In an agile environment, where process and practice are not rigidly prescribed and enforced, ways of doing things will change. They will evolve. Conventional agile wisdom says this is a good thing, but in my experience, that’s not always the case. Teams should be continuously improving the way they work, but in some cases, they simply slide back into old customs and other teams see this and copy them. Even when those practices are not working. this will be the topic of a future post.
But interestingly, when it comes to an organisation split across multiple sites, these practices are like evolving organisms. When they interact, like across teams that sit adjacent to one another, the practices spread and evolve bit by bit. But because the teams at the other sites do not see this, they do not adopt the altered practice.
I spent the last two days at one of our other development sites and was amazed at the differences I saw. Things that are the norm at the ‘main’ site, are nowhere to be found at the other. And in some cases this is a very good thing. Free from the influences of strong but misguided characters, they are sticking more or less to what they have been taught, although they have adapted them – and rightly so – due to the nature of the projects they run there.
They are like the creatures on Madagascar or Tasmania – different to those on the mainland. In some cases worse and in some cases a lot better. But definitely different!