Correlation is not Causation

I am continually amazed at the stream of requests that I receive for ‘ROI’ with Agile. NEWS FLASH:  (as immortalized by Admiral Akbar) It’s a trap!

The moment the first number trickles from your lips- you are locked into this rate on return.  No appeals due to environment, team composition, corporate politics, etc.  Stuck. This begs the question, ‘why wouldn’t I qualify a salable ROI number?’  I’ll tell you why. Correlation is not causation.  Rather, just because something happens here, doesn’t mean it is going to happen there.  (A flurry of great 80’s movies flash in my mind- Better Off Dead- If I ski K-2 also, she’ll like me; Can’t Buy Me Love- If I walk, talk, dress, act like the popular crowd, then I’ll be popular; Pretty in Pink- maybe if I don’t hang out with my yuppy friends, she’ll like me; etc).

Another ‘why’, and keep this on the DL as I am about to reveal one of the major secrets of agile:  Agile is about people and relationships. Keep that under your hat.

AGILE IS ABOUT PEOPLE AND RELATIONSHIPS, people!  It’s got nothing, really, to do with software!

Bottom line- if your buddy goes to the gym, runs on the treadmill for 30 minutes a day- and loses weight, do you expect if you model his workout, that you will have the exact same results?  I hope not…  If your online team ‘goes agile’ and delivers 50% faster, then you shouldn’t expect your infrastructure team to suddenly become 50% faster if they ‘go agile’ as well- but I bet they will get something beneficial out of it!  Why the difference? Because people are an intangible set of variables and Agility is merely a tool to better understand that.

There’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.

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