I noticed today that I’m starting to channel people like Jim Benson without even realizing it – until afterwards. I found myself explaining to someone at work today that the tendency to prescribe to others how things should have to be done is pervasive, even in – or maybe especially in – many “Agile” implementations (yes, that’s with a capital A). Upon reflection, I think it is a hallmark of many Agile initiatives driven from the top-down through standard command and control structures. You end up making a complete new command and control structure under a new name and the part that kills me is that you don’t even realize it.
There’s a misconception that standardization is a holy grail. If something works for one team – or maybe, its just the way someone decided to start doing Agile – then everyone should do it. What happened to self-organizing? … to agility? … to the ability for a team to recognize that they are doing something that’s suboptimal to their end goals and then change that thing? Should there really be sacred cows? A quote that stuck with me is that “standardization often inhibits optimization.”