The above quote is the opening line of Manifest for Agile Software Development. It did not say “we uncovered better ways” and here’s our answer. To be living the Agile Manifesto one has to go beyond it – by definition.

Consider this list:

– Lead vs. follow
– Innovate vs. copy
– Responsibility vs. authority
– Cooperate vs. compete
– Invent vs. comply
– Ask vs. answer
– Possible vs. correct

Now consider “Agile” frameworks. Which side do they encourage?

Sure, they may say things like you eventually have to go beyond them but they don’t tell you how. In fact, Scrum has inferred not doing one of its roles, events, artifacts, and rules is a bad thing – “Scrum but” And Ken’s admonition “Scrum is simple, just use it as is” is the encouragement to follow it. Dean talks about “all in all the way” while having an implementation roadmap – something by definition that you follow.

Where is the thinking? When are we supposed to start? Starting on the right and then moving to the left is just a subtle way to get you to follow. A way to not believe in yourself.

Espousers of frameworks will provide quick answers:

– We have to keep it simple
– Too much will complicate things
– Start easy and then learn

To me, these statements are due to people haven’t have figured out a better way to help people learn combined with cargo cult thinking. Not to mention being self-serving.

We know the best way to learn is to teach. The second best way to learn is by doing. Both of these require collaboration, not a combination of death by PowerPoint with exercises that illustrate concepts but are not your real work.

These techniques have been widely used in learning how to create quality software. I started Success Engineering to provide these methods at the team and organizational level for improving value delivery. I have been pleasantly surprised to find that there are many consultants already doing this (none offer frameworks as solutions). I am happy to join them. Two companies I am currently working with are Process Mentors and Novavi.

If you are a team or an organization and would like to learn more about how to learn to improve your workflow and value-creating ability by doing, please let me know.