2011 Agile – Dinner with Jeff Patton and friends

I had the great luck to have dinner with Jeff Patton, one of the main people to use Story-mapping in the Agile world. I wanted to say “inventor” but, and one of the great things about Jeff, he won’t make that claim. Rather, he said that he and David Hussman seemed to start to use Story Mapping at about the same time.

Also at dinner was a guy (whose name I’ve forgotten) who is in the middle of writing a book and used to work for ThoughtWorks, this wonderful Professor from New Zealand, Angela Martin, (she teaches Agile at Oxford!), one of her students, and Rob Purdie, the head of the Scrum user group in New York City (and an Agilist for none other than IBM – changing the world!)

What was really interesting for me (and why I decided to post about just eating food), was the continuance of the theme from the Park Bench. Jeff Sutherland expressed it most succinctly – and I’ll just paraphrase: The manifesto could not have happened with any one of us.

What this gets at is the greatness of teams. From the soup of the team marvelous things can bubble up and come into being. The challenge is? We grasp at this. We want the great idea, that really came from the team, to be “MY idea.”

We’ve got a long way to go to get this type of thinking to dissolve. How much it has to dissolve, I’m ready to explore. In fact, I just realized I have not used “Team” as a category and have focused on things like “Leadership” and “Agile Masters.”

This seems incredibly advanced to me, and bear with me, because I see this as yet another step in our human evolution beyond feudalism. And I’m not proposing we deny the individual and suppress the wonderful things the individual brings to community. I think there’s risk in that of losing value, of over-looking talent.

Rather, I am thinking there is an evolutionary step beyond the conformity to a team (a village) and the aggressiveness of the individual (the lord). What’s exciting is we may be at a sort of meta-tipping point, a blissful union of Eastern and Western thinking, in which the individual transcends individuality and becomes something far greater through the interdependence of many minds.

Sounds rather earnest, I know.

One thing I forgot an important aha – is the fact it is “potentially” shippable software – which means “done.”. Not that we’d actually ship the piece.

More notes: Jeff made a comparison of me as similar to a 10-year old in Disneyland – which just means there is a kind of innocence there. This pattern repeated later.

One Response to “2011 Agile – Dinner with Jeff Patton and friends”

  1. #agile2011 On Further Reflection and in Light of the #Verizonstrike « Says:

    […] thought about my time with Alistair Cockburn and Jeff Patton, and the questions about Open-ness that had come up for me after interacting with them.   In […]

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