Zen, Agile and Squirrels

What is Zen anyways? And this Agile thing, what's it all about? And what is up with the squirrel???

Zen tells us that to understand Buddhism it is not enough to study it, we must practice it. Agile tells us to focus on building working software that people will use. Squirrels are smarter than us because they get this stuff without anyone having to teach them.

In my professional practice as an Agile consultant / coach, I talk a lot about proactivity and keeping things, as Einstein so aptly put it, "as simple as possible, but not simpler." The practice of software engineering lends itself particularly to over-complicating the simple and falling into the vicious cycle of reactivity.

Squirrels don't sort the nuts alphabetically or by size (add unnecessary features). They don't designate nut-counting squirrels (project managers) or squirrels to make sure there are no slackers (supervisors). They know how many nuts they need (estimation) because it's about the same as what they needed last year (velocity). They carry one nut at a time (sustainable pace), don't carry the nuts to the bottom of the tree and leave them there (technical debt). They just gather nuts - they eat what they need right now (sprint planning) and stow the rest (backlog).

It's simple. It works.

Like Zen, you can learn about Agile from books and courses, but it must be practiced to be understood. Only a squirrel can master being a squirrel.

Most software projects fail - they either go over budget or overrun their schedule or fail to meet the original objectives (certain death for a squirrel). With ABAKiS, we are doing things differently. We've asked real people what they need ABAKiS to do for them right now and we're building that and only that. One feature at a time, building it right.

It's not flashy and it looks simple. We've taken the time to make it less complex because that's what is needed. And that's what we will continue to do, no matter what, because fundamentally we're in it not to make a quick buck but to make the world a better place.

One nut at a time, starting with ourselves.

PS. Our crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo is in its final few days and needs your support - every donation helps us get that much closer to revolutionizing the way we deliver early intervention to children with autism.

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