Political Systems and Agile

In politics, people have long realised that too much power is dangerous. Some bright spark came up with the idea of “separation of powers” to mitigate it. It’s a system of checks and balances. In the UK, power is split between the government, the judiciary and the civil service.

Agile teams typically have a similar structure: developers, a ScrumMaster and a product owner. There is no one person “in charge”. If you’re unfamiliar with agile you may be wondering how this works…

Q. Who tells people what to do? A. No-one. That’s it’s strength. The team is self-organising. It helps motivate people. A short standup meeting every day ensures that everyone knows what everyone else is doing.

Q. What if someone isn’t pulling their weight? A. In my experience, people worry more about letting their peers down than letting their boss down.

Q. Who’s looking at the “big picture”. Agile teams can include a strategist role. But the strategy is just another input, not a diktat.

The idea can be applied beyond development teams. But that’s for a separate post…


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