Re: Agile Practices [was The Red Mercedes]
From: Sharon Villines (
Date: Thu, 10 Nov 2011 08:45:43 -0800 (PST)
On 10 Nov 2011, at 7:06 AM, R Philip Dowds wrote:

>> *Customer collaboration* over contract negotiation
> Only if the job runs off the rails then does everyone pull out the contract 
> and scrutinize the fine print. 

>> *Responding to change* over following a plan
> Maybe. I agree that plans need to be adapted to the reality of what's 
> happening, really.   But I find this particular false dichotomy is trotted 
> out most often to suppress any effort to make a plan.

Agile is dealing with a culture that basically thinks in two options: 0 or 1, 
hardwired to think precisely in "./*$.@." The flexibility the Agile principles 
are advocating are so foreign to most programmers that it's hard for them to 
even hear these ideas, much less practice them. 

Steve Jobs was not a programmer — he was a visionary and perfectionist.

My daughter is a project manager at SAP and skeptical of what vague stuff can 
lead to also. One missing " ; " can mean that fleets of delivery trucks won't 
move — at all. Millions and billions of dollars lost before the problem is 
discovered. Programmers have to see that missing " ; " in an instant. 

My daughter has the priceless skill of being able to talk to programmers and to 
clients. The employees of companies like Nabisco, P & G, Perdue. etc., do not 
speak "exactly" anymore than the "exactly" people can understand moving with 
change instead of the plan. Social skills are not strong in exactly people 
because they care more about the power embedded in "./#!;".

I fear asking a programmer to do a program for me because the pre-negotiations 
are so tedious, it is faster to learn to do it myself. Programmers want exact 
requirements, exactly, exactly, exactly, before they will lift a finger. 

Agile is changing that style of thinking so programming can move faster and be 
more responsive. But in cohousing, we probably need to go in the opposite 
direction. New people are finding it hard to understand how things work.

Sharon Villines
Takoma Village Cohousing, Washington DC

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