We had just seen our management team take a courageous decision to scrap over 6 months of work by 10+ people. It was an unmitigated disaster. But, I hold this is probably one of the best things that could have happened to any of us on that team. We came out of the mess a stronger, more focused and ultimately more successful team.
The major process shift we were asked to get behind was the adoption of Agile software development. None of us knew what it would be like, we were all concerned it would be the same as before or worse! What followed was a turbulent time where all of us were learning new things at a rate that would make most people's head spin. March 2010 brought not just Agile software development, but also 7 new team members into the fold.
I was fortunate to be working with a manager who loved to learn new things, encourage others to do so and listen to them if they have a good point to make. Learning new things is a rush like no other for me, sure you stumble in the beginning but the end result is worth the effort. I plunged myself into learning everything I could about SCRUM. There are a few things I remember from our first 3 Agile months, A total lack of documents, not enough time to have all the meetings we needed to have and a alarmingly low window of time to actually do development. I also remember a period of three weeks where we managed to re-vamp our entire database schema with minimal downtime for our QA team.
May 2010 taught me how a team can work together to pull off technical miracles and how to do database schema migrations. We worked for 3 long weeks transforming the database schema to something that would suit our needs. All while having to report back to our business stakeholders and management every 2 weeks. It was a storm that we weathered well and came out smelling like roses. We had built an application and transformed its entire storage layer in a short span of time and kept our stakeholders happy.
Agile had come out swinging and proved to most of us that it could work. We were amateurs at best, complete idiots at worst. But we were getting better and things were looking up. Our life would get much worse, before it got better and it would define my next couple of years. I am now thoroughly sold that Agile or rather a flavor of it can work in most software development scenarios.