Individuals and interactions, more than ever
More than ever, with technological progress, we need to reinforce the very first axiom of the Agile Manifesto.
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The first axiom of the Agile Manifesto is "Individuals and interactions over processes and tools." This was written in 2001, in the middle of the Internet bubble, at a time far away from the rise of tech giants like Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon. There was no desire to question this axiom, but the world has changed a lot over the past 18 years, and the nature of individuals and interactions has and will continue to change. Two areas of technological growth in particular have had a significant impact on this principle.
The Smartphone Era
To believe that the appearance of the smartphone has little impact on interpersonal relationships would be a serious mistake. It's a technology so significant that it has changed our civilization! Previously, knowledge was primarily found in books, newspapers, and universities. Now, knowing and connecting with anyone is done through that smartphone in your pocket. Knowledge spreads much more quickly, without interpersonal dependency, and without necessarily needing face-to-face relationships. This increases the possibility of not only working remotely, but also of working with people remotely. On the other hand, most Agile literature talks about Agile workshops and committees planned to take place in-house, with everyone in the same place. This does not mean that I personally prefer that everyone be in the same place, but very little thought is given to collaborative teleworking and the organizational consequences that this entails. Do you know of a serious game that is played remotely? This ultra-connection leads to an ultra-disconnection between people, and it's a key issue in software development. We do need to ensure that everyone is truly connected to each other, intellectually and emotionally.
The Age of AI
With the explosion of the AI, there exists a risk that truth could change sides. It is no longer a website written by a human being, a colleague, or a book, but a black box that tells you how to proceed. It is difficult to imagine the consequences to date, knowing that the AI wave is not yet over. It is simple, and perhaps naive, to say that AI will not interfere everywhere, that the human being will remain behind AI on the enlightened advice of technicians who know its limitations. However, with the benefits of cost efficiency and position fulfillment, managers are more inclined than ever to invest and utilize AI and automation wherever possible. This mindset does jobs quicker and more efficiently than ever before, but without the finesse, empathy and human sensitivity. Agility must, therefore, now more than ever, highlight the importance of individuals and interactions, both in terms of humanist motivation and economic motivation. Because if we do not resist the risks of overusing AI, our relational tissues would be intertwined with the machine, and we would then be confined to roles that the AI cannot perform, either roles with very high added value, or roles of total ingratitude.
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