There’s been a thread recently on Clarke Ching‘s SellingAgile list about selling agile to developers. My approach has always been to ‘just do it’ and lead by example. Here’s the story I told on the list:
I too was faced with this problem about four years ago. I believed the book, but I had never tried it for real, so why would anyone else believe me? So I just started to follow the advice in the XP white book on my ‘own’ subsystem (yes, it was that kind of shop). After a couple of months I started to get the hang of things, and ‘my’ software started to be much better. At that point other developers began to notice things like the hourly build and the test suite (and the lack of bugs ;-). Soon most of them wanted to try it, and we were off down the agile road.
(As it happens, potential management objections never materialised, because I was soon promoted to lead that project. I’d like to think that was because of my natural charm and leadership abilities, but more likely it had something to do with working software delivered on time and with fewer defects…)