Why do we go through our everyday life calling our little ones “kids” or “children” and not “offspring” or “progeny”? To me, “offspring” or “progeny” are words that dehumanize beings that I love and respect. I certainly want my kids to grow up knowing that I care and love them and that they should bring that same kindness to others that the meet throughout their lives. Our choice of words matters. “Offspring” and “progeny” sound like legal words while “kids” or “children” are more human and endearing. Our choice of words matters.
Does this choice apply to work? Does the choice apply to the values behind agile. You Betcha! Take a look at the Agile Manifesto…
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
The wording is very deliberate. In its essence agile chooses humanity over machinery, kind words over mechanical processes. Blaise Pacal, 17 century French mathematician, physicist, and philosopher wrote that “Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much.” We should speak in kind terms not just as the niceties of plain conversation but even down to the way sthat we talk about scaling agile.
- Resource should be a banned term when you are actually talking about living, breathing, feeling people.
- Inspect & Adapt should be a banned term when we are really talking about groups of people deliberately creating space (teams might even look at this as “sacred space”) and looking at how they feel things are going and what they might want to do differently to make them feel better about how they deliver products to our customers.
- Factory should be a banned term because we aren’t a factory and we aren’t gears in a machine, but rather passionate people pushing themselves to be Deliverers of Business Value.
When we begin to create a more human vernacular we begin to create a culture of openness, honesty, and transparency.
“Kind words do not cost much. Yet they accomplish much.” Be kind.