Tractor For Sale

I once heard a story, that I cannot validate in content, nor origin; but sounds too true in general, and with how we approach so many things.

Russia had an immense workforce in the early 1900’s, but lacked the mechanization to take them to the next level in terms of production, especially for export and their financial security.  They also lacked the cash to import any measurable amount of equipment to reverse that position.  It’s a catch .22 if I’ve ever heard of one.

Their solution?  Purchase one, high-performing Japanese tractor, reverse engineer it, and make their own.  They had copied it exactly, but failed to understand that the cracked engine block was a flaw, not part of the design.  You can imagine where it goes from here.  I did a little research and stumbled on a thread about a B-29 that crashed in Russia in WWII.  A short time later, they rolled out the TU-4, patched hole in the fuselage and all!!

This is still true of us today!  We adopt a process or approach, and seem to follow it, flaws and all, without question.

Agile methods and their supporting frameworks are GUIDELINES, not the rule or etched in stone!  An example of this is the retrospective.  I find a lot of teams in a room, staring at a projected screen, and one guy asking, what worked, what didn’t?  It’s quiet, only one or two folks are contributing, and it’s an overall, rather lackluster experience- without much value.  When I ask, “why do you conduct your retro that way?”  The response invariably is “That’s how we always do them.”

You have to do what makes sense, and you have to make the process work for you! Embrace change, and innovate your process!

If you are getting tripped up in your process, don’t be afraid to follow the sage advice of Gunny Highway in the movie classic ‘Heartbreak Ridge’: “Improvise. Adapt. Overcome.”

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