Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Doing agile instead of learning to become agile

We have an overseas work experience program where we sent an employee to work at an oversea company for a year. This isn't to gain technical experience because we select one of our best technical people out - it's to gain experience with working with people from other culture and to experience living in other society.

Japan is an island and have been isolated themselves for a very long time. There was only 1 port in Nagasaki open for foreign trade. This long isolation suddenly came to a stop when a US navy led by Commander Perry demanded Japan to open their ports.

Even with Internet making communication with people from other countries possible, many Japanese do not take opportunity and tend to stick with themselves. The danger of this is that it's difficult to create something non-Japanese would like. I think this is the main cause of several Japanese IT companies creating offices in other countries but closing them after few years.

Back to our work experience program, the first employee came back this month and he did a presentation on what it was like to live in San Francisco and to work in a US company. He didn't use the word "agile" but what he was explaining was what agile is - getting working software rather than doing research, members finding their own tasks and finding for themselves on how to solve it, having short meetings, and people interaction over technology.

In the meantime, many Japanese have been taking Scrum courses. Scrum is one of the popular IT keywords in Japan. Many companies now are being to have Scrum Master and Product Owners. However, they are still having rigorous planning with top - down project structure. They think they are doing agile because they are "using" Scrum.

I beginning to think it's better for more people to go and actually work in a condition where it's agile rather than "trying" to become agile - people don't become agile by learning, they become agile by doing.

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