Beyond Best Practices: Keeping Agile Agile

Dan North, ThoughtWorks

Adopting "best practices" seems to be an intrinsic part of the transition to agile-with many organizations creating special process teams and hiring methodology consultants to implement and enforce best practices. These practices often are seen as a cornerstone of an agile change program and are even touted as a selling point-"Our projects will surely succeed if we follow best practices!" And of course, there are industries and ecosystems that have grown up around accreditation, auditing, and support of specific agile methods. Do they actually help you, or might they in fact be working against your organization? Dan North argues that best practices are useful only up to a point. Rigidly enforcing them is counter to the values of agile and will eventually drive away your best people. He looks at the motivations behind agile initiatives and introduces the Dreyfus model of skills acquisition-a framework for exploring the effectiveness of best practices in your team and organization. Dan shows that by understanding how people learn and develop, you can evolve your own agile practices and keep them relevant and applicable to the practitioners in your context.

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