Agile Philosophy

By Rajib Bahar at November 22, 2009 18:07
Filed Under: Interesting, .NET, SQL

This one quote has been in my mind for a while. I must have seen in someone's blog or update. The quote is “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” Now, I remember... It was Michael Coates aka "The Pragmatic Evangelist", who wrote a blog entry on "Learning, Unlearning, and Relearning". That post helped me find the origin of this quote []. I learned Alvin Toffler is credited with it. He is a writer, journalist, and furturist. Compared to his journey, I feel like, I'm the opposite of an intellectual or outtellectual (is that even a word?) I think I just invented Rajib-ism.

One Guru in the techspace (Farhan Muhammad) told me technology changes every 6-12 months or so. Working as a techie dude, I realized/continue to realize every bit of what he said. I faced it when Visual studio 98, 2002, 2005, 2008, SQL Server 7.0, 2000, 2005, 2008 came out. One may want to point out, how is that 6-12 months gap? Well, these products also affect other dependent products which have to rush out there to make sure their tools of the trade are compatible or have some workaround. In my humble opinion, it's a reasonable generalization. The rule of the game is simple, we must be on the notice and at the edge of the cliff constantly. While most of the products are backward compatible, some times they are not forward compatible. That tends to make the job challenging, risky and rewarding. A solution that I may have written in .NET 1.0 world, will be completely different in the .NET 2.0 or it's successors. Similar thing happens in the SQL Server world. Either the previous solutions/methods/apis are outdated, deprecated, or we have more ways to do the same thing. This is where the learning of new tricks, unlearning of what you knew before, and relearning of how you solve a particular problem happens. A simple analogy would be some one who eats with chop stick. All of a sudden, the fork technology gets released. Now this person has to learn how to eat with the fork with proper balance, as opposed to the chop sticks. When he gets used to the forks, he has no need of the chop sticks. Anyways, I hope I'm not misusing this Toffler quote, like the way Darwin's "survival of the fittest" quote is. I did have few fun and engaging discussion with my college life biology professor on this. Interestingly enough, he's a George Harrison fan, but, I digress. We have to figure out how flexible we are as it relates to the changes.

One of my mentors, once admonished me, "Whatever you do, you must be consistent". I took that lesson to the heart, but, discipling myself to that principle is an ongoing challenge. Sometimes, I follow it quite well, and some times I have room for improvement. I wish I was a better mentee. Some time facts of life gets in the way and things get complicated. These days I try to be consistent by being agile to the challenge or issue at hand. We don't know what kind of facts we will face. As long as we work fairly and in good spirit, everything should move along fine. 

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