open, and Some Changes

Well, its been a bit more than two weeks (more than four), but I am finally reopening comments on the last few entries, and will (hopefully) get around to answering a couple of pending comments on various threads. And get back to writing on a regular basis. Its taken me this long, because I have been making some big changes in my professional life -- most notably: I have left ThoughtWorks.

I may at some point talk more about what I am doing now, but suffice it to say that I have accepted an offer at a company that keeps me closer to home; a great opportunity to grow and build upon some of my ideas and theories about how to build high-quality software in a way that creates a competative advantage for the business it supports. I have joined the leadership team for a software group that is in turn part of a business team (and a great group of people all around) that is delievering a really interesting product to market -- and we are growing fast -- i.e. the technical challenges center on fast implementation of business ideas without retarding our ability to keep doing so, while improving our ability to scale our product. While it was tough to leave TW, and I wish everyone there all the best, I am really excited about working with this team on this project.

What does this mean from the POV of my involvement in the Agile community? In the short term, not much -- in fact, one thing that attracted me to this opportunity was the chance to show what Extreme Programming can really do to make a strategic difference in the business plan of a fast growing business that is banking on their ability to grow and change a technically challenging software system (something that was difficult, if not impossible being a consultant for TW). However, I do expect things to be a bit different: I have increasingly become less interested in "Enterprise" Agile (i.e. how to bring Agile to big IT) and much more interested in "being" Agile (i.e. pushing the boundary of what a small team of like-minded people using XP can accomplish in efficiently realizing a business plan).

In short, in leaving consulting, I am formally retiring from Agile Evangelism (something I lost the heart for some time ago), and simply becoming an Agile Private-Citizen. Thus, I expect that the tone of my writing will shift somewhat as I no longer care (and truthfully haven't for some time) whether the world adopts XP -- or even whether anyone does -- I am simply interested in building software to the best of my ability, working with others of like mind, and flat-out outperforming others using the techniques and tools that I have learned how to use over the past several years. That anyone familiar with XP would immediately recognize its strong impact on the nature of our software development project is almost (but not quite) irrelevant to that goal. We are going to contribute to the cause (so to speak) by example; by delivering one hell of a kick-ass software system. And once we've done so, whether anyone else notices that XP was at the core of our team's philosophy really isn't so important to me anymore -- we'll know it was, we'll understand its importance to our success, and that will serve as enough validation for me.

So, will I still look to learn from the XP, Agile and Open Source communities? Certainly. Will I still contribute to those communities? I expect so, but just how remains to be seen. What is clear to me is that I have crossed some kind of line in my understanding of software development (again some time ago) and I am now embarking on a new journey to expand and learn from that understanding. Where that will lead, only time will tell.