Process, People, and Pods


Sunday, 15 July 2007

The 3 P's of Agile: Process, People, and Pods


This is the first post on the topic of Process, People, and Pods. This series of blogs will explore Agile programming beyond the traditional boundaries of "an alternative to waterfall".

So where does this name come from?

Process refers to the Agile alternative to a phased process (aka waterfall). But the process discussion will go beyond that. Agile has its roots in the Just-In-Time (JIT) manufacturing process; Lean is the more popular name for these techniques as this thinking explodes past the manufacturing sector. So Process will also address management techniques that promote Agile versus traditional engineering techniques like Gantt charts that cripple Agile productivity.

People addresses the different way to think about the most important component of software development: The people that conceive it, create it, and make it available for use. Let me summarize how radical the Agile thinking should be here. If you don't believe that waterfall is the right methodology, what do you think about people that are titled after phases of waterfall? In People discussions, we will expose the flaw in thinking of about people as architects, analysts, designers, developers, and testers. Not only is Agile productivity rooted in breaking this thinking, there are positive moral benefits to be gained.

Pods takes the people point to the next level. If the job titles are wrong, what about how we organize departments around these titles? Pod refers to an ideally structured Agile team. If the name invokes B-grade sci-fi flicks, you have caught a bit of the roots of the name. It also comes from thinking of the synergy of a bean pod full of seeds. In Pod discussions, we will discuss ideal Agile organizations. What about the career tracks we define? I would suggest that Agile teams are organized differently. Agile teams should act differently, be trained differently, and be appraised differently.

I look forward to feedback on all of this!

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