The old new black

December 30, 2010

I feel that the novelty of agile has worn off quite some time ago; it has become mainstream and now about everyone is ‘doing it’.

Quite many made a good profit on enjoying the sound of their own voices for two days before pronouncing a bunch of attendees ‘The Masters of The New Black’. Now we have all those previous project leaders and a few in-some-opinions-upgraded/better-paid-as-some-kind-of-leaders developers/testers renamed to Scrum masters (nothing against them, but too often I saw an ex great developer/tester becoming a not so necessary Scrum master, mostly spending their time being drowned in administrative crap). And all those newly produced Scrum masters made the management quite hopeful that they finally obtained the silver bullet by buying a pile of titles and instant education for small money. Small? I’d say it is an awful lot of money considering the value bought.

The point has been missed often, and over and over again. At first I thought it is in human nature. I am not sure. Maybe it’s habits. Old habits die hard. Old processes, titles, values are so deeply rooted in everything we do. We give things new names, invent the new black every now and then, causing us all to run in the same direction for some time, like a herd of sheep on and on again.

I’d say – put weight on technical excellence, on forming your team out of smart people with good attitudes, right values and a healthy amount of ego (nothing kills a good team spirit like one member’s big ego). Give them open hands. Give them resources and education they ask for. They’ll figure everything out without micromanagement and full-time Masters of whatever is in fashion right now.

I am not sure why I am writing all this. It all started by me wondering about this blog and about what I will blog about here in the future. This blog has my name in its url and I want to continue blogging here. I blog elsewhere about my and my husband’s cats, and write speculative/goth/noir fiction/poetry from time to time. I still do not know what I will blog about here, but my writing probably won’t be about agile.

P.S. Dear agile (and non-agile) readers, I still believe in Lean values and I like Kanban. Scrum has a great historical value. Please, let it be just that – historical.

P.P.S. There are a lot of people I respect and value who have been teaching Scrum to others. While I think highly of them, some of our views on agile differ substantially. Vive la différence! 🙂