Agile Myths: If we are doing Agile, we don't need tools.

15 Mar 2023

Tools are the foundation of civilization.

One of the things that defines humans, more so than any other species on Earth, is our ability to design, develop, and use tools.

Tools were essential to our survival, and then became an integral part of our ability to thrive.

So, it doesn’t make sense to think of human beings as anything other than empowered when we have the right tools at our disposal.

Agile thrives on tools.

If it were true that we didn’t need tools for agile, Jira and Atlassian wouldn’t be multi-billion dollar companies with a strong presence around the world. We wouldn’t have things like Azure DevOps.

Strictly from a facilitation and capability development perspective, software engineers and developers need tools to help manage their work, test what they have built, and integrate their work into existing software infrastructure.

Agile thrives on tools. It actively needs them for agile to evolve and improve.

Building products.

Remember, in the agile world we are focused on product development rather than project management. The product is a tangible thing. It isn’t made of vapour nor is it imaginary.

It is something that used to be handed to clients on floppy discs and compact discs, but is now distributed via the cloud and other information technology infrastructure. Those are necessary tools for the deployment of our product, feature, or service.

Without those tools, we wouldn’t have the ability to reach so far and upgrade global environments at the click of a button. That capability needs everything from production environments to testing environments to global server infrastructure.

So, yes the emphasis is on individuals and interactions, but once that base is covered, we want to select the appropriate tools to enhance the customer experience and build products that truly delight customers and product stakeholders.

Product development tools.

We mentioned Jira and Atlassian earlier, but there are several tools available that allow us to track what we are building, how effective that product or feature is in creating value for customers and adapt what we are doing to be more responsive to customer and market conditions.

In the beginning, these were as simple as post-it notes on a kanban board. Over time, software has been developed that allows us to coordinate teams of agile teams, and align their efforts with specific customer objectives and organizational strategy.

It allows us to work with teams from around the world and serve multi-national organizations.

We aren’t hamstrung by technology, we are enabled by it.

So, in closing, this is why ‘processes and tools’ are valuable and necessary in the agile world, we simply view their selection and application through the lens of how we best work with and serve ‘individuals and interactions’.

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