Psychological evaluation for Agile?
Based on a number of recent experiences I've come to think that there might be a relationship between work ethics, personal motivation and whether one will succeed with Agile projects. This post will definetely not give the answer. It is merely a thought I wish to publish and maybe some kind readers will provide their own opinion or share their own experience.
To me it seems that there are two types of people in software development. Those who are passionate about creating some work of art and enjoy building software. And those who simply work to make ends meet.
By no means I am condemming those who wish to make ends meet. That's only natural and in a world where one has to buy food, shelter and other supplies it is simply a matter of survival, if looked at closely. People do so many things to that end and I can only speculate why some of that type chose software development and not something else.
Let me make clear that the last sentences do not only refer to those who actually write code. I am talking about all the others who are involved in any software project as well. That includes persons who represent the business side and write specifications - user stories or in other form -, those who manage teams and individuals, those who work in QA, system administration and everything else.
It is astonishing to see what small teams comprised of passionate and highly motivated indiduals can accomplish when they are not restrained by any form of governance. I believe a team comprised of good "corporate citizens" would probably work for a year and still be disussing which toolset to use.
The question is why is that?
Maybe it is because there are so many choices that only someone who devotes his life to the art of software development is able to keep track and accumulate enough knowledge for making an informed decision. Can that be? The regular corporate office worker spends 8 hours at work. A good chunk of that time is used up by meetings, responding to emails, preparing reports and other administrative duties. When this person arrives at home she is tired and wants to be with her family. And the weekend is certainly not spent researching technology topics. I remember one 40ish gentlemen who was working in the IT department of a mid-sized company on SAP R/3 stuff by the time I met him. He was pretty interested in learning about network security and TCP/IP networking in general. So I referered him to a number of books and his response was something like "I have maybe 10 minutes per day to read when I come home".
The Agile Manifesto says:
We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it.
Through this work we have come to value:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
That is, while there is value in the items on the right, we value the items on the left more.
That is very noble and makes a lot of sense. Unfortunately it does not mention anything about the type of individuals.
Can Agile work with people who are only interested in their paycheck, having fun in life and be home one time? Can it work with those who like it easy? Those who prefer to hold up anything with endless discussions about nuisances unconsciously knowing that it will allow to water down anything and get away with it?
Or is Agile merely something for the doers, self-motivated people who are interested in getting it done and then improve it further? Does it refer to entrepreneurs?
How hard is it to transform a worker type person into someone who is passionate about his work? Do we need a psychological evaluation of team members to determine whether they are suitable for Agile?
Update: After posting I did a Google search on psychological evaluation Agile. I would not have expected the result. Interesting...
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