Yes , the title of this article uses a negative format and I completely assume it. Because it is, first of all, a “stop the massacre” cry. Stop the massacre of trying to melt people brains, and pour it into compliance molds.
Michael Ballé , an inspiring Lean expert, said: “search for people involvement not for people compliance” . I dream to change the world so this becomes a reality.
Image from “Spread Science” Blog
(My) Agile Thinking Manifesto
The thoughtful ideas of Michael Ballé just mentioned above, gave me the incentive to seek my personal reference of principles that would make Agile Transformation sustainable by people’s own free will and active involvement. The focus on providing sets of checklists was identified by Jean Tabaka‘ as one of Agile implementations causes of failure
These two, and my Agile adventures-experience, gave me the idea of ( My) Agile Thinking Manifesto. The first principle lyes here :
Leverage people intelligence over checklists
When starting an Agile Implementation initiative, one of the common requirement is a checklist of “something” (practices, IT tools, artifacts, virtues of the best Agile performer and so on) . Execution of each element on that list is expected to ensure “better than the best” organizations. This mindset comes from decades of “command and control” model , where some smart responsible people ( in charge of very important stuff) need to check if some other – immature by default – people, “behave themselves” properly.
It is difficult both sides : either from a management perspective where checking is the essence of control of compliance, or from teams members that were used to be told “how to do stuff” and wait “for the receipt” ( checklist) .
By the way , if you ever experienced cooking using a receipt, I wonder if the information that is in the receipt was enough for you to make great food ; just followed instructions , nothing more nothing less.
The reality of trenches shows that filling compliance criteria in checklists does not make great Agile organizations.
As cooking receipts, checklists are useful. You cannot ride a bike if you don’t have a bike. I believe more in the checklists that teams build for themselves, using their experience. I love my bike because I know how to handle it. I’ll do great cakes because I know how a good composition and a good baked cake should look like
Looking for checklist compliance is a “termination short-termism” attitude (Michael Ballé, The Lean Manager”) . Checklist compliance lasts the time of checking. People involvement lasts the time they will be proud of what they are doing.
As long as people are not involved to try things and challenge them afterwards , there is no success and no performance. And most of all, no hope.
Preserve hope, do not to give-up your intelligence for checklist compliance!
Disclaimer and Invitation
This “just another manifesto” about Agile mindset will not be “just another checklist” that proclaims to be the “ultimate truth” about thinking . Nevertheless, if anyone want to step-in and contribute to it , you are more than welcomed!