Open source software, agile development techniques and social media tools are three of my favorite things. They have one thing in common that binds them together — they help people collaborate.
All three provide mechanisms people can use to interact and cooperate. In fact, the more we do so, the better the results. That’s how crowdsourcing works — many hands, many minds, better results! Think about it.
Open Source Software
Open source projects existed before agile development and social media. The popular open source projects like the Apache HTTP Server, LibreOffice, Linux and Mozilla’s Firefox are great because lots of people contribute. Many ideas, opinions and contributions make the software better. It can get cantankerous at times but that’s okay. Reasonable people can disagree — sometimes strongly — and still work together to achieve a better result.
Agile Development Techniques
Agile software development came along to address the process issues around building software. It takes a lot of skills, tools and techniques to build great software. But more than anything else, it takes people who interact and collaborate. We can debate Scrum vs. Kanban vs. XP vs. Lean for weeks. None of those approaches will work without good people who are willing to work together and accept compromises. It’s not about the process. It’s about the people.
Social Media Tools
Smartphones have given us the ability to communicate in new ways. The simple phone call is from the last century. Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and similar tools have changed our lives. They give us new ways to interact with others — even people we’ve never met. Suddenly, anyone can be heard and acknowledged anywhere in the world by simply posting a message or picture through one of these services. It’s amazing and addictive.
Collaboration Is Key
When we collaborate, we get more done in less time with higher quality. The collaboration must be genuine, however. If the opinions of managers carry more weight than those of others, collaboration is crushed — command and control take over.
If you dislike the concept of open source software and you hate social media tools, you aren’t going to like agile software development either! It’s time to change.