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Agile is a simple topic

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Agile is a simple topic

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 The Agile Manifesto is probably one of the best ever written manifestos in software development, if not the best. Simple and elegant. Good vs Bad 1 2 3 4, done. It is so simple that I am constantly disappointed by the amount of stuff floating on the Internet about, what is agile what is not, how to do agile, Scrum, Kanban and who knows what will pop up next year claiming to to be another king of agile.

If I ever tell you we are a purist agile team and we don't have sprints, we don't have stand up meetings, we don't story board, we don't have burn down charts, we don't have planning poker cards, and we don't have any of the buzzwords--most of the so called IT consultants would hang me on the spot.

Let's face it, being pure isn't about what you have, it is about what you don't! Pure gold has nothing but gold that's why it is super valuable. We should build our teams on developers, code and business needs. The three pure ingredient of a team, any one taken away and the team is no more.

Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.
- Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Exactly, the manifesto is saying "we value less on processes and tools" and yet we have seen all kinds of weird super-imposed processes and tools everywhere. "Look, we have stand-ups, we have sprints, we have story boards, therefore we are agile". NO, absolutely NOT. You can walk like a duck and quack like duck, but you are still not a duck.

But why the hype anyway?

Partly the consulting companies are to be blamed, they try to sell the buzz words to management so that they can make money by simply asking the developers to do what they already know, writing code, but in a different way.

The biggest enemies are all the developers, especially the team leaders and managers. Because they are too lazy to know the developers (the people), too lazy to learn the code (the working software) and too lazy to analyze the business needs. Because "in the end of the day I need to show my developers that I am doing a manager's work", "what is the shortcut?", "look, I just got this scrum from a random blog post: stand-ups, 5 mins, no problems. Poker cards, easy. Story boards, no big deal ... ". "Done, now we are scrum, now we are agile, if the thing fails, it is the developers' problem". Goodbye, there goes a team.

So now you ask me, "You said agile is simple, why does it look so hard now?"
Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple.
-Woody Guthrie
People are born equal, a genius doesn't magically pop up, it takes real hard work to reach that level. Let's go back to the origin, the mighty manifesto.

Get rid of all unnecessary processes and tools, and go talk to people. "What is Jimmy's strength? What can we do to make up for Sam's weakness? Are David and Carl a good pair?".

Stop typing inside Word or Excel, go read the real code, "What can we do to enhance the clarity of the code, how to improve performance without too much sacrifice, what are the alternative ways to extend our software?"

Stop coming up with imaginary use cases, go meet the customer "What are your pain points, what are the 3 most important features that need to be enhanced and delivered? Based on our statistics, we believe if we build feature X in such a way, the business can grow in Y%, do you think we should do this?"

Stop wasting our life on keeping a useless backlog, go see the 3 biggest opportunities and threats and work on them, rinse and repeat. If fact that is exactly how evolution brought humanity to this stage, "eliminate the immediate threat to ensure the short term survival, and seek the opportunities for long-term growth". As we are all descendents of mother nature, we are incapable of out-smarting her, so learn from her.

Real process/methodology grows from the team, it is not superimposed on to the team.

Real process/methodology does not have a name because it is unique to each team

Grow your own dream team!

Thanks for reading my rant.

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