The subtle but true agility: handling situation in hand

I am in Hanoi and working with a team of very young developers. They all speak a broken english , enjoy work and speak and shout in Vietnamese loud. To a typical westerners they may seem like immatures ,lacking the finer sense of computing and appreciation of best practices in software engineering . To a typical agile master it may seem impossible to bring to them an appreciation of stories or points or epics and tickets for merge requests, primarily because of the language barrier and secondly their sense of being lost in the rituals.

In a way this is true. But what we may overlook in our initial encounter is these young bunch are very eager to learn and if I can show anything that is perceived as smart and meet a goal they would immediately grab it.

There comes the need of understanding what they are trying to achieve and what can be done in the situation in hand to help them achieve it e.g a team of mobile developers feeling frustrated because the back end service not available for different reasons. I installed a mock server in the local network and made the responses available for mobile development process which allowed not only to test through the happy paths , but also made it possible to have extra URL’s which mocks error conditions . This gives them immediate control of the different error situation and give them a sense of completeness. This is the subtle feeling that drives the developers with a fresh air which is not possible to have in the typical requirement driven agile environment.

After all that sense of completeness, to be able to cover all expected failures before hand is a human satisfaction which is difficult to drive at by asking to follow some rules. The agility that the developers achieved through this does not need any language understanding either- what is required is to show a path to a goal and you achieve the agile goal of better software in the bargain.