Posts Tagged agile
It doesnt matter whether you have “designer” written on your business card. If you are reading this blog you are most likely involved in software development – if so, the short and simple answer to the above question should be “YOU BETCHA”.
Why, you might ask, do I make this argument? Well, because I feel that everyone involved in software development should feel, act and respond like a designer. Nobody is excused, nobody should be able to hide behind statements like “heck, I just write the code – what do I know about icons?” There is no excuse for not being a designer. You’re allowed to suck at it though. The minimum level should be that you feel like a sucky designer. Why is this important?
It is important because user experience and aesthetics matter so incredibly much that if you don’t take an interest in it, you should find another job. To sum it up:
Sucking at design craftsmanship is ok! Not taking an active interest in design is inexcusable!
As long as you are actively seeking responses from colleagues or other sources in matters of user experience and aesthetics – you’re doing a great job! Well, at least you’re improving. My point is: you CANNOT sit on your rump and wait for those who actually have “designer” written on their business card to come up with a fantabulous-expicalidocious design. Agile software development does not work like that. Your team needs to take design decisions based on what is technically possible right now, you need to take coding decisions based on an overall design rationale and you need to make everything look fantastic. And you need to do this just in time. Because if you don’t, somebody else will, somebody smarter than you.
So how do you work as a designer even if you are not a “real” designer? Its easy: you take an active interest in matters of design, challenge all assumptions and you communicate.
And what if you’re a “real” designer – how do you work with all the people around you suddenly claiming to be designers? Same recipe: you take an active interest in coding and/or implementation, challenge all assumptions and communicate!
If your team is laid back, good at their jobs and generally cool and nice people. This is easy. On the other hand, if your team has a few know-it-all schmucks who wont let other’s touch their territory. Fire those and start over with achieving a fantastic, innovative and cool design process where everyone is involved. It’s all about hiring the best and setting them free.
So, to end this little article, here is a short TODO for people who think they can be involved in software development without being designers.
- Realise I am a designer.
- Make my team realise that I will be a part of the design process whether they like it or not.
- Try to stop sucking at design
I think there is a great secret to learn from this quote. The first part of the quote is quite obvious. Everyone wants to hire the best and most of us are really good at doing this. We even have big recruitment companies that are experts on finding the best of the best that will suite us. But I would like to focus on the part “Set them free”.
Set them free
If you have a business, where success is built on every team member’s effort, and you want to fail; here you have my best tip:
- Hire the best and enslave them. E.g. make them do same repetitive work each day and make them strictly follow company policies. And the worst, shoot down ideas directly.
If you follow this tip, two things could happen. If you really hired the best, this person will realise that he/she isn’t free to use their creativity and will quit the job and choose freedom. Or if they choose to stay, they won’t be the best anymore, all creativity will be lost and you won’t value for your money.
Instead of shooting down ideas, give them a chance. Remember you hired the best! Embrace their creativity! If you want to build a successful business that is built on your employees’ achievements, then you have to simply set them free.
We are all born to be free and in freedom we can and will do amazing things!
Collaboration, shared values, respect, freedom; Embrace and succeed!
I have yet to observe a process that wouldn’t benefit from a dash of Agile. Or why not a really healthy dose. From being frowned upon by many in the late 1990:s, it has become mainstream to realize that there’s something really important in the agile message. Whole companies are run with agile values at the core. Like IKEA. Like H&M. (Yeah, I’m from Sweden.) Or Toyota (Lean is very, very similar to agile. I’d say that at the core it’s the same thing.)
While more and more people are trying to relate to the concept of agile, we also run the risk that the meaning is devalued and kidnapped. It’s highest fashion to label yourself Agile. There are several problems with that. If you fool yourself you run the risk of not going at your full potential. Or if it’s just “play pretend” you risk really fooling others and they might not realize for a long while that they could have ran so much faster. And of course, false agile also risks giving the “movement” a bad name it truly doesn’t deserve.
You find lots of people that say they are agile. Yet, when you probe it some it’s clear that it seems to have totally different meaning to many. Like it didn’t matter. But it does matter! Agile is a stance, an attitude, a philosophy, a core value even. It’s something you must comprehend. Something you must give some time to soak your being. Something you must truly believe in before you have the right to use the label. I’m totally sick of hearing people excuse shortsighted moves with a sloppy “we are agile”. That’s wrong in so many ways. Agile is all, 100%, totally and utterly about sustainability, about the long term.
All “casual” agilists out there should be forced to really try an agile process. Why not Scrum? Of course, running Scrum doesn’t make you agile. But you can’t give Scrum a real chance without starting to get an idea about what the concept of agile is about. Then hopefully the casuals will be humble enough to first stop calling themselves agile and then working hard with themselves and their views to really earn the label.
Or maybe they’ll find that it’s not for them. I don’t think agile leaves many people indifferent (given that they given it some thought and started to grasp it). Rather, you either love it or hate it. When the agile values become clear to you there are no longer any gray areas. If you have a strong belief in your fellow human beings you’re likely to find agile being your thing. At the very core of agile there is this strong conviction that most people really want and can contribute. In agile land there’s no room for cynics.
Does your organization want the agile label? Then start with removing all processes that are in place for monitoring that people contribute or are doing their jobs. Install mechanism that make it clear to people what’s expected of them and what they can expect from others. Make each and every process fully transparent. Demand authenticity from everyone, including yourself. Make sure you learn from experience, good, bad, in-between. Yours and others. Don’t save any effort, whatsoever, to enable communication. And keep asking yourself, every day, every breathing moment. Are there some remains, somewhere, of your non-agile past? Hunt them down. Remove them! Ban phrases like “that’s not how we usually do it” and “we’ve already tried that”.