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Learning through Reflection while implementing an Agile software development methodology—Beatrice Ngo

Learning through Reflection while implementing an Agile software development methodology
This reflective report explores the topics of ‘reflection’ and ‘learning through reflection’ within the context of the project environment within one of Australia’s major telecommunications companies (hereby referred to as ‘The Company’).

The project was to develop and deploy a comprehensive new software development methodology within The Company; a methodology based on the Information Technology paradigm of ‘Agile Software Development’.

Implementing Agile methodology within The Company involved:
—Industry and vendor engagement to develop a comprehensive ‘best practice’ Agile methodology and framework which also met the specific needs of The Company.
—Training for staff within the large Information Technology department of The Company.
—The implementation of new metrics and measures to reflect on, and validate the success of, the new methodology.

The Agile methodology implemented within The Company incorporates a significant amount of reflective practice in the form of ‘retrospectives’. A retrospective is “a meeting held by the project team at the end of a project or process to discuss what was successful about the project or time period covered by that retrospective, what could be improved, and how to incorporate the successes and improvements in future iterations or projects”. The retrospective process:
—Is an example of Social Learning.
—Is an example of Experiential Learning.
—Is not an example of Problem-Based Learning.

The Company achieved several benefits through the use of reflective practice in the form of these retrospectives – such as:
—Increased trust within the project team.
—More effective reflection on work performance.
—More effective project debriefings.

Through reflection over time, The Company learnt various lessons in terms of ‘common ailments’ regarding their Agile projects, and suitable cures for each issue.

‘Learning through reflection’ could have improved the outcome of this project in various ways, such as:
—Allowing the project team to achieve ‘double-loop learning’.
—Allowing team members to learn from their failures.
—Slowing the pace of learning, allowing proper comprehension.
—Allowing ‘deep’ learning to take place.

Author: Beatrice Ngo
Review status: Postgraduate assignment (University of Technology Sydney)

July 25, 2012