Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Perfect Process Doesn't Always Make Perfect Product

Agile is the evolutionary equivalent of the Neanderthal in human evolution, not quite perfect but sustainable.  This evolutionary milestone is a testament to the state of modern application and collaboration technology. We now have the tools to enable self organizing  cross-functional teams  to collaborate on requirements and solutions.  Tools like Slack, Confluence, Trello provide the collaboration channels these teams can use to follow the Agile process.  The Agile process is an iterative development process, where requirements and solutions evolve efficiently through collaboration and realignment, and each iteration delivers shippable product.

Early morning scrum meetings, sprints, backlog grooming, planning, estimation, demo and post mortem's the process is well defined but flexible.  But sometimes the process becomes the 'finger pointing at the moon' the team becomes more focused on the process than the product.  This is especially true of teams that don't follow and learn from their product as it is shipped into the market, as an MVP or simply a new version.  Without a feedback loop a system or process can't adjust it's performance to meet the desired output, or what the customer really wants, it just keeps putting out ... well stuff.  I have seen more than one highly efficient agile team follow an optimized process and produce bits that no one ever used, and it's a shame, customer feedback would have changed everything.  Spend more time looking at the product and not the process.

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