Are you wearing the Agile dress ... or is it wearing you?
Last week, while helping me review an audition for the audiobook version of Rolling Rocks Downhill, my friend Alison said, "You know what the problem with this sample is?"
I shrugged. "Tell me."
"Well ...", she paused, seeming to struggle to find the right words to explain. "I'll use an analogy. Okay?"
"Go for it."
"I was trying on dresses, last Saturday, for a wedding I'm go to next weekend and there was this one dress, right, which I reeeaallllly liked, I mean it was GORGEOUS. But then, when I tried it on. it wasn't. It just didn't work."
"The dress took over. If I wore it then people wouldn't see me because all they'd see was the dress. Understand? It was like the dress was wearing me, not the other way around."
I said, "Oh", not quite following.
"This audition is like that dress. It's is too theatrical, his reading is too dramatic, your story would get lost inside his narration and that's all most listeners would notice."
Likewise, I worry that, oftentimes, the agile "change agents" get too excited about agile and they end up with THE AGILE DRESS WEARING THEM, rather than them wearing it. AGILE becomes the centre of attention. Everything is "agile this" and "agile that". Some people love all that excitement - rah! rah! rah! - but it repels many people too.
Not all that much changes with Agile: it's the same people, working on the same software, but they're delivering smaller chunks of software more frequently. That sounds pretty boring, but I'd rather people focus on the benefits of Agile, rather than all the techniques and features. Does it really need all that fuss?