Agile Trends 2020: Part 3 – Communities
I must say that I started this “final post in the series” about three weeks ago, just before I flew up to Minneapolis to do training. At the time I started this blog post, it was more about how we grow and strengthen communities, whether the national and international agile communities or our local agile communities; how we focus on creating matrices of agile professional and organizational incubation and areas where professionals can share and grow.
However, all of that went out the window as, when I was in Minneapolis, we were informed by our client that we would be the last consultants this building would see for a while due to an invisible enemy also known as COVID-19. As one of our other coaches and I made our way through MSP Airport, it was evident that the “slow day” we had experienced back at our home airport, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, that very Monday was a precursor to a new temporary reality and not a fluke. We know now that our “communities” will look markedly different this year and so this blog is part “what trends we can expect” and part “fear not.”
Traditional Agile communities and dogmas will be tested.
I’ve already seen it – die-hards and forefathers of agility signaling the end – “co-location is dead", "long live co-location,” some have cried that we can’t be agile unless we are next to each other. Others, who have watched as organizations and individuals have become more and more distributed (for some good and some not-so-good reasons), claim the death of the agile manifesto, or at least its outdatedness and the need for a rewritten "constitution of software development". We may find many folks who return to more legacy practices and ways of working in order to seemingly maintain what they see as productivity in a distributed, work-from-home crisis. Others will embrace true agility, pivot, and learn how to stay connected as a community. They will not have knee-jerk reactions and drop back. They will have a realization that the real heart of agility is how we respond to change.
Expect more and more need for local sharing of information.
We have gotten so used to the broad, international reach of agility and the internet of everything that our collaboration has not been limited by borders. And now enter COVID-19 – Zoom, Teams, Hangouts, Slack, you name it – all are allowing us to shelter-in-place while still retaining some connectivity with our team members. But I tell you what I think the real trend will be -- the "think globally, but act locally" mindset that will return after this whole ordeal is over. I predict that people will long for the local feel, will start to form bonds locally that transcend anything in the national and international or virtual! We are going to see a boom of small, face-to-face, interactive, authentic, real collaboration and communication when the day dawns. And you know what is going to help? All of those tools that we got used to using during this time. They will be the instigators of meeting up. Our local agile communities will simply grow!
Individuals in organizations will build cross-business communities.
Even in all of the hurt and sickness and economic distress, we have watched as Americans have stuck together to help each other out. I’ve seen neighbor help neighbor and business rival help business rival. The American and human spirit is alive and well during this time and while I don’t believe that “good causes evil,” I do 100% believe that "good can use an evil thing to display more good". I believe we will see more organizations that might have been rivals step up their partnerships to build strong communities. We will have true knowledge sharing, caring, and growth sharing happen in the community as we rebuild our relationships with each other, our companies and organizations, and our very agile communities.
All, there is hope. That hope is that our communities will not only weather the storm but will come out the other side stronger, more connected, and more focused on improving each other in this new "Collaboration Age". Take heart! Stay focused on what makes us strong – a true belief that individuals and interactions are more important than any process, that value is key, that our collaboration is more important than the perfect contract, and finally that change will happen, it is ok, and may I say it's even necessary for us!
And now I will sign off like I often do at work because I know you all "got this".