Why so much resistance to guardrails?

Why so much resistance to guardrails?

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I saw this post on LinkedIn the other day from Damon Poole where he was responding to a question about daily standup. And it made me think of all the debates I see today around folks in the agile community, how do I say it, following the “rules” of the various frameworks, methods, and tactics.

Now I get it. We’re agile, right? So, we should be inspecting, adapting, experimenting, not becoming dogmatic, etc.

But at the same time, I don’t get the point about all rules being bad. Especially when you’re just beginning (Shu for those familiar with that metaphor) or new to agile ways of working.

For example, if you’re learning to drive, there are typically rules for learning to and maturing your driving, then the following is a fairly sensible path—

  • Study the rules of the road

  • Take an exam and get your permit

  • Practice in a pair (co-driver providing guidance)

  • Independent driving, short routes in parking lots

  • Independent driving, highways, longer routes

  • Take your driving test and get your license

  • Initially, quite cautious (still have hands at 10-2, continuously checking mirrors)

  • Over time, as you gain experience, you slack off the rules (one-hand driving)

  • Ramifications for breaking the rules (driving tickets, accidents, loss of license), but that’s on you.

I don’t hear many people complaining, debating, or skipping steps as they learn to become mature and effective drivers.

But let’s get back to agile.

There’s a word that often surfaces in these debates. I mentioned it earlier. It’s the D-word—

Dogmatic

To be honest, I get pretty triggered when someone calls me dogmatic. I equate it to someone insulting my agile learning journey and my overall agile understanding and mindset. And I used to get quite defensive.

Now I’m working hard to ignore it amongst the ever-increasing need in the agile community to attack each other about what’s right or wrong (back to the theme in Damon’s post).

I guess it’s obvious, but I’m leaning against the aggressive debates, marginalization, stereotyping, polarization, and disrespect. Especially since there are far more important issues facing us than whether—

  • Is Agile 2 better than Agile?

  • The latest version of the Scrum Guide definitions, such as role vs accountability?

  • SAFe is a well-intentioned or malicious virus (I couldn’t help myself)?

  • Does the daily standup need to occur daily?

  • Is Scrum effective or even “Agile”?

  • Kanban or Scrum, which is the right choice?

Some of the FAR more important issues facing us include—

  • Bringing more ethics, professionalism, and craft into agile coaching.

  • Supporting DEI in our community.

  • Supporting and sustaining our ship called Earth.

  • Giving those less privileged a hand-up.

  • Assuming positive intent in our social engagements.

  • Fostering agile ways of working as a means of achieving business agility.

  • Supporting varied ways of effective teamwork.

  • And the list goes on…

Just something as food for thought. And please, don’t call me…dogmatic.

Stay agile my friends,

Bob.

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