A funny, not so fictional story, of a consultant explaining that agile is not so a methodology to a PMI member

I take the time from the airport to read and I was urge to write to you about a nice debate we could have had in another context of our last workshop on Wednesday.

I remind you that the goal of where we’ve meet Wednesday was an assessment workshop on capacity and maturity of going TO BE agile for your organization and not mushing our fellow colleague and newbies with philosophy and non value debate between a PMP certified and a consultant from the scrum lean agile trench such as myself.

Although, as both passionate professionals I though it will be interesting of me, to share with you, this story, from O’Hare Airport awaiting my flight to Austin.

I have a scientific background, in cosmology and I had learn Lean, Scrum, XP and agility from the greatest thinkers in the last 16 years.  I wanted to offer you that some of our peers, even from the signatories, still think that the chosen word «Agile» was incorrect or flawless or even mushy and also couldn’t agreed on a common ground for what is a methodology vs a framework.  Except from my Master Mike Beedle and his Master Ken Schwaber.

Here is why.  The responsible is Jim Highsmith, one of the signatory and Tech journalist, Programmer that wrote back in 2001-2002 a paper on the Agile Manifesto History.  He is responsible for the fact that we forgot it was agile «software development» and also tries to explain to the anarchist perception and wall between those of the signatories that were more anarcho-scientific  (my clan) of those who were more conservative methodologist with acceleration process.  

I let you the judge of who was on what side on this.  Albeit, I remind you that I am a Beedle’s legacy scrumalist son and Beedle himself was close to Ken Schwarber that also teach us a lot of being disruptive and hard.   Mike, like myself have background in Physic. 

I recall that, one day at a Scrum Gathering in Boston, back in 2006 I was please to attend a dinner where Jeff Shuterland and Mike Beedle, alongside Dave Thomas and Robert C Martin, cornered Ken in a funny way about being hard and disruptive.  Ken reply with his archness and hardiest : «Fuck off you all with your Highsmith thinking on Methodologies that is a counter revolution of what WE try to uncover : WAYS, not bureaucratic methods nor expertise, but ways that will bring us in the summit of quality and a better human and technology experience.»

Voilà!   I did realize a large scale of shades of grays in my experience with the agility movement.  In at that dinner I was but dazed and confused to see myself agreeing with Highsmith objectivity that I quote below and the openness of Mike towards is idol Ken.   What I learn from that is the need to balance and canalize our passion and be empirical.  it’s not about us, it’s about a fine balance with what we project into the greatest and what could come back to us.

Here’s a summary extract from Jim Highsmith, that had not pervert Ken, Mike and myself efforts to go beyond the wall of resistance and deception put forward by the traditionalists. Au contraire,  on a positive light side, his paper also brought the fundamental of our collective effort to aim on excellence and stop being mushy foolish Dilbert and restore common sens and focus on objective not subjective ego 🙂 

Jim Highsmith QUOTE : In order to succeed in the new economy, to move aggressively into the era of e-business, e-commerce, and the web, companies have to rid themselves of their Dilbert manifestations of make-work and arcane policies. This freedom from the inanities of corporate life attracts proponents of Agile Methodologies, and scares the begeebers (you can’t use the word ‘shit’ in a professional paper) out of traditionalists. Quite frankly, the Agile approaches scare corporate bureaucrats— at least those that are happy pushing process for process’ sake versus trying to do the best for the “customer” and deliver something timely and tangible and “as promised”—because they run out of places to hide.

The Agile movement is not anti-methodology, in fact, many of us want to restore credibility to the word methodology.We want to restore a balance. We embrace modeling, but not in order to file some diagram in a dusty corporate repository. We embrace documentation, but not hundreds of pages of never-maintained and rarely-used tomes. We plan, but recognize the limits of planning in a turbulent environment. Those who would brand proponents of XP or SCRUM or any of the other Agile Methodologies as “hackers” are ignorant of both the methodologies and the original definition of the term hacker. : END of QUOTE

Cheers and have a wonderful weekend and hope to achieve together.

Your coach, AF being Agile AF 🙂


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