I went to the agile RTP meeting yesterday and heard Johanna Rothman talk about agile development. Great talk. Nice to hear someone reinforce the ideals of agile development.
My biggest question is not that it's a tough market, have people lost the courage to stand up to non-agile or ill-conceived management decisions? With the corporate stand being one of "do it or we'll find someone who will" doesn't this make our jobs that much harder? I posed this question to Ms. Rothman and the answer is obviously yes. It was interesting that her answer also included the idea that people are staying at the wrong job longer, rather than chance moving to a new opportunity for which they may be better suited.
Think about that for a moment - not only is the economy putting pressure on people to perform in a manner that may be beyond reason, it's keeping the wrong people in the wrong position. When we have a turnaround in the economy the chickens will come home to roost.
This is a great time for a forward thinking company to bring on the best people and innovate - not just survive. With so many corporations cutting corners and developing products or supporting products in survival mode, those that take advantage now and look toward growth will be richly rewarded when the economy turns around (and it will) and competition is just starting to innovate.
For individuals, now is the time to really dig into what you're doing. If you are in QA, dig into the code and learn to write fixtures, if you're a BA, learn to read the code, if you're a scrum master, you need to wear an architect hat. Now is not the time to simply be a manager - learn something new on the job to enrich your resume.