In 1996 a friend of mine asked me what my New Years Resolution was. I didn’t have one, so I thought one up on the spot, “My resolution is to quit making New Years Resolutions.” I have stuck with it for fourteen years now.
The idea behind New Years Resolutions is great. We should reflect on the year that has past, think about what we would like to do differently in the future, and resolve to make that change. That is a great thing to do. The problem is that when we only do it once a year we tend to fail. Then, we wait a whole year to reflect and do it again.
So, this year resolve to stop making New Years Resolutions. Instead, reflect on your behavior soon, and make changes right then. Change every month, every week, every hour. Soon you will get good at changing and those promises you make to yourself will come true more often than not.
That is the lesson of Agile: self-reflection is hard, and we kind of suck at it. Change is hard, and we kind of suck at it. If we do it more often then we will have to do less each time and it won’t be so hard. If we do it more often then we will get good at it and it won’t suck so much.