It’s Not the Process, Stupid

PMI Southern Alberta Chapter

Mike Griffiths is a consultant and trainer who help organizations improve performance through shared leadership, agility and (un)common sense. He maintains the blog LeadingAnswers.com.

Even though Mickey Mouse is the symbol of Disney theme parks, he is not really what these locations are about. Agile methods are similarly known by their novel processes and team ceremonies, but these are largely irrelevant distractions from the true focus.

Just as Disney is all about manufacturing a positive visitor experience through detailed buildings, social engineering and extensive staff “character” training, agile methods are really about creating a social framework where effective work can be accomplished. This social framework will vary from project to project and enterprise to enterprise. It is a problem-solving exercise like building a custom galley kitchen inside a boat not a standardization exercise like force-fitting IKEA kitchen cabinets.

I realize that by using analogies to Disneyland and IKEA so early in an article, many readers may assume I have finally lost the plot; but after 20 years of practicing agile, I have had enough with rote methods implementation and attempts to scale through process training that fail. To me, agile is about process as much as Disney theme parks are about Mickey Mouse. Yes, they are an easily identifiable symbol, a shortcut to identification…but far removed from what the real focus is.

In fact, most people would be hard pressed to think of a good Mickey Mouse cartoon. However, luckily for Disney …

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"The rule is perfect: In all matters of opinion, our adversaries are insane."

- Mark Twain

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