Friday, July 17, 2015

Are Tools ruining the Agility in “Agile” teams?

Manifesto and the role of tools within the world of Agile Software Development?

Part 1 of the manifesto: “Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Are the tools we use to support our Agile Software Development ruining the actual agility on day-to-day basis? Are these tools affecting the chemistry of the team?
Are the companies that sell these tools feeling the pressure to innovate and to keep owners and stockholders happy? Then the innovation turns out to be tipping the manifesto statements to the right side (contradicting the manifesto) because the decision makers in companies who buy these tools want the tools that are all about tracking, measurements, and reporting.
I am putting a lot of questions in this post and I am not going to necessarily give you answers to these questions. This post is more about having you think about these things and realizing whether you as a software developer are already impacted by these tools or specific features of these tools. Are you asked to use certain features of these tools and you think that these features cross the line and tip the weight to the right side of the manifesto which really means contradict the manifesto itself?

Over the years I used many different tools that supported waterfall and agile development. Some of the more recent tools for agile development have been:
  • Rally
  • PivotalTracker
  • Trello
  • Jira (some exposure)
  • Asana (not necessirily build for agile but for overall task management)
  • OneNote (yes, I said OneNote)
I am not going to praise or criticize specifically any of these tools. Some of them are simple and get the job done without forcing you to do it certain way. Some of them are more complex because they have all kinds of features for measuring and reporting and this generally looks attractive to managers who see this as an opportunity to closely track the work that the team is performing.
The question becomes, who is supposed to pick the tool? Are the members of the development team supposed to recommend a tool that helps them get the job done the best way, or is the management team supposed pick the tool that works better for them?
What did we do before the age of tools? Yes, we used Post-it notes !
A simple board with Post-it notes divided in a few columns did the job for a team in one location. It was a very simple approach. The tools should also keep things simple. They should just take it one step further without negatively impacting the progress, the creativity and agility of the team. On the other hand, if you go one step too far with the tools, the team will know if their agility is impacted and if the fun-factor is gone. We all know that if you take the fun-factor and agility out of the team, then the team members are not operating on their own terms any more; the authenticity slowly goes away.
Almir M. (
#agile #AgileMethodology #scrum #team #teamwork #softwaredevelopment #programming #coding #tools #manifesto

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