The Human Side of Agile

If I have a criticism of the agile movement it is that not enough time is given over to the role of management, and furthermore not enough care is taken over the distinction between project and line management.

In a study by VersionOne that looked to asses the reasons for failed agile adoptions, almost all could be traced back to reluctance or failure to engage on the part of management and little wonder when the role of leadership is left so ambiguous.

Gil Broza recently wrote a book entitled the Human Side of Agile that aims to address the human aspects of agile implementations, in particular offering practical guidance to how an agile team leader might incorporate these ideas into their role.

Prior to publication, Gil asked that I contribute an anecdote and I was only too happy to oblige – the chapter was on the subject of making the most of your immediate environment. I drew anecdote from my old office where space was in short supply.

It may not always be possible to create the perfect working environment, however it is important to make the most of what is available. My team were looking to map their work flow using a white board and sticky notes. Unfortunately we were situated in the middle of an open plan office without access to walls, nor did we have the necessary space for a for a free standing white board. In the end we bought a roll of white board sheeting and applied it to a nearby structural pillar. Work items flowed from top to bottom and space was tight, but it served our purpose and is still in use years later.

Elsewhere in the book Gil also references How to do Nothing.

Great stuff Gil.

3 thoughts on “The Human Side of Agile

  1. It was a wonderful article. I would like to add some more insights to this about how Agile got started. Though adaptive and incremental methodologies have existed since the 1950’s, only methodologies that conform to The Agile Manifesto are generally regarded as truly “agile”. In February, 2001, a group of 17 computer gurus, software developers, and managers held a retreat to discuss lightweight software development methods. They formed the Agile Alliance and the discussions at those meetings later resulted in a Manifesto for Agile Software Development. The Manifesto was authored by Fowler and Highsmith (2001) and then signed by all participants to establish the basic guidelines for any Agile. For more articles and videos, you can find in


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