InfoQ: Touchy Feely (ugh) Impediments to Agile Adoption

Responsibility Redefined received a favorable mention last week at the Agile 2008 conference in Toronto (even though I wasn’t there for the first time in years) and was written up in InfoQ:

InfoQ: Touchy Feely Impediments to Agile Adoption

I missed this year’s Agile conference due to other priorities and commitments. Maybe next year.

I’m sorry to see such important subject matter continue to be referred to as “touchy feely”—an obvious slight to the realities of humans and collective performance. That type of language is going to continue to support people in casting aspersions on what obviously works and in disconnecting their brains from the rest of their minds at work as in the rest of their lives.

Another common phrasing is “soft” versus “hard” skills. I turn that around. I say that anyone with a brain can do physics, but dealing with the interpretive filters of humans and our relationships is truly both hard and worthy.

The truth is that the seductive suggestions of efficiency and specialization led us corporate types for decades to assume that we could each merely tune up the technical processing power of our brains, get plugged into a CRT, and produce role-based outputs that someone else would be responsible for integrating into a valuable solution that would make the company money and fund our paychecks. That never really has been true, and now agile approaches are proving just how much can get done when people share responsibility for the wholes, the parts, the customer, and the processes that weave wholes, parts, and customers together.

Thanks Amr for standing for the truly hard stuff.

By the way, I’ll be teaching my team skills course Knowledge Team Leadership: The Art & Science of Being Amazingly Effective in Any Team October 21-22 (yes, a new two-full-days format) in Boulder, CO.

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