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Thursday, August 20, 2015

High Performing Agile Teams: An Introduction

I debated whether I wanted to include Agile in this post's title or not. I'd prefer it to just be "High Performing Teams", but let's be honest, I need the Agile keyword for more people to be interested in the post.

I love Agile. I hate Agile.

I have a love/hate relationship with Agile:

  • I love its fundamental principles. I hate the large industry selling a shell of it.
  • I love the business results it can produce. I hate when it is an end in itself.
  • I love how it empowers people. I hate how it can be a tool for command-and-control.
  • I love how much I've learned from people in its community. I hate the incessant, useless noise that surrounds it.
  • I love when it includes its necessary components (planning, technical, business value, YAGNI, etc). I hate when it's reduced to daily standups, stories, and sprints.

I've sure you could create your own list like this one (I'd love to see it, so leave a comment if you've got one). There's so much surrounding Agile that it's easy to hate parts or even all of it. But its essence is still something to love. Its essence is what got everyone excited about it in the first place.

Agile's Essence: High-Performing Teams

Its essence is a set of values, principles, and practices that help teams flourish (thanks Kent Beck). Its essence is to create high performing teams.

The parts of Agile I hate are the parts that ignore this essence. High performing teams are the goal. Not practices. Not user stories. Not estimation. Not Scrum. Not the manifesto. Not TDD. Too often the practices become the goal while we lose sight of the real goal: high performing teams.

My goal is to recapture this essence with a series of blog posts about high performing (Agile) teams. There will be discussion of practices, but only as they fit into the greater goal to build high performing teams. But before I talk about practices, I will first cover the prerequisites for high performing teams. Stay tuned!

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