Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Are You Drowning? Learn To Swim With Fixed Iteration Cycles.

Mayhap the sea shines a dazzling blue the day you drown. Your arms get weaker with every struggling move, splashing salty spume into your burned face while the sun mercilessly grins down at your pathetic attempts to get a grip on the ever changing faces of the fluid. Fate played a little prank today, as you can easily see the shore not far away. If you only had learned to swim back at school. Those days are far away at this moment, while you stubbornly refuse to let go, frantically thrashing the water with your arms and legs. You hear a distant sound, barely recognizing it while your own heartbeat reverberates in your head and you cough up every hurried breath you take with the water that strives to fill your lungs and relieve you into a silent peace at last. Somebody at the shore seems to try to tell you something with a megaphone. And while you fight your body up to the surface time after time you somehow manage to make out some words: "... have to ... steady ... slow .... movements ...". Your last thought is whether those words somehow could have taught you how to swim.

You wake up drenched in sweat. Perhaps reading about agile software development isn't such an innocent way to spend your time after all. As your brain cells slowly take up speed under the ice cold morning shower you suddenly get the connection. This is exactly what you felt like when you read about "steady flow" and "fixed iteration cycles" in your extreme programming book while you somehow try to tie up all the loose ends in your project concurrently: like a drowning man being told how to swim.

Then you remember what it was like to learn swimming. The frustrating fear that just wouldn't let your body do what you knew works best to move through the water with minimal energy waste: Fixed and steady iteration cycles that give you a feeling of heartbeat while you do your laps. It takes a lot of time to learn swimming and it takes even longer to become a good swimmer. But it's really hard when you try to learn the process as an adult from a book. But what is the alternative? Relishing the ambivalent relieve of utter failure when you spent all your energy splashing? No! Get yourself a towel and a bathing suite and jump into the water.

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