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August 8, 2014

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Q&A: The Myth of “One-Size-Fits-All"

August 8, 2014

 Q: Do people here think that different approaches are warranted for different situations? E.g., Zappos has been in the news a-lot for its adoption of “holocracy” in lieu of traditional management. But interestingly, Zappos uses a continuous process for its software development, inspired by Lean: they even have a QA process and separate testing phase – quite unlike many agile environments. In fact, I believe that at Zappos, they developed their own process instead of adopting one “out of the box”, and perhaps that was a benefit of their participatory culture – perhaps that enabled them to collaboratively develop a robust tailored process of their own. So, to what extent do people here feel that the environment and circumstances are factors in determining the best approach? And to what extent does the right approach vary over time, as an organization makes its processes better and better?


A: That question is what I have based my practice and approach, not only to agile, but for the last 35 years on. You hit the nail on the head with the question. Every team, every program or project, every line of business, every corporation is different and therefore may have differences in the solutions that work for them. The goal is not really to be agile, but to deliver value to the customer in the best, most efficient, sustainable, and respectful way possible, with leaning to recognizing that relationship as a continuum (continuous flow). One size will never fit all! May come close. But tailors have been around for a lot longer than agilists!



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