Being Agile Means Putting People First

Wide_Field_Imager_view_of_a_Milky_Way_look-alike_NGC_6744When the concept of agile was first being established, a very simple set of statements was written to help define it. Of the 12 principles behind the agile manifesto, five are related to interacting with people.

Being agile means putting people first, and that includes our stakeholders, managers, coworkers, and ourselves. For me as a manager, I have a customer that my team is working for, but my employees are also my customers. In a similar manner, I am a customer of my employees, and we all need to keep each other in mind.

Several years ago, my team had made a series of small mistakes. These were relatively little things, like getting an inventory wrong, or failing to notice something in a facility, or messing up a software configuration. But when you added the half dozen or so small mistakes together, it meant that my team had produced nothing but failure for two weeks. We had been screwing up over and over again, and now my boss expected me to drop the hammer on my team.

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Why I Prefer Agile

Salto Angel, Canaima, VenezuelaMany years ago, I had a friend who was trapped in a failed project. Progress wasn’t being made, costs were piling up, and the company didn’t seem capable of correcting the direction it was going. As he was leaving my house one evening after a game night, he told me about some of the recent troubles they had, and he asked if I had any advice. He knew that I managed a lot of different projects at work, and he wondered if I might see a way out, or some sort of advice that he could provide to his manager.

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Thinking through what I value, and why writing is bad for me

I’ve been trying to write a book. I haven’t been trying hard, because I’d probably be half done by now if I had been, but I have tried. I have outlines and notes and a few hundred words written, but I can’t bring myself to sit down and work.

This is troublesome. As some of you may recall, I gave up on writing a while back, but when I was asked recently to write a book to help people study for the certification exams I’ve been helping write, that seemed like a good idea. It pushed the “duty” button, in that I felt like I needed to help people. It pushed the “fame” button because I’ve wanted to be a famous writer since I was young. It pushed the “money” button because it’d be nice to have another source if income.

But I don’t enjoy writing all that much. And I have continually been asking myself, “Why am I doing this?”

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