(This is a four part blog addressing Processes and Tools within Software Culture. This first part discusses our past and its relationship to the Agile Manifesto. Part II can be found here.)
Are we still trying to fix Individuals & Interactions with Processes & Tools?
Even today, the topic of people in software creation is as relevant as ever – perhaps our most important topic. But despite making the claims of the Manifesto, are we still failing in the same predictable ways? It seems like discussion groups are still intensely debating the Tools that help us do our work, but we still seem to have our usual aversion to talking about Individuals & Interactions…
Surely if we valued Individuals & Interactions (over processes & tools,) we'd be talking more about them, right? And here's something else I'm most curious about over a decade after the manifesto…
Does claiming that you're Agile guarantee superior Individuals & Interactions?
I see Agile practitioners debating and touting Processes & Tools – just as guilty as "those other guys". It also seems that they are failing just as miserably with their own Individuals & Interactions. Evidently, claiming that you're Agile doesn't exempt you from our industry stereotype – so perhaps we should quit hiding behind institutional names (Agile, Waterfall, SCRUM, Kanban, Lean and all their hybrids) and have some engaged discussions about what these Professional Skills actually mean.
But we don't.
Instead, we prefer to engage in narrow religious debates over the definitions of our names; comparing our particular camps and the minutia of our denominations. We wax lyrical over our tools and "best-practices" while our clients and users still suffer and still ridicule us from the sidelines.
Making the claim of Agile practitioner is no different than a developer starting a business, slapping on the title of President and believing that the skills of Leadership, Sales & Marketing will magically descend from the heavens and imbue you.
Adopting institutional labels does not excuse you from bad behavior nor does it create new skills and habits.
Agile affords us an expectation that things will be better but it's still about WHAT you practice. That's more important than certifications, institutional camps or letters after your name. I've yet to see a certification for practicing Common Sense, Exercising Good Judgement or Paying Attention. I wish there were. Because that's what good Individuals & Interactions skills are… (Not to mention the simple art of driving…)
If you're still replacing Individuals & Interactions with Processes & Tools chances are you're not Agile.