OK. Enough is enough. There’s a thread about imposing Agile practices on Twitter that’s grown a lot. Ron Jeffries, Liz Keogh, Eric Willeke and several dozen others are speaking their minds about the issue of when it’s OK (or not) to impose Agile practices on teams regardless of what they think about it.
There is a lot of confusion about the topic.
My position is clear: with very few exceptions, inviting is superior in every conceivable way to imposition for the vast majority of use cases that fall under the bell curve of typical situations.
Yes, there are a few edge cases, such as when the company will fail in 6 months if something is not done. Or when all of the best talent has already vacated for obvious reasons. Those are outliers, edge cases. Maybe 10 or 15% of the total set of all use cases for so-called “Agile transformation.” As I have said before, a stopped clock is right 2 minutes a day. That’s a tiny minority of the 1440 minutes available, and it doesn’t mean that clock ever actually worked. Yes, I too can cite edge-case examples of when the brushing of teeth is not advised. Does that imply that the brushing of teeth in the main does not work, or is not advised? Does it mean that not brushing teeth is as good a practice as brushing teeth daily? No, and no.
So there you have it: my position, on the matter of The Agile Imposition. My Tweets pretty much sum up how I feel and you can see those here: (link)
Martin Fowler warned about this in 2006 and again recently, in 2018.
Is anyone listening?
To be clear, I have done my very best to incite, elicit or otherwise arouse a conversation about this. And now we have one. It’s curious to watch what’s happening. Several of the participants chide me for various sins: self-selecting data, engaging in hyperbole, yelling, or even being full of sh**.
But these same participants remain mysteriously drawn to and remain in the conversation. And new folks are joining.
That means they CARE.
You can see it all here. Scroll it to view: (link)
I am grateful to each and every one that is participating. Some have asked me what I want, asking me to suggest a next step. Others are curious what the call to action actually is. Well, here it is. But first the definitions:
Now you know my position on this, so there’s nothing further for me to say. But lots of others seem to be OK with imposing Agile practices; that is, forcing those practices regardless of any lack of willingness on the part of those affected. From my point of view, you DO need to ask what the level of willingness is, without any threat of sanctions for the “wrong answer,” if you are to have any idea of what that level of willingness actually is. I have found that inviting everyone in one big room, after opening a little space for people to actually speak their mind, is usually the best way to ask people and find out.
Others disagree, as usual.
Here are some of the comments:
Now folks are asking for what’s next here. Asking what the call to action is. What the next step is. Asking where we are going with this. For example:
THE CALL TO ACTION: YOU’RE INVITED!
OK; here it is: Speak Your Mind.
Document a statement of position, for or against.
If you care whatsoever about this topic, here is your chance. This is your invitation to say something about where YOU stand in this issue of pushing Agile practices on teams without respect to what they want, what they think or what they feel about THAT.
You are invited to simply articulate your position, in public.
For, or against, imposing compliance.
For, or against, inviting participation.
For, or against.
Take a position.
Wait. WHY BOTHER ??
So you can clarify your thinking.
So the Agile world can figure out exactly where you stand on this. Or not, depending on how you tell the tale.
The general idea is to see where various individuals in the #Agile space actually stand on this.
Another goal is to see who cares. There sure are a lot of vocal people in the #Agile space. Right? So, who will we hear from? Who will stand aside?
Another objective with this idea is to engage in some genuinely civil discourse around this potentially incendiary topic.
Imagine that, in this day and age. Civil discourse.
Do feel free to send this link to others and invite them to clarify, in public, where they stand on this topic. Every invitation generates some real feedback. Who will opt in (or out) if you invite them? Find out. Then inspect and adapt….
Participation is 100% optional. Do feel free to opt out if this game is not your cup of tea.
Some general ground rules: suggestions
1. Use any medium you like. Your blog. Social media. Podcast. Youtube video. Get creative.
2. Try to keep it to less than 800 words if you can; people have short attention spans these days.
3. Post the link on Twitter using the hashtag #InviteOrImpose
When you do these things, you’ll be telling the world exactly where you stand on this. Or not, depending on how you tell the tale.
The basic guidelines (suggestions) are the 1-2-3 listed above. Any medium; less than 800 words if you can; post to Twitter with the #InviteOrImpose hashtag.
You can track the progress (or the lack of it) by browsing the #InviteOrImpose hashtag on Twitter
Here’s some background links to get you started:
Original Twitter thread: (link)
The Agile Industrial Complex: (link)