Thursday, March 3, 2011
You see, the village elders, who were set in their ways and had firmly planted roots in their village, appreciated hearing news from surrounding villages and always enjoyed the stories of mystery and adventure that were shared by the Tinker. However, while the elders were wise and understood these tales of fantasy for what they were, the youth of the village would often find intrigue, inspiration and sometimes a longing to leave the village.
These youth, of course, were silly! Wanting to pursue individuality and autonomy, seeking to perhaps improve or master their skills, and most naively of all, a desire to be a part of something bigger than themselves; to find a grand purpose.
The village elders, who were wise in the ways of the world and knew how things really worked, found that these intrinsic motivators were a powerful force on the impressionable minds of the village youth. Given how unreasonable and strong willed youth can be it was much easier to simply have the youth avoid the Tinkers than expose the youth and then attempt to dissuade them. After all, it was the best thing for the village strategically, and change to the normal order of things in the village would only cause upset. Besides, how would the village ever survive, as it always has, if the youth ran off to explore, discover, and learn new things instead of filling their duty to the village; plowing fields, thatching roofs, and all the other tasks needed to sustain village life as it has always been. Madness and chaos would surely ensue!
Yes, Tinkers were useful. They would come in and fix a few small things, and that is all the village really wanted. A village would never intentionally expose their youth to them and bring in unwanted change.
The danger of bringing in an external Agile Coach...
When an organization doesn’t understand that agile will expose cracks in a foundation, that its continuously optimizing nature is inherently holistic, there is danger. The danger lies in being brought in to “only improve a team”. This is a local optimization, but can certainly be done; practices and methods can be made better. The small things can be “fixed”. Eventually though, as the team gets better all around, they will also understand this is a sub-optimization. They might start asking questions, seeking autonomy, mastery, and purpose. They might want to improve more than just themselves. They may ask the rest of the organization to embrace this philosophy and to embark on a journey of exploration, discovery, and learning.
But of course the organization’s elders, who are wise in the ways of the world and know how things really work will discourage this. However, the team may have heard stories of mystery and adventure from the Agile Coach about other companies that were trying new things, doing things differently and embracing change.
The danger is obviously these unreasonable, strong-willed team members may be inspired to leave the village, and then the village will surely die!
Posted by Matt Barcomb at 8:41 AM