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Managed Chaos
Naresh Jain's Random Thoughts on Software Development and Adventure Sports
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Process OVER People

At the last Agile Coach Camp I gave a lightening talk on “Process OVER People”. In this talk I requested all the coaches present at the conference to really think about their advice to companies. Are we trying to put a process boundary and become Process police? Is this coaching? A lot of coaches I meet, recommend “First do it by the Book, then deviate”. What does “First Do it by the Book” mean? I appreciate the book and I think there is a wealth of knowledge out there. But we should remember the book was written with some context in mind and at some point in time. One cannot blindly take what is in the book and try to apply it. That really feels like “Process OVER People” to me. You need to take your team into account. You need to consider what you are trying to build and most importantly you need to prioritize what needs to be fixed on your team or in your organization before trying to go and “Do it by the Book”.

Over the last couple of years I really feel Agile is gone into a mass-production mode and we’ve stopped innovating. Every company wants to be Agile. This has lead to a huge demand for Agile Coaches. And because of this you find all kind of people claiming to be Agile coaches. What surprises me is a lot of these folks have themselves never really worked on an Agile project. Forget Agile project, a lot them don’t really have a successful project delivery story to share. How can one preach something and do something else (or do nothing)? My belief is that one needs to lead by example and not my blabbering crap.

I asked the participants at the conference to tell me what new tricks, techniques, tips, practices, etc they have learnt in the last one or two. Very few people (may be 2 out of 50) had something to share. Are we getting so busy mass producing what onces worked that we have forgot to go back into the trenches and try new things? My fear is that if we continue this way, Agile will soon be the next CMM (at least the bad implementations of it, which is most common).

If you are interested in some background about where I’m coming from, you can read my position paper for the Agile Coach Camp.

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