Agile and Spiritualism

Ahemm..first my apologies for tying a camel's tail to a pony's tail - this post is akin to that. Totally 2 unrelated disciplines being compared :)

Agile - as you know is what we use to create kickass products.

Spiritualism is to me the exploration of the Why? - Why are we happy, or sad. Why did we come on earth, why we die?

I practise Agile at work, and explore Spiritualism constantly in all things.

During one of my meditations it hit me - A developer practising Agile, and what Spirituality teaches us are so common.

The Now

Our mind is like a pendulum. It either swings to the past - oh I did this, said this, he spoke rudely to me that day, I missed giving a good repartee .. or swings to the future - oh what will happen if I don't file my tax returns, what if I confront my colleague tomorrow.. it goes on and on - swinging back and forth. And when the pendulum hits the Now - it is where happiness is - pure unblemished joy. It stays for a fleeting second.. and then goes on to dwell in the past or future - leaving the joy as a memory.

We try to get to the now.. and hang on to it - and it is a lifetime's effort to get there - and then you get enlightened... perhaps.

When I first heard of a "Story" - in the Agile context - I was told to focus on that story alone while developing. Not to worry about the future stories in the pipeline, or the changes in requirement that might or might not come, or what the nearby developer pair is working upon. Focus on just your story, and do a great job on it. Everything will turn out to be just right.

As a developer, as you focus on just the story ( with a little cross-eye on an open ended design ) the outcome will be 100% Bug free and your story will sail to QA complete effortlessly.. and then you hit God Mode in your team.

The Now is your Story.

Death & Failure

As you get more spiritual you get more comfortable with Death - the big end. Because you know it is not the end, but the beginning of another adventure. You will be tossing out all that you earned, and will have to start all over again. However some of the intelligence you acquired - will come to help in the next adventure. Dejavu, Gut instinct, Karma are all that.

There is a parallel in Agile as well. It taught me to scrap everything I had worked, and start from scratch if there is a need - Agile is comfortable with change and does not crib ( unlike giving a big Change Requirement Document and a bill ) My backyard has many dead bodies - some unfinished abandoned projects and some code, some perfectly working stuff.. but had to be archived and might never get opened again. However, someday it will all come to use. Even if the Story I worked on never gets to production or the project fails to see the light of the day - the learnings are enormous.

Most of the good discipline I picked are from failures - either from my own handiwork, or watching other developers mess up.

Celebrate Death & Failure!


One can read as much as you want on Spiritual books, or listen to all the lectures from Spiritual Gurus - but the real joy is in practising it - in a disciplined manner.  Only when you sit down to meditate do you experience bliss. For best results - lot many things have to be followed - like food habits, health routine, sincerity of actions, purity in thought.. Break any one of them - you get nothing in the end.

Again for an Agile project to be successful - just reading books and viewing lectures from Agile Thinkers is not sufficient - the team has to be disciplined at every step. Standups, near abstract stories, continuous builds, unit tests, automated tests, periodic showcases.... break any one of them and the project is doomed.

God speed my Agile Developer friends!

Yours Truly
The Agile Guru :)


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