Grow Your Craft as a Professional – Agile Reading

We here at Agile Scout began our lives as code-junkies. Thanks to the rise of telnet, bbs, cow email-bombs, ICQ, html, and those awesome animated gifs at our disposal we began developing what is now the worst examples of code known to man (Think blinking and flashing web pages back in the 90’s).

I had a lot of conversations over the week with many project managers at PW&WCBA who are looking to move their IT support division into something a little more Agile. One in particular had a department that mainly supports bugs and quick fixes to websites. Wow, if that isn’t an opportunity for Agile then I don’t know what is!

We began to discuss his need for an Agile project manager to come on board but hasn’t found success in the marketplace as of recent due to the number of project managers that just don’t know how to code, or don’t come from a coding background. He was very dogmatic that a good project manager comes from a development background.

“How could a person who manages development teams know nothing about development and coding and be successful?”

While I totally agree with him on some of his points we don’t necessarily believe that they have to have been a hard-core code monkey to know how to project manage. Have a different opinion? Let us know in the comments.

Regardless, we came upon an article written by Jan Vermeir from Xebia who wrote about something that applies to all of us, whether your a ScrumMaster, project manager, developer-become-architect, or anyone else in any profession.

Grow your craft.

While Jan’s audience is mostly to developers it makes sense that one has to keep up with what is going on in the world. We wrote about this earlier in that one has to keep learning and growing themselves to gain influence. For many Agile coaches out there, to coach is one thing, but to keep the wheels of personal growth moving, one has to apply the theory as well.

“I strongly believe there is only one way to grow your professional skills and to keep increasing your value for your customers. You have to continue learning new technology. Not just by reading about it but by experiencing new technology and new techniques first hand.”

Yes. We couldn’t agree more.

So how can you continue to grow yourself?

  1. Read Blogs – Stay up-to-date with industry leaders. What are they saying?
  2. Twitter – Follow people you trust as news-worthy.
  3. Go to local meet-ups – There are a ton of meet-ups happening all the time. Check out and find one today!
  4. Go to conferences – Put in a little time and $ and you could find yourself across the table from someone far more important than you during networking sessions or even after hours at a bar.
  5. Read Books – Whoa. Whole new idea here? Nope. Don’t like paperbacks? Well download them on your electronic reader.
  6. Email industry leaders – Hey, sometimes they write back!
  7. Start a company interest group – You’d be surprised at how many people are interested at kicking-butt in Agile software development.
  8. Start a blog – Start writing down your personal experiences in your profession. There are a ton out there willing to comment and help you in your journey.


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