Unresolved issues in Agile

Here are three unresolved debates that many people seem to have agreed to stop having:

  • When do Agile teams need to be deftly led in the right direction, and when can managers/leaders/ScrumMasters/those-responsible-for-a-budget just sit back and let them figure it out?

  • On the spectrum between intensely-focused specialists and generalists who do everything they do with the same skill, where do we want team members? in what combinations?

  • To what extent does Agile require “better” (along some dimension) people?

The tacit, path-of-least-resistance result is not to my taste. In the worst cases I see and hear of, the answers are:

  • With the increased emphasis on leadership and greater focus on the executive suite, the tilt is toward guided or nudged teams over “self-organizing” teams.

  • What difference does it make? We’ve got the people we’ve got, and we’ll make the best of them.

  • Ditto, and however those people improve themselves and along what axes is going to depend on the happenstance thrown up by the day-to-day work.

Perhaps I exaggerate. Early exposure to Norse mythology has made me hypersensitive to centres not holding and that famous quote from Hunter S. Thompson:

We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave. So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark—the place where the wave finally broke and rolled back.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.