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You Can’t Replace People With Process and Tools

To be successful in Agile development, you can't replace people with processes and tools
In true Agile software development, you can’t replace people with processes in tools, if you want to be successful

In Agile software development, you can’t replace people with processes and tools. It just doesn’t work! This is one of my favorite values of Agile. Which is part of the idea that individuals and interactions are more valuable than processes and tools.

Can’t Replace People – What does this mean?

The people, and more specifically the conversations of the people, are of utmost importance. In Agile software development, you will learn more from the conversations between people involved in the work. You will learn more from those conversations than you will from research, documentation, requirements, etc. People involved in the work being the team doing the work, the stakeholders and users, the sponsors of the work, and others involved with the development process. The discussions between those involved are the best way to go about learning and understanding the goals of the work.

There are details and information that are easily missed when relying on processes and tools, over conversations. Things are not discussed, misinterpreted and lost in translation. Going direct to the source helps solve these issues. Putting the people who need the info directly in touch with those that have the info helps avoid so many issues.

What processes and tools does this include?

When we talk about processes and tools that impede or try to remove the people and the conversations, it includes the following. We are talking about things like requirements documentation/specifications. It also includes procedures and documentation in general. Formalized processes in general can impede those interactions. As team members rely in the process instead of having the conversation. As for tools, these are things like email, chats, and so much more.

So when working in an Agile way, or trying to work in an Agile way, remember the importance of people and their interactions. You can’t replace people with processes and tools if you want to succeed. You will learn so much from having the right conversations. Which will allow you to build the right things, with less waste, in less time, and with less headaches!

Additional reading and books on Agile and why you can’t replace people