When traveling I have made it a habit to always count the pieces of luggage I carry. Instead of trying to remember all the time which specific pieces I carry, I just remember the number. To me it’s a safety and backup thing. I know other people do similar things. My father in law once told me that he used to count heads. Especially when his kids where in the ocean swimming.
I have been doing the counting without really thinking about it. Until recently when I at the airport started to feel uncomfortable. After a while I understood that the reason for me feeling uncomfortable was that I unconsciously was looking for missed pieces of luggage. For a while I had been traveling with at least two pieces of carry on luggage, My backpack and my camera bag.This time I did not bring my camera, and voila, I thought it was missing. Keeping track of my things had become a habit.
It is not only travelers who benefit from routines and habits. Many agile teams testify to the same truth. They increase their probability of success by keeping to routines and good habits. They are in other words being very disciplined. Contrary to the beliefs of the skeptics, agile software development requires high discipline on the individual level, the team level as well as the organizational level. Agile teams benefit from using well known and defined engineering practices. The engineering practices are the routines and habits of the agile team.Any team wanting to be successful need to carefully select and use engineering practices.
For teams working according to Scrum it is even more important. How come? Since Scrum does not prescribe any particular engineering practices but instead leave it for the team to figure out and because Scrum alone is not enough. In Sweden one of the most popular entertainers, Hans Alfredson, talks in a sketch about life being like a bag; “empty and without content, unless you fill it with something”. The same is true for Scrum, without good purposeful engineering practices it will not help the team very far.What engineering practices should a team select? Of course it depends on the specific circumstances such as what product, what customers, competence of the team members, etc.
Many teams working according to Scrum tend to use continuous integration. Testing as early as possible is also important. The use of well selected engineering practices will support the team on their quest for high productivity and developing high quality products.