Thursday, December 4, 2008

People versus Tools

I recently blogged about releasing every day and I got some interesting feedback from the community. However, I am sad about the fact that I got asked "What (software) tools you use" rather than "Could you tell me about your team".

I hope that people don't believe in achieving agility by downloading some tools from the Internet.

Simple (and stupid) comparison atleast may reveal something: "agile tools" gives me 24,800 hits on Google.

With "agile people" I get 7 210 hits...


Ari said...

People will always believe (or want to) that agility is a tool simply because that is easy. Any problem solved by money is preferable to problems solved by hard work.

Conveniently there are abundances of agile tools and even *gasp* platforms on the market.

And if your business idea is selling agile, there is more money to be made by selling tools rather than consultants. The tool business scales, consulting business does not.

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Marko -- great stuff.

As they say, even if processes and tools are important, people are a lot more important. It's so simple that a lot of people don't seem to believe it :) For some reason, it's generally acceptable to have a team consisting mostly of poor programmers, while in a lot of other fields (such as driving a car or working as a doctor) you're not allowed to work without senior supervision until you've learned an acceptable level of the skills needed. I think that it's a symptom of the immaturity of our field that hopefully is maturing as stories like yours get better known.

@Ari: I don't care if one could theoretically make more money by selling tools than by selling services. For me, agile is about common sense, doing right stuff in the right way. Same kind of stuff as local administration of municipal issues instead of centrally dictating anything. Obviously in the end more money should be made and/or saved, but also people should be happier and risks should be under control. It's about optimising the whole.

For making money, there are a lot of ways that are not so acceptable morally. Making money should never be the only goal of a business, but companies have responsibilities towards all their stakeholder groups and operating environment.

- Timo Rantalaiho

Ari said...

Timo the point I tried to make is that a software product business is always easier to scale than a consulting business. Making new copies of installation CDs is a lot more easier than cloning new consultants, don't you agree?

And there is something in the human psychology that makes us always fall for the promise of a free lunch. Like converting your organization into an agile fighting machine by buying a fancy tool for example. Or buying the Super Flex Abdominizer from TV Shop and believing it is a replacement for time spent in the gym.

Morals have nothing to do with it, it is just good business. Assuming the tools being sold are any good, that is.