Friday, June 23, 2006

The Agile Team Membership

The Agile team is usually composed of the following personalities. These reflect the diversity required to produce the necessary production simulation:

The Protagonist
The protagonist is the instigator. Under any circumstance, you can rely on him to start the ball rolling. He will sometimes engage in debates over the unnecessary just to shake the tree. He will use any technique he's ever heard of, and will look to bring in any consultants he can find (including The Pope) to prove that his home-reading-time hasn't been wasted.

The protagonist will start tons of new initiatives, all of which will fail in some way. Sometimes they will fail because the protagonist cannot finish anything, and sometimes they will fail because all they had going for them was rationale, invented by the protagonist to make himself look good.

The failure of the protagonist's older ideas will be masked by the impact of the implementation of his latest ideas.

The protagonist may find a believer and set up the code police to ensure that the new ideas are being followed, whether they are good ideas or not.

The Believer
The Believer is often The Mythical Man Moth. He is a lost soul in search of new ideas. The protagonist can use the believer to do his bidding. The believer will become fervent about anything and will accidentally ingratiate himself to management this way. Management want to believe that their team is made up of dedicated individuals. The believer dedicates himself to whatever is going and becomes the golden boy by default.

Unlike the protagonist, the believer isn't trying to make himself look good. Therefore, his status as golden boy is exceedingly fragile and he will be one of the first to get the chop if management ever get wind of how gullible he is.

The Mug
Like the believer, the mug will accept whatever you tell him. However, he's not going to be telling anybody about it. He'll just trudge on with the latest fad until the ground shifts beneath his feet.

The Antagonist
The arch-enemy of the protagonist and believer, the antagonist won't take anything lying down. Change even the brand of coffee in the office, and he'll start a campaign about it. His vociferous opposition to everything is exactly what the protagonist needs to show management why schemes are failing. "Well it would work if people wouldn't oppose it so much." Without an antagonist, the failure of the schemes would pass without a scapegoat and the believer might be uncertain of whether he's involved on the right side of a holy war.

The Defender
The defender will do whatever is necessary to protect his position without causing offense. He will find ways of adding his requirements to any process. Although he will stand in opposition to some change, he will, ultimately, find a way to incorporate that change into his life. However, his own working practices will become increasingly bizarre as each change he incorporates threatens to undermine them.

The antagonist will try to gain the support of the defender, while the believer will see the defender's adoption of the new methods as proof of everything. The protagonist will find new and interesting ways to confuse the defender with change.

The Resistor
The resistor will oppose but not directly attack any change, whether it's for the better or no. The resistor simply doesn't want anything to change, believing that "the old ways are the best". Where possible, the resistor will use a pad and pencil to record everything, and only works on the computer out of necessity.

The Passive/Aggressive
The passive aggressive will also oppose any change, finding a plenitude of reasons why "I would do things your way, but it's simply impossible". Most meetings with the passive aggressive will be spent in confusion as she either doesn't understand, doesn't want to understand, or willfully misunderstands the demands of the protagonist. The protagonist finds the passive aggressive the most wearing and ultimately uses the get them out pattern to deal with the situation.

The Ostrich
The ostrich just wants a quiet life and so takes any opportunity to ignore the effects of change. They will play along with the protagonist and the believer, will be outwardly optimistic to the defender and resistor, and will ignore the antagonist and passive/aggressive completely.

The ostrich has sandy eyes, but can get to sleep at night.

The Pope
In order to provide extra support for the protagonist, and extra fervour to the believer, the Pope can be brought in. The Pope is seen as the holy leader of the cause and speaks only in truisms and riddles. The Pope's word cannot be questioned without consequences.

Even management cower at the thought of an audience with The Pope.


Anonymous seen it all before said...

There's also the team member who's seen it all before and needs to be shown some evidence that this will work before he/she gets involved. This character is the most dangerous because they know the pattern of promises and eventual failure, so is worth getting rid of ASAP.

3:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sounds like this person is a combination of passive/aggressive and resistor.

3:24 PM  
Anonymous S said...

Funny though - because the Pope character also often has what people who actually know something about pyschology (or who've watched Frasier, or who've asked their girlfriends...) would call passive/aggressive.
Or in some cases just aggressive - but that only works if they're the sort of person you clearly can't punch with a clean conscience.

Speaking of passive/aggressive, it seems the "A"gile community is now backlashing against the capital "A"
Irritating - now I'll have to find something else to accurately describe my own opinions without being immediately labelled as a trend following cretin :-/

11:43 PM  

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