Tuesday, May 12, 2009


Achieving Mediocrity using Agile Methods

My thinking says that if we all believe in the time honored principle of people, then process, then tools - in that order, enterprises tend to skip past the people and immediately focus on process which results in mediocrity. I was also noodling the fact that even if we were to focus on people, no one has been taught in their careers as to how to focus on people and therefore mediocrity is guaranteed.

So, if you want to roll out agile methods for either project management such as SCRUM or something focused on software development such as Extreme Programming, the enterprise needs to start thinking about people and more important which people to focus on. When kicking off agile methods, it shouldn't be about the organization chart nor be constrained to traditional influencers but you must start with identifying the innovators, the early adopters and the early majority as your starting point.

To classify people in this manner would also call out those who are part of the late majority and the laggards. The innovators, early adopters and early majority should be the target audience and hopefully you can identify enough of them to reach critical mass.

Guy Kawasaki has a term that I find amusing which he refers to as the Bozo Explosion, many folks attempting to roll out agile simply have too many elephants in the room. Trying to eat one elephant is challenging but putting multiple in the same room each with their own whim, screeds and rants is essentially futile.

Agilists sometimes make a common repeatable mistake of thinking that logic will prevail while forgetting that others they are attempting to bring into the fold are human and come with baggage that we can't simply ignore. Maybe they need to be reminded to also focus on people, then process, then tools in that order...

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