Just like riding a bike…

Five cyclists pose for a photo outdoors

Over Labor Day weekend Team Red Cedar completed the annual DALMAC bicycle ride from East Lansing, MI to the Mackinac Bridge. I had a lot of time to think as we spent about 21 hours on bicycles covering about 350 miles over 5 days. As we were riding on the last day, it occurred to me that the success of our team in accomplishing this goal was much like the success of our teams at Red Cedar employing an agile approach to executing a project.

  1. We welcomed change, even late into our journey. First, we changed the routes so we could stay in hotels instead of tents. Some might view this as cheating, but waking up dry and well-rested was worth it! Speaking of dry, we changed our clothes when we were rained on during our Friday ride. We also held off a couple hours before we started our ride on Saturday and we stayed dry the entire day. The agile approach welcomes changing requirements to help the customer’s competitive advantage.
  2. We supported each other and trusted each other to get the job done. When we were training for the DALMAC, we supported each other with when we decided to train. We gave each other the option of riding in the chilly mornings or riding after dinner or riding on the weekends. During the DALMAC, depending on the conditions and degree of hilliness, we supported each other on the ride by taking turns leading out. The agile approach builds projects around motivated individuals. You give the team member the environment and support they need, and then you trust them to get the job done.
  3. We trained with long rides and clusters of rides over several days in a row. Sometimes we trained with a really long ride on one day and then we took several days off. Other times we clustered rides together and rode several days of the week. Training as a group let us know that we were all ready to tackle the DALMAC. At Red Cedar, following the agile approach, we like to deliver working software every couple of weeks. This allows us to respond more quickly to the customer’s needs.

We had a great time riding the DALMAC and we have a great time implementing the Principles behind the Agile Manifesto at Red Cedar.