Agile Principle 11

After the kind of downer feeling Agile Principle 10, let see if I can get a more happy tone. Lets dig into Agile Principle 11.

Principle 11: The best architectures, requirements, and designs
emerge from self-organizing teams.

Agile Principle 11

With Alfred out, the headers lose a little something. Anyway, I like this one. I really enjoy project where someone outlines what they want in absolute clarity and has not real care about implementation.

When I look back at my career, the projects that stand out are the ones where management makes the decisions, like my story in Principle 10, and the projects where the team put the system together.

When it’s good.

There is nothing better than when you get a high functioning team. In my first job, we had a low functioning team building an accounting thingy. The reason why it was low functioning is that one of the team members was actively sabotaging the group dynamic.

He played dumb in meetings making the design meeting drag down.

While lousy at coding, database design and other IT functions. This dude was skilled at playing games with people and setting them up to fail publicly to drag them down.

Eventually, he tried to get the boss fired, when the boss went on vacation. Not sure what he was thinking but he did not survive long enough to ask. Anyway, I was in charge of finishing the database he was working on for 3 months. He encrypted it. Now stupid is as stupid does but trying to keep the database administrator, me, from seeing your lack of work is comically futile.

In 3 months, he had 4 tables. No keys, no indexes, no design, just 4 incomplete tables. It was my first toxic coworker. With him gone from the group, it was amazing what the group achieved once we all realized that he was playing each of us off against the other. Nothing like a come to Jesus meeting like that one. Realizing your were all duped is a humbling and unifying experience.

After that, the group sang. We put the database together in 10 days. The system was outline in less than month. We built the 4 components of the system and had them in alpha in less than 6 months. The whole thing was crazy documented with the who, what, where , why and how. He was gone in April and we were in alpha in October. The government does not move that fast and we made it.

I don’t know how many developers get the high of things going right with everyone but it is amazing.

When it’s bad.

Well, you can tell from yesterday’s post. The staffed worker were doing their thing. As they did their thing, the API kept changing. With that change came broken technology. We had two very different technology stacks. With their mightiest bellowing, they screamed get it done and we got ‘er done.

There was nothing self organized. Not a single word on architecture. Requirement changed daily. With the designs adapting the best they could to both management and each others messes.

It was so awful, I almost just quite. Shut down the business and go get a new job.

I have seen the power of this principle in action and it a force multiplier.

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