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Seasoned software Architect, a passionate Agile, Lean Practitioner and a successful trainer. Always inspired by innovative ideas and human behavior/psychology. Trying to find a balance between pragmatism and purity. Venkatesh is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 45 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Agile and Happiness

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All of us are doing what we are doing to achieve one thing, that is happiness.  I read this inspiring article a while ago “Searching for happiness: What makes life meaningful?”

We dream of  living in a villa with a swimming pool and a Jacuzzi. We want to live next to a river surrounded by picturesque mountains. Why do we need these things?  It's because imagining having these amenities gives us a sense of happiness.  We think that one day by acquiring them we would be in a “permanent” state called “happiness.”  Is this really possible?

Personally, I feel that happiness is a journey and a state of mind. There is no permanent state called “happiness," and a person gets happiness by conquering challenges. No challenge, no happiness.  So, happiness is an ongoing exercise of chasing challenges, conquering and experiencing them. I get happiness when I spend time with loved ones or some one writes some good words about an article. I get happiness when I clear the challenging  “driving test” or complete a presentation in front of a “challenging” audience. 

Now, let us look at how Agile and happiness are related… 

I see a lot of organizations craving for Agility, and it reminds me of human beings craving for happiness.  The organizations invest a lot of  money to become “Agile." This is akin to the the waterfall era where organizations used to crave for CMM certifications. During the waterfall era, companies thought having CMM 5 certification would enable them to reach a kind of “Nirvana” or a “final state” of excellence.  Anyways, now it is history that it was proven wrong.

With the popularity of Agile, the companies are now craving for the Nirvana called “Agile."  When 4 Agilists from 4 different companies get together, they would always discuss if their company is “Agile” or not.  They talk about Flickr doing 10 deployments a day, compare it to their own and beat themselves up. There is a perception that if a company is able to do 10 deployments per day or do a Continuous Integration then they are an “Agile” company.  This is very similar to human beings assuming that they would be in a state of “permanent” happiness when they acquire a house and a jacuzzi, living next to the river. Is it really true that there is a final state called “Agile”? 

I personally think that being “agile” is truly what makes a company “Agile.”  Just like how happiness is a journey and there is no “permanent” state called happiness, being “agile” is a journey and there is no final/permanent state called “Agile”.

As long as the company is going through a journey of continuous improvement and moving in the right direction, they are “Agile”.

Published at DZone with permission of Venkatesh Krishnamurthy, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)