Saturday 3rd June - Individuals and Interactions over Processes and Tools

published4 months ago
2 min read

This is Rule #1 of the Agile Manifesto. In 2023, do we really value individuals and interactions over processes and tools? I think for the most part, we still don't, however we still should try. Why? Read on...

This statement says that we should still value processes and tools - but not as highly as individuals and interactions. However, interactions are hard - especially if we're remote. Interactions are costly. Interactions are difficult and human. Interactions can cause us to have to change what we think or do. Interactions are something that we want to avoid, perhaps?

So we fall back to tools. We fall back to processes. We have a Definition of Done (which we ignore). We have a Definition of Ready (which we ignore). We write terrible stories (but they are good enough). We don't write enough tests (because we don't have time). We drift.

How can we stop drifting? By committing to something we all agree on.

Last week I was over at the first-ever Fast Flow conference in London for a day of presentations and activities with those who would probably describe themselves as Team Topologies aligned practitioners or those who have benefitted from these approaches. Many of the people I spoke with would also probably describe themselves as having an inherently human-first approach to delivering software. These people understand and accept that teams and their arrangement are fundamental to the success or failure of software projects.

One of the underpinning principles of Team Topologies itself is that Conway’s Law is real and that, to a certain extent, you can reverse-Conway your architecture by wilfully designing your organisation. Martin Fowler writing as recently as last year, has also been vocal in his support of this key principle in software engineering. Conway’s Law is, therefore, pretty much an inescapable fact. Acknowledging this and designing your organisation thoughtfully around it should now start to become common practice.

Team Topologies works at a team level, but before you can start to consider the team, you need to consider the individual.

By challenging individuals to consider and question all of their default interactions, I believe you can form a team with the necessary attributes to make a solid stream-aligned team for delivering a faster flow of customer value. Check out the full article for more details and I'll be presenting some more thoughts about how you can achieve this practically at the We Are Developers Conference in Berlin at the end of July.

Enjoy your weekend!

-- Richard

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Published on May 23, 2023

Software is innately abstract. Visualisation and description are sometimes useful to communicate individual pieces, but as a whole, the interactions are often too complex and dynamic to be represented by anything static like words or pictures. Software systems are nondeterministic to the point that it sometimes seems be more craft than engineering, more art than… Read More »How To Identify a Killer Product Organisation


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