Check out the November/December issue of Crosstalk (http://www.crosstalkonline.org/issues/novdec-2016.html) “Beyond the Agile Manifesto.”  Here you will find several really great articles on the uses and the future of agile development.  As usual I started at the end with David Cook’s Backtalk article – “Too Agile for my Own Good”( http://static1.1.sqspcdn.com/static/f/702523/27309805/1477697823283/201611-Cook.pdf?token=ayD00sE4rcknGJpn6XEk1O08YBk%3D).  Cook not only shared whimsical information about his favorite grocery items along with his curmudgeon-like  frustration with the stores insistence on changing things up occasionally by moving familiar items to unfamiliar locations throughout the store.  Cook admits however that this behavior – while originally annoying has resulted in improvements in the food offerings as well as encouraging him to try new and different foods.  In other words – changing things up, as one does when introducing agile – can have good and far reaching consequences. 

In his article “The Heart of Agile”( http://static1.1.sqspcdn.com/static/f/702523/27327107/1478725631083/201611-Cockburn.pdf?token=mcSmABdcvsmSN8qA80o6sTUOYWg%3D), Alistair Cockburn discusses the fact that agile has become over decorated and suggesting that the industry take a step back and think about simplifications to these application of agile.  The author considers that the simplicity and power of agile can be expressed with the following four verbs:

  • Collaborate
  • Deliver
  • Reflect
  • Improve.

He aligns these activities with the concepts of skill progression from “shu”,”ha”,”ri”, which emerged from the Japanese Noh theater in the 14th Century.  The article goes on to recommend ways these concepts can be applied to agile teams to help them address these four types of action listed above.

In “Beyond the Agile Manifesto: Epoch of a Team” (http://static1.1.sqspcdn.com/static/f/702523/27309801/1477697802623/201611-Alexander.pdf?token=FXqr4R7ND41xd9FzPD3EUTgnJAk%3D)  by Chris Alexander discusses teams and teamwork and compares  them to individual acting as superheroes.  We can all conjure up the names of some of these superhero such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, etc.  But what the author points out is that even these superheroes came to greatness working in pairs.  He points out a study done at the Kellogg School of Management that reviewed 17.9 million research articles to determine that teams are 37.7 percent more likely to introduce innovation than sole authors.  The premise of the article is that agile practices are a great improvement over many traditional paradigms but that agile practices only get us half the way there.  What distinguishes the mediocre agile projects from the great ones is the team and their ability to optimize the power of teamwork.  The article then presents evidence on the truth of this premise along with practical suggestions to help organizations form more perfect teams.