One of the cool things about Agile is how it is a blend of several different disciplines — sociology, applied psychology, sales, marketing, branding, team-building, structured analysis, and so on.
This is also the toughest thing about Agile: it’s not a solid set of principles. It’s best practices around iterative and incremental development. And “best practices” will change over time and in different circumstances. That means that we’re constantly trying out new ideas and seeing what works and in what kinds of situations.
In fact, that’s also the coolest part of Agile. Agile is a community of learning where we’re always trying new things in different situations and reporting on whether they work or not. One set of folks comes up with a big set of best practices, the community tries them out, people publish their lessons, then we all learn.
I thought about that today — the good and bad parts of Agile — as I read about Bruce Feiler’s “The Secrets of Happy Families: Improve Your Mornings, Rethink Family Dinner, Fight Smarter, Go Out and Play, and Much More”
Bruce has gone into the Agile community and used some of our best practices to apply to family life. Things like a stand-up, or goal-setting. He’s also done a high-level review of a lot of self-help stuff from all kinds of disciplines.
There are folks who might call such books facile — simplistic, formulaic pablum for people wandering from one self-help book to another.
I think if you view these kinds of books as somehow holding the answers to life, the universe, and everything, you’re probably right. But that’s way too high of a standard.
Life’s a buffet, not a Happy Meal. You get to try new things and see what works for you. Looks like Bruce has done a lot of the legwork in putting various ideas together for you and your family — some from Agile, some from other places. Try some, see what works for you. Perhaps then you can write the version 2.0 of this book; ideas that work most of the time with most families. And that’d be a good thing for the rest of us.
ADD: For those of you who are interested in hearing more about the book, I came across Bruce’s book through this NPR story that a friend shared on G+.If you've read this far and you're interested in Agile, you should take my No-frills Agile Tune-up Email Course, and follow me on Twitter.