As previously mentioned, I’m currently busier than a tattoo artist in Bondy. However, the client organisation is going through a bit of a push to get everyone working in a new business process called “agile” so they interrupted that frivolous work stuff I was doing and shoved me on a training course to learn it.
Now, call me a grumpy old cynic but I think I’ve seen most of the bullshit management bollocks throughout the years, from Total Quality Management and Empowerment to High Performing Teams, Blue Ocean and now this, Agile thing.
“Agile” is a software development technique which, admittedly, has a catchier name than its apparent predecessor, “waterfall”. I wouldn’t know, I’ve not developed software using either process because I DON’T FUCKING DEVELOP SOFTWARE and, more pertinently, neither does the client. Still, Agile we shall be.
Irony of ironies, the facilitator was the least agile person I saw all day. In fact, he was a fat fucker and, even more amusingly, he was also selling “lean”, a process similar to “agile” but for operational processes. Someone in the training department is wetting their pants every time they arrange this course.
So, 4 or 5 hours into hearing different jargon for a collection of previously-used but differently-named techniques for organising teams and projects, we get into a bit of practical work.
First up; “I’m the customer and I want you to draw me a picture of this cat. Organise yourself into four teams and come up with the picture as a group”.
He shows a picture of a cat and then flicks the slide to show the picture split into four sections.
We organise into four groups, large sheets of paper and pens are distributed. People discuss which part of the cat each group should draw.
TNA. “you just want a picture of that cat, right? You don’t necessarily need it on 4 different pieces of paper?”
Facilitator, “yes, just one picture will be fine”
TNA. “who’s good at drawing? Someone draw the cat please”.
Facilitator. “oh, that doesn’t usually happen that quickly, usually people take a lot longer to organise”
Really? Do they? Really?
I’d be lying if I suggested that the day got any more interesting than this zenith. It didn’t.
We built things out of wooden books to imaginary customer specifications, organising the work into “iterations” as the Agile process demands. We did some “retrospectives” or “post mortems/lessons learned” as other methodologies might call them.
And the thick people left the room still thick and, well…. welcome to corporate Australia;
Agile, like John Goodman buying dinner for Phillip Seymour Hoffman at Burger King.