Monday, August 26, 2019

No Common Sense in Agile

People say that agile is “just common sense.” 

I wish.

I mean, it’s well-precedented and everything makes sense. But there is nothing common about it. 

It’s still a counter-cultural and counter-intuitive movement, to such an extent that most companies can’t tolerate it and have to compromise and cripple it immediately, even during adoption. Often before adoption.

Two problems with the “common sense” label:
  • It’s not common at all. 
  • It’s unpalatably sensible.

Just the simple idea of forming teams with all the skills necessary to do the job — that’s so uncommon as to earn an “uncommonly sensible” label.  

The idea of management “providing the environment and support they need” seems so backward to many companies as to be unthinkable (literally — they can’t think this way). 

And let’s not even try to penetrate with the idea of producing code that works every week, instead of (traditionally) code that may work someday when all the (traditionally) not-cross-functional teams finish all the bits and pieces and we (traditionally) take time to integrate it all together and test it in the final days and hours before (traditional) release.

And stopping to reflect on how you can do a better job? Most companies lock into a pattern and continue without ever questioning the way they work. For people to not only inspect but reflect and adapt? People scream “too much change! Thrash! Inconsistency! Hard to predict!” ...and stop all forward progress.  

Every time someone says “it’s just common sense” I want to ask why people aren’t commonly doing it? Because even companies that identify themselves as “agile” aren’t doing these basic things.

And now the aggressively-sensible method is expanded out of software and into other industries where it is equally radical and hard to swallow, but still produces great results. 

If you’re interested, consider how common and palatable and easy ModernAgile is:
  • Make (other) People Awesome
  • Make Safety The Prerequisite 
  • Experiment and Learn Rapidly
  • Deliver Value Continuously
Sensible? Yes.
Principled? Yes.
Common? Not.

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