Hallway Studio

May 19, 2017

Agile, Lean Startup, Design Thinking, Test Driven Development and whatever new and trendy thing out there are tools. They exist to help you to do something. They are supposed to help us be faster, make better products, be more people-centered, reduce waste or prevent errors.

Too often we try to do these things with such religious adherence that they stop working. The Agile manifesto talks about values and principles. These are ideas. They can be applied in many ways and many situations. I’ve heard Eric Reis say similar things about Lean Startup.

I’ve encountered many teams who are stuck in their rituals and practices. They are so convinced there is only one way to do things that they reject ideas that don’t fit.

Always ask why
Don’t be afraid to ask why a practice exists even if you’ve been doing it for a long time or you were the one who proposed it. It may have served a purpose at the time but it may not now. People evolve, teams evolve, companies evolve and so should their practices.

Every practice should drive a behavior or outcome
Do stand ups because it helps with collaboration, do interviews because you want to understand your customers better. Don’t just use definition of done because you think it will make you look cool to your agile Meetup buddies.

Continue to learn and evolve
Every team and company is somewhere in the maturity model of product development. What they need at one stage is different than the next. What got you here, won’t get you there so don’t let it hold you back. There are no scared cows in this business.

Image: A chalk drawing from a little sketching session with my daughter on the driveway

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