This is a only a tool.
That's one of the best lines from the film Blazing Saddles when Mel Brookes, playing the governor, can't get a paddle ball set to work. Of course we can see how silly this is, akin to blaming the hammer when we can't pound a nail straight into wood.

However when it comes to agile, it's all too often that the tools, process, or artifacts get blamed when desired results don't materialize: "The acceptance criteria were missing," "We could have finished more if we weren't in timeboxed sprints," "Things aren't working and we think agile will help."

As long as the focus remains on the tool it is more difficult to see what is causing pain.

I think it comes down to a simple test, and I tell my teams this: if fault is being assigned to a process, ceremony, or artifact, that's a clear indication that something went wrong along the way with a conversation. You know, that whole "individuals and interactions" thing.

As agile coaches, we can support those we work with by holding our Coaching Stance and shifting the focus from the problem to the underlying cause and solution using powerful questions: what interactions do we need to have, and what kind of individuals do we need to be, to prevent this? That is something we can work with.


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