Tuesday, September 13, 2011

10 Years of Agile - the Prophecy of Failure and the Failure of Prophecy

If complexity is going to be happen anyway, we have to allow those patterns to emerge from the interaction of people on projects, and from the interaction of those projects themselves. We're guilty, as a community, of signing up to "individuals and interactions over processes and tools", then mandating processes to control the interactions, while supporting the processes - and not the interactions - with tools. In future, the practices we teach will be those which enable interactions, rather than controlling them. We've seen this already with the rise of metaprocesses like Kanban. Models for understanding complexity, and particularly the complexity of people, are also being taught in Agile conferences worldwide - Systems Thinking, Complexity Thinking, psychology and sociology.

These are also the kind of practices we need to change behaviour at higher levels in the organisation; to make the impact of anti-patterns apparent. We haven't seen as much change as we prophesied at the beginning. Maybe over the next ten years, we'll see a different manifesto emerge - one which starts, "We are uncovering better ways of enabling change by doing it and helping others do it."

About the author:
Liz Keogh is an experienced Lean and Agile coach, trainer, blogger and well-known international speaker. Coming from a strong technical background, her work covers a wide variety of topics, from software development and architecture to psychology and systems thinking. She is best known for her involvement in the BDD community, and was awarded the Gordon Pask award in 2010 for deepening existing ideas in the space and "coming up with some pretty crazy ones of her own".

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