Thursday, June 12, 2014

"How the U.S. Military Prepared Me for Agile" (No, that's not a joke or oxymoronic statement...)

Scrum Alliance - How the U.S. Military Prepared Me for Agile

When I retired from the military at the ripe old age of 38, I had spent 4 years in the United States Marine Corps and 16 in the United States Army. As the retirement pay for a First Sergeant/E-8 with just over 20 years of service was not enough to fully support a family, I had to get another job -- and fast. At that time, I had an associate degree in computer programming, so I took a position as a full-time programmer trainee and went to college at night to get my bachelor's degree in software engineering. I had never really considered how my career in the military affected my civilian career until I started learning about Agile. Don't get me wrong; I knew that the military-instilled discipline and sense of honor and loyalty had made me not only a better man but also a better employee, but I had never really considered how my skills as a First Sergeant could have made me a better software engineer.

During my time in the military, I learned principles that mirror those I have seen in some of the common practices that several of the Agile frameworks/processes espouse. I would like to compare some of these practices with what I learned in the military. As you read, please keep in mind that I am coming from a combat arms unit -- mainly infantry -- perspective and that this perspective is based on the time I spent in the military (1971-1992). Things have changed dramatically since I was on active duty, so what was common practice then may no longer be in effect. I also understand that the Marine Corps has established a few doctrines that are somewhat based on the principles and practices of agility.

The first concept I want to address is organizational structure. ...





I believe Agile is like a multifaceted diamond. It takes a trained eye to spot all of its brilliant dimensions. But if you take the time to stare into it long enough, you will see that each angle reflects light differently. Remember, you are not here to "be" Agile like anyone else. You are here to "be" Agile like only you can be. You are unique. No one else has your experiences and your knowledge; they are yours and yours alone. My years in the military have enriched my Agile practice. I hope that this article spurs you to take some time to think about the principles of Agile and to consider how you may have used them in your day-to-day activities without even realizing it.

I appreciate the time you have taken to read this post, and I look forward to hearing from you.

Be safe."

As an Army vey myself, though only a Sargent, I can see where he's coming from...

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