Saturday, January 1, 2011

Relationships and Results

As I am working on my review of The Agile Samurai, a thought occurs to me.  A team's ability to achieve results is inextricably related to the relationships in which the team participates.  What does the agile manifesto say about this?

  • Helping others do it
  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools 
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
  • Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
  • Uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation
  • Responding to change over following a plan 
  • Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
  • Working software is the primary measure of progress.
  • Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
  • Simplicity--the art of maximizing the amount of work not done--is essential.
  • The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  • At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.
Both Relationships and Results
  • Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  • Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage. 
  • The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
  • Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  • Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.

Now I don't want to be accused of engaging in studying the agile manifesto like theology and I don't intend to say that this is some hidden truth.  In fact, I'm half afraid that after posting this "revelation" I will discover that it is old news and I have added nothing to the conversation.  Further, I recognize that you may not categorize the elements of the agile manifesto in the same way that I have here.
In this instance I refuse to be deterred from exploring this (if only for my own growth).  I have always known that relationships drive results.  It is only recently that I have chosen to analyze the agile movement in this simple way.  I find it reassuring to recognize that when viewed through the prism of these fundamental ingredients to success, the agile manifesto strikes me as concisely relevant on a subject which has produced countless tomes.

Uncovering better ways of doing it (relationships)
In my own quest to uncover better ways of developing software, I have been challenged by time, lack of talent, tools, and technology.  I work around them, compromise, seek assistance, and/or negotiate enough to overcome and produce results.

In contrast, I have seen nothing in my career that thwarts results like bad relationships.  For some reason, I just find these challenges more difficult to overcome.  Perhaps if I spent as much time working on this intangible skill as I do on my technical skills I would be less daunted.  Only when I uncover better ways of relating to people will I truly be capable of helping others do the same.