Agile Management and the Hivemind

I just read two books from the Zones of Thought series by Vernor Vinge. They are A Fire Upon the Deep and The Children of the Sky in case you want to check them out. If you're a Sci-Fi fan, please do.

So what does that have to do with management style? The link is a unique type of conciousness introduced in the book. Packs of dog like creatures could bond and the minds of each member would join and bond with the single mind of the pack.

A great agile team works much the same as these packs. While the team members won't soon develop the instant mind sound communication each pack member uses to coordinate activities, when viewed from the outside, great teams appear to read each other's minds.

I've not seen many great agile teams. I've been on exactly one team I would call great, and I always seek to return to that state. I once tweeted

Great agile teams are like the Nexus from Star Trek Generations. Once you've been on one, you'll do almost anything to get back.

Anyone whose been on one knows how that feels.

The Taylorism command and control style of management will never create a team like that. Neither will constant shuffling of people on and off the team or a high turnover environment.

Great teams grow out of a group of dedicated and responsible individuals who are allowed to self organize.

And great teams deliver working software frequently and that is the most important metric by which to measure them by.

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