I believe the knowledge gap between the rest of the world and the agile community is so great that companies, and the people in them, cannot make an educated evaluation to the value we can provide. Worse yet, in situations where we could provide orders of magnitude more value than our cost, we are not setup to succeed, simply because this chasm of knowledge is too great and we cannot see it.
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People out there want our help
No company wants to be without a competitive edge, and therefore every company can benefit from our community. Why then are agile, coaches, developers, and facilitators not the most in demand positions out there?
Questioning Where We Are
What if the agile community is wrong? I do not mean fundamentally wrong, or ideologically wrong. But what if we are simply wrong because we know too much? Chip and Dan Heath talk about the curse of knowledge in “Made to Stick”. It is a mental state where you are unable to imagine the gap of knowledge between your audience and you, and therefor are unable to help them understand what you know.
So, I ask again, what if we are wrong?
Where are those we wish to help
Our community has gathered deep and rich knowledge about human systems, and complex organizational structures. These things are crucial and essential for the ever-growing complexity of modern business. However, what if we have left those we intend to help/guide so far behind that we can no longer help them?
What if, we have lost touch with those who genuinely want our help?
Agile frameworks are supposed to bridge this gap. However, what happens when the framework does not deliver as “promised”. People do as people do, and enter them into the “Responsibility Process”. A normal way of dealing with stress and negative outcomes, that ends often with the customer, the process, or agile being blamed.
What if blame is not the answer? What if the tool, was not right for where the customer was in their journey? What if, we as a community do not have a tool that is right for most companies?
Is there an answer
First let me say that, I am not advocating that we stop acquiring the knowledge that we are gaining. Expertise is still a valuable thing. But maybe, it needs to be complimented with something else.
The rest of the world is rightfully too busy with their lives and expertise to master ours. That is why we are the ones mastering it. But we are left with the question, how do we teach them enough to correctly evaluate the benefit our community provides them? How do we, learn enough about the people who need our help that we can empathize, and close that chasm enough that it is no longer a hinderance?