Congratulations on the new job. How do you make the most out of it… the Agile way?

To do well at the new job requires experimentation and that is where Agile can help you. How can you start with the best possible start? And use the Agile mindset to go about succeeding in the new position.

“Individuals and interactions over processes and tools”

Focus is always on the people and how to interact and communicate. For those seeking excellence, the journey starts before your first day. Start by researching and preparing questions. For example, you are told that official hours start at 9, it would make sense to show up at 9. Yet, asking your manager “what time am I expected to show up?” or “what time do people start showing up to the office?” can save you a lot of potential trouble. Imagine showing up on official time just to find out that everyone else is already there. It also shows you are doing your due diligence. Your first day doesn’t have to be the first time you go to the office. Go there to test your commute, is the traffic normal? Where to park? How to get to the office? The test will reduce surprises and will allow you to be more comfortable on the actual first day.

“The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.”

You showed up a bit early, not too early and not late, congratulations. Now be ready to introduce yourself, and introduce yourself, and introduce yourself. Prepare a brief introduction about yourself to achieve two things. First to help people know who you are quickly, second, to allow them to introduce themselves. This first impression will be hard to change. For those who interviewed you, they already like you.

Learn about people, talk to people and even memorize their names, which builds rapport. You can memorize names easier by connecting names with information about them. Write down notes about people you meet when you can. Be careful of restraining yourself to only your team, manager, and subordinates. Find any opportunity to learn about the people especially during lunch break. Sorry introverts. Even later  on, If you have a meeting and you know who is attending, research them a bit. You will need to understand quickly who are the stakeholders and their different objectives and priorities.

“At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.“

Do a mini-retrospective after each interaction, consciously think about how to make the next one better. Did you listen enough? Did you remember to call them by their name when they introduced themselves?…etc.

“Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.” & “Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential.”

Getting down to business. What should you focus on and how do you decide? Communicate and talk with your manager and stakeholders. It is crucial to get alignment as soon as possible and not assume you know. Ask clarifying questions, follow up to confirm the understanding with a thank you. Try to define what success looks like. This is akin to the definition of done and goals in SCRUM.

Then prioritize questions and actions. For questions, consider who to ask? when? Why them? Do you want to ask one or many people for different perspectives? When it comes to actions, try to gain quick wins, add value quickly to the goals. Avoid solving the biggest hardest problem from the beginning. Why? You just started and do not have enough “political capital” to tackle it right away.

“Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.

Take care of yourself, those first few weeks are never easy as you are going into a new place. Those relationships you are building should help, however, you need to be in a good physical, mental, and psychological condition. Remember that it is a journey and overcommitting will only result in you failing to deliver on the long run. This requires courage sometimes and you need to speak up not only for your sake but also for your coworkers and companies sake. 

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