Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed (metaphorically speaking)

Have you ever seen companies which are in the growing mode and looking for a way to formalize their development process? Usually it is described as "bringing some structure in" - the management realizes that "cowboy coding" ("Agile" they called it) spontaneously adopted from the very beginning now limits their ability to expand.
Unfortunately Agile is often perceived as chaotic and uncontrolled alternative to more disciplined and planned (perceivable) approaches. It could be challenging to convince people that agile team has to adopt very strict rules and rigorously follow them on a daily basis. Enforcing the discipline is every member's duty, while in the more traditional process Project Manager is perceived as a keeper of justice.
With that demand comes another danger for the Agile adaptation: people start feeling threatened - their work (and slack) is exposed and scrutinized. One of XP Toronto presenters said that "if organization (reportedly) went through a change and didn't loose anybody in a process, then nothing has really changed". Sounds rough but seems reasonable. Most threatened are obviously those who hold formal positions of relative power closely working with developers. Take the architect for example. The appointed Architect is constantly challenged to prove his/her knowledge and abilities in order to keep the team's respect. More traditional approaches would allow Architects to barricade in ivory tower and reduce communication to directives. It is Evolution, folks, versus the Intelligent Creation as both theories understand it *.

* N.B. I am in no way taking sides in the actual "Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed" controversy. I have my own interpretation of both theories and keep it to myself.

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