Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools

Agile manifesto says, “Individuals and Interactions over Process and Tools”, what does it really mean?
It talks about people! It means culture, organization, behavior, practices, environment, personalities, chemistry, synergy and friendship matters more than process and tools.
To understand this better, let us take a real life example. Suppose you and your friends were playing football. Suddenly one of your friends collapsed. What would you do?
Couple of you will suddenly carry him out of the ground, someone else will bring water, someone else will call doctor, someone else will get their car ready to take him to the hospital, someone else will find out the best hospital nearby, someone else will try to figure out, his medical history etc.
If you step out and observe, what would you notice? You will see the real team work. Each one of the team knows the end goal, which is to save the life of his friend. He is motivated to do anything and everything for achieving the end result. Everyone is taking initiatives; the natural leader in them is active now!
Do we see such behavior in our office premises? Do we see such motivation in our daily work environment? Time to think, better late than never!
We should understand that software teams consist of knowledge workers. We need to consider the people and how they work together more than the traditional process definitions because if we don’t get the former right, the best process in the world also is of no use. Processes and tools are important but it is not as important as the people involved and how they work together and how effectively they interact. The process and tools are there to support and enhance the effectiveness of their work and to enable them to achieve results faster.
What is do you think about the success behind facebook and Google . They leveraged the human tendency to socialize! As human beings we are by nature social animals. We live in clusters, we build relations, we do enjoy meeting people, we like to spend time with family, etc.
What if , we simulate the such environment in our work place ? If we have all our close friends sitting together, around a table, you are by nature motivated to head to the office no matter what! You will never hesitate to share your new ideas and thoughts about what you do. You won’t think twice to help your friend who is struggling to solve a problem.
Now, we have a situation where we have all our friends together around a table doing similar things helping each other etc. Now I am not seeing individuals with labels like: Developer, Tester, Architect, Writer or Manager! All are my friends working together to achieve a common goal. We don’t have managers we have only “Leaders”. I am Empowered and not controlled. I am encouraged to do any work to meet the end goal, I am Cross-functional! There is no blame game or politics, I now Trust everyone! I feel more Freedom and more Courage! You will start enjoying your workplace and eventually your work will get done more efficiently and effectively! We know that we will do our best when we really enjoy doing it.
My friends, I hope now the Idea is clear to you: Individuals and Interactions are more important than Process and Tools, Process and Tools are the Enablers and we do take help of adequate Process and Tools with due respect.
Remember: A fool with a tool is still a fool.