Building software is messy. It is highly complex, difficult to predict, and is wraught with pitfalls and challenges. Software projects are known for underdelivering to the needs of the customer, missing deadlines, and coming in way over budget.
In the "old" days of software development, we embraced lengthy documentation and formalized process which was supposed to alleviate unknowns, isolate risk, and produce better software. But even with the best planning, our projects would fail.
What we found over time is that the software you build is really only as good as your understanding of what the customer needs on a project. And your ability to adapt and change to your customer's changing business needs and requirements are key to your success.
So in software development, we employ "agile" strategies for managing changing customer needs. In general, these strategies help us embrace change and build better, more successful software for our customers.
But as it is with life, embracing change is often easier said than done. Growing pains are inevitable any time we are challenged or pushed in a way that forces us to adapt. Ultimately our success in life and in our work depends on our ability to be agile; to think fast and make improvements along the way. Yet everything in us fights change every step of the way.
Personally, I'm feeling some of these pains at the moment and finding myself longingly looking back to the times when everything was more concrete and defined. In software development, we have an "Agile Manifesto" which helps guide us:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
Upon reflecting on the Agile Manifesto, it made me think that we could really all use a similar manifesto for guiding our lives and helping us embrace that inevitable change. In life or in business, change is coming. What is your manifesto?
Meaningful and impactful progress over completed action items and to do lists
Facing issues and conflicts head on over being comfortable and avoiding conflict
Challenging myself to work outside of my comfort zone over doing work that I'm naturally great at
Detaching from the outcome over feeling bound to a specific plan or outcome