Yves started the Agile Retroflection of the day project for 2010. Today’s question is “When would you choose to value process and tools over individuals and interactions?”

Strangely, I find myself in a situation where I need to place a very high value on process to provide shock therapy to a client that is in the whirlpool at the end of the waterfall.

It’s the usual software story of an over-full release with a fixed release date required by not one but two external customers. Add to this a chaotic process and broken telephone between functional groups. The interesting question posed by the client is this: “Is there anything you can do to help us?” (What would you say?)

Given the timelines and pressure, there is no way I know how to do Agile in a conventional way. So tomorrow, I am launching what Gerry Kirk and I called Guerrilla Agile – something light and tactical. To make this work, I will need to very directive in what needs to happen. The main goal of this phase is to get shippable software. A later phase is planned for a sustainable transition to Agile.

In terms of my training budget, I figure I have at most 3 hours. Here the emphasis will be on cross-functional teams and working together. So in this sense I am valuing people and interactions over process  – not the other way around. Perhaps the title of this post is backwards: maybe all the command and control around  process is just a smoke-screen so I can focus people on what’s important: teamwork.

P.S. Given all the passion and energy around Kanban and Scrum these days, I think it apropos to mention that we’ll get started with Kanban since even 1 week long sprints would be to big  a challenge in the current environment.