Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Cool Agile Quotes

Some great quotes on their website:

Distance is an excuse to postpone action. The more time you allocate to your projects, the longer it will be before you take action.

Transparency equals control. Transparency in product development means visibility into whats happening...and what isn't.

A note on that. Command and control is a paradigm of that a single hierarchical group or person can control complex systems behavior by establishing direction and by tightly controlling variance to that direction. Transparency, as I see it, means that there is only general direction, but that daily activities are visilbe to the stakeholders. So while they do not control the day to day activities, they can see them, and see what is causing them. You view behavior of a system rather than its individual components, and then correct by usually removing things outside of that system that are causing slowness or issues. If the problem is inside the system, since in Agile systems are small and peer-based, it should correct itself before its affect is obvious to an outside observer.

Agile Journal - Software Development Screwtape Letter

As both an agile advocate and a CS Lewis fan, this got me. One interesting concept from this, one that I had not heard, was that of a "cargo cult". I see cargo cults as the primary risk in going forward with top-down agile implementations, especially if the "top" doesn't get it.

Cargo cults:
During World War II a number of airbases were built on remote tropical islands inhabited by pre-industrial societies. During the war soldiers built airfields and control towers and engaged in various activities that resulted in large airplanes full of cargo landing and discharging their contents. The native inhabitants shared this cargo. After the war the soldiers departed and no more cargo was available to the natives. So they adopted, as best they could, the superficial form of airstrips, control towers, and ritual behaviors intended to induce the return of planes full of cargo. A cargo cult is any group that adopts form instead of substance and believes that doing so will bring about a desired result.

Agile Journal - Software Development Screwtape Letter