This was a very interesting read. I particularly enjoyed Martin’s perspective that agile will require another four decades to mature (with an object-oriented language). Because agile has become such a buzz word lately, it’s easy to conceive of it as just another fad or trend, but Martin’s comments remind that agile is still very young and, ultimately, unproven. However, when I think about the future of agile, I see a real problem: At this point, the term “agile” lacks the concrete definition it would require to truly mature. I wonder if, instead, it will be replaced by whichever subset emerges as the best agile framework. If that happens, my money’s on Scrum.
Great post, Tobias. It’s easy to see how this would be a great way to communicate the principles and processes of Scrum and agile. Just by shifting the kind of project to be managed (here, substituting fashion for software development), you can get course attendees to really focus on what happens in Scrum and the rationale behind those processes. When you choose a familiar example, like developing software, it’s too easy for the participants to become bogged down by the minutia of their day-to-day work lives (and the impediments they face). But change the game and they can get a sense for what Scrum’s all about in ideal terms.
This is an interesting post, Margaret—thanks. Your topic really resonated with me because my team does Scrum and this issue of management versus authority is at the heart of much of Scrum’s success. The role in Scrum that sounds closest to what you’re describing is the ScrumMaster, who acts as a liaison between the development team and the Product Owner (project manager). The ScrumMaster is responsible for helping the team meet its sprint goals, but has no real authority to manage them. Thus he or she must use the tactics you describe—building trust, removing impediments—to lead the team to voluntarily pursue success. It’s a delicate balance, of course, but it appears that a shared commitment to organizational goals is the best leadership.