When I formed Net Objectives in 1999 its tagline was “Software Development without suffering.”
Ironically, as Agile has crossed the chasm to include both early and late adopters I see even more suffering.
Our popular frameworks are geared towards getting people to follow and be inured to difficulty from the team to organization levels.
There is a better way.
Many of you sense this. Some of you know this.
I am working towards this, as are several others.
It is time to clear the space created by embracing complexity, failing fast, and following until you understand. These statements both demean and disempower people.
We are more capable than this.
Managers, in particular, have been demeaned. I believe most want to make a difference. Unfortunately, the Agile world first ignored them, then vilified them (“chickens and pigs”, “permafrost”), and is now trying to make them subservient to the teams.
Most managers I know got where they are by being great problem solvers. Now, they are being provided little to do in the Agile space – certainly not being given opportunities worthy of their skills. The reaction of many is predictable.
Times are changing. The shine of Agile has already been lost. And the Scrum Master and Agile coaching roles are being questioned.
But the dogma of the Agile camps grows each year.
I believe there is a better way.
We can have joy in our work. But we must learn to think for ourselves.
This can be scary. It is often easier to just follow the way everyone else is. If things don’t work out simply shrug the blame off to Agile.
I am working towards making learning and improving the standard.
Being more joyful.
This takes work, of course.
We can be effective and strive for improvement. Not merely remove impediments we didn’t need to hit in the first place.
There is a difference between working hard to achieve results and struggling because we have been told mastery is difficult. Mastery of innovation is rarely achieved. But mastery of how we work is not that difficult. Saying so is self-serving.
There are two insights that indicate why so many are stuck.
Edgar Schein’s “We do not think and talk about what we see. We see what we are able to think and talk about.”
Our current methods limit what we think and talk about. Any attempt at questioning them invites you to personal attacks.
Our popular frameworks restrict us when they should be guiding us and opening up new opportunities, not making us figure things out within restrictive frameworks.
Consider Eli Goldratt’s observation that “A comfort zone has less to do with control and more to do with knowledge.”
The limitations I’ve mentioned earlier keep us from understanding.
They are self-serving and have caused the stagnation we see now.
I see a better future.
I hope you do as well.