Where playing music and developing software mashup.

I seem to find connections everywhere I look. I’m sure you do too. Having been a DJ and a Designer/Developer and Product Owner I have noticed a big connection to music and software development, specifically Agile vs Waterfall and Set-lists vs Impromptu sessions. I see a big connection to DJing and the feedback and iteration loops in software development. As a DJ you are really on a real time iteration and continual release cycle. Before the gig you do a release plan, then at the gig you release a song to the crowd, get feedback, plan the next release based on the feedback, then release another song, and the loop continues, all the while pleasing the customers.

In my opinion, if you are a good DJ you are an Agile DJ, and you are truly crowd focused (with some limitations, ie: “requests”, that is a longer and different article). I see an Agile DJ as one that has a plan but adapts to feedback as quickly as possible and adjusts as needed. When I was DJing a lot I never had a fixed set-list, but I always had a “plan”. I would also bring multimedia (cd, vinyl, digital, etc) and extra equipment (needles, cables, etc)  just in case it was needed. Unlike what I have seen in Waterfall DJs with fixed preplanned set-list and fixed media, and when the laptop DJs equipment fails, the songs are not going over well, or extra songs are needed, basically there is no back up or room for change (this also overlaps with my Jack of All – Master of One post).

As an Agile DJ I would think about the environment, location/city, time of day, club/venue, sound system/equipment, indoor/outdoor, audience/demographic, who is playing before & after me, how long am I playing, and also what I was really feeling at the time. I would then prepare a bunch of music for the night, a plan for what I wanted to play and when it would possibly fit in with the night and the other tracks, but not a fixed order, just an idea of how I thought I would like it to go. Sometimes it did go that way, but more often the set needed to be felt out and changed as the night progressed and some reprogramming would always happen.

I personally loved the feedback loop and feeling out a crowd to see what would grab them and then take it from there. I see this love from other musicians as well, similar to jam bands and great jazz there is a plan but mostly impromptu changes that are real time. The Waterfall DJs and musicians are similar to a composed symphony orchestra or a fixed set-list of a band, no room for improvisation or change.

Are you an Agile DJ?

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