People over process. I have heard that often, but then have seen so much focus on the process.
Agile. Son of Agile. The process keeps coming even in the era of lean and minimal process.
I remember learning about how Jesus the historical figure was fighting against organized religion and the large systems that man put together…. and then we see the Catholic church appear and recreating hierarchy and structure (and even infallibility).
I feel the same way when I see groups dismiss the heavy process, “go Agile”, and then build up a ton of hierarchy yet again.
I myself have spent so much time playing with process and tools, and haven’t realized that there are core truths that cross cut any of these creations:
If you have great people you have half the battle. The leverage that you get from a team of smart talented folk who enjoy working together is huge. They will fight through any barriers, and if you can wedge an opening for them they can do the rest.
Spending time hiring the best, and caring for the rest is key.
The leaders need to set direction. What is the next hill that we are trying to take on? The teams can then take on the challenge in an autonomous fashion. If they don’t have a mission they will stagnate, bore, or potentially take the wrong hill.
If you don’t take measurement, and acknowledge what you are measuring, then you are flying blind. Measuring the wrong things can be even worse than not having measurements.
Setting aside time to reflect and iterate is also key. This is where the people and the measures come together to change course and grow. If you can improvement over time the flywheel effect kicks in and you will soon start to fly.
Process can help with a lot of this. Bad process can hold back performance, but it is a multiple of the people involved.
I am trying to focus on the issues above these days. It isn’t always easy, but it is the right thing to do.