2 Agile Concepts Taken Too Far!

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The Agile Manifesto provided a lot of valuable philosophy that created modern software development. And the philosophy is extremely wise in many ways. So much so, that some people adopted the points in Agile Manifesto so rigidly to create a new form of immobility and stagnation.

#1. Individuals and Interactions over Processes and Tools

Whenever anyone discusses the Agile tools available on the market, this quickly turns into a cat fight. It typically goes like this “Tools aren’t bad. They are fine, and work great. You just don’t know how to properly use them. You rely on them too much. Don’t you know ‘Individuals and interactions over processes and tools’?”

So, should the Agile world value “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools”? Yes! Absolutely! But wouldn’t it be even great if there was a solution built for the very intended purpose to manage an Agile project? 

We’re not talking about basic tools here. There are many tools – a tool to manage an Agile Board, a tool to run Retrospectives, or tools that do Poker estimations, Roadmapping Software, etc. These really by definition are basic tools. What about a solution? A comprehensive software that encompasses all the critical “tools” and a one that is applicable for all flavors of Agile, aimed to do one thing – make managing Agile projects simple. 

However every time someone says, hey, I’m using a tool to manage the project, the immediate answer from the bulk of the community is an accusation of someone relying on tools. So does that mean we should never envision better tools for anything in Agile? Absolutely Not! It’s just that this philosophical concept is taken too far from its intended purpose – to value in person conversations over any other.  

After all, in the 12 Principles of Agile Manifesto it states “The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation” and has no mention whatsoever about technology tools or their uses.

#2 Responding to Change over Following a Plan

Agile principles promote the need to focus on quick iterations that continuously increase customer value. However, the phrase as is stated in the original form in Agile Manifesto seems to state an assumption that there does not need to be a Plan. For this very unfortunate reason, there are people that insist that you indeed do not need a plan and the plan will simply evolve on its own.

The challenge is that the Plan is necessary. The development team may have some vision into the customer’s needs, but this type of knowledge could be short sighted when it comes to the Market and competitive landscape. The Plan is what we can all rely on to prioritize what is worked on and when. And from the organization perspective, the Plan has an even bigger value, allocating budget and resources that can be invested into new features, enhancements, and capabilities.

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