carnival of the agilists, 3-may-07

When it comes to agile software development my preference swings heavily towards the influence of lean. The two central principles of lean are eliminate waste and respect people – although the second of these seems to be too often forgotten in the stories we read of lean (manufacturing) transitions. The agile movement (I hesitate to use that word in the present climate) has a strong tradition of demanding respect for people, arising from the manifesto’s exhortation to value individuals and interactions over processes and tools. And as I sifted through the agile blogosphere again this week I found that tradition very much to the fore. So this week’s carnival is a single-topic issue, bringing together a smattering of your thoughts on “individuals and interactions”…

To get us in the mood, in Respect People Alan Shalloway brings together a few pithy quotes, while in Individuals and interactions over processes and tools Simon Baker attempts to unpick what that particular plank of the agile manifesto means in practice. Dave Nicolette asks Is agile’s greatest strength also its most significant risk factor? and suggests that emphsising people over process is both liberating and risky.

The openness of agility is forcing us to (re-)discover some of the deeper foundations of effective communication. One of these is trust, and in I Told You So Ed Gibbs discovers one of the side-effects of not being trusted. (Trust has also turned out to be the theme of Clarke Ching’s Rolling Rocks Downhill book, which he would like you to help him rename.) And in Attachment Employment Jack Vinson points out that knowledge management initiatives will yield poor results when the workforce doesn’t trust it’s employer.

Speaking of knowledge management, in Osmotic communication – keeping the whole company in touch Tom Scott discusses the idea of using IRC (Internet Relay Chat) to promote information flow throughout a company, and specifically to provide a live commentary on what’s happening to version-controlled resources. A fascinating thought experiment, and I’m very interested to hear from any group who try it.

When it comes to working together, Jeremy Miller finds many ways in which Self Organizing Teams are Superior to Command n’ Control Teams (although some of his readers appear to disagree). And Jon Miller at Gemba Panta Rei discusses how to use Skill Matrices as a key part of the knowledge management in a lean organisation.

And finally, after all that reading, something completely different. Why not try simulating variation in task estimates, as suggested by Clarke Ching? Try it a couple of times, then imagine that Heads equates to getting good luck on a task (so it finishes early) and Tails equates to getting bad luck (so the task finishes late). What does the simulation say about plans and planning?

If you have something that you want to see in a future carnival – especially from a blog we haven’t featured before – email us at All previous editions of the Carnival are referenced at the Agile Alliance website. The next carnival is due to appear around May 17, hosted by Pete Behrens.

4 thoughts on “carnival of the agilists, 3-may-07

  1. Pingback: James Governor’s Monkchips » links for 2007-05-16

  2. Pingback: a ruby sparkline showing variation « silk and spinach

  3. Pingback: one foot in the past? | silk and spinach

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s