Do Bears Scrum in the Woods? An Agile Fable

Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Agile hiking club!  I see that we have a few new members today, so let me go over the rules before we recite our creed and head out for another outdoor adventure.  First, while we recommend that you stay with the group, we are (of course) self-managed, so you're free to wander off for a bit as long as you catch up to the group before the end of the hike.  Second, please notify your hike master if you get stuck in the underbrush, forget which trail we're on, or forget why you're out in the woods altogether.  We're here to make your hike successful!  And finally, please remember that this is your hike.  If you have a better idea for a destination, or if you think that some of those flowers at the side of the trail would make the hike look better, please bring your ideas to the group and we'll consider them.

Before we start our hike let's recite our Manifesto:

"People over processes.
Function over documentation.
Collaboration over contracts.
Responding to change over following a plan."

Very good!  And don't forget the Corollaries:

"There is no boss. The best hike is a self-guided hike.
Writing things down is for the weak-minded.
Collective thought rules over individual genius.
We'll get there when we get there."

OK, I think we're ready.  As you know, per the Second Corollary, we don't have any trail maps because the trails could have changed since the last time we were here, so we'll go from memory, as always.  Follow me, or don't, whichever feels most valuable to you!

***

Hello again, everyone, and thank you so much for coming back!  Our last Agile hike was quite an adventure, wasn't it?  During the post-hike retrospective, we decided that it would be wise to purchase maps for the most well-known trails in light of the incident with Hike Master Bill.  We appreciate his sacrifice, and the heroic way that he charged that bear before it could get to the rest of the team.  His final words were, "Impediment removed."  Amen, brother, amen.  However, we do recognize the irony in the fact that the whole incident could have been avoided if Hike Master Bill had remembered which trail led home and which one led to the nature preserve.  You remain in our hearts, Bill, faulty memory and all.

The team has reviewed the metrics from the last hike and agreed that, in order to get our feet back under us, we will take a shorter route today and try to build up some momentum for our next hike.  If anyone feels that they need a longer hike, you're welcome to climb some extra trails after the rest of the group goes home.  We appreciate your energy levels and we don't want to stifle your creativity.  If you wouldn't mind sketching some maps for the rest of us to follow next time, we'd appreciate it.

***

Welcome back, everyone!  Last week's hike went so well, we've decided to kick it up a notch this week!  We'll be leaving the intermediate trails behind and heading straight up to Dead Man's Notch.  Now, I realize that we've never attempted a climb this challenging before, but we finished last week's hike in record time, so I'm sure that we'll be back well before dark.  Plus, Tom and Jim mapped some of the lower levels last week during their free time, so we'll have a huge head start.  They got as far as the bottom of the first cliff and are pretty sure that we can free climb it, so in the interest of traveling light we won't bother bringing any safety equipment.  Ready?  Let's go!

***

OK, well, last week we might have bitten off a little more than we could chew.  The good news is that Jim and Bob will recover from their injuries in 6-8 weeks and Susan's blood loss looked much worse that it actually was.  It would have been much worse if Hike Master Terry hadn't broken their fall.  He will be missed, and we have agreed to display his hiking boots in the Agile Hiking Hall of fame.  He was a true hike master, always willing to put his team's needs ahead of his own, making sure that everyone was properly hydrated and that there were enough snacks at hike planning meetings.  It's unfortunate that no one heard his warnings about the rockfall, but we really thought that Jim and Bob knew what they were doing when they chose that path.

To make sure that we avoid future incidents like this, we’ve decided to rope everyone together for all future hikes.  We realize that this will limit your ability to explore off trail, but we feel that the team's safety is more important than exploration right now.  Please put on these harnesses and clip onto the guide rope, and we'll get started.  In order to keep us from getting tangled, I'll go first on the trail, but please don't take this as me "leading the group" or telling anyone where they have to go.  This is no command-and-control hiking group, after all!  If you want to go a new direction, just pull on the rope and we’ll all stop to discuss your suggestion.

All right, everyone have your maps?  All roped in?  Let’s go!

***

Now, really, everyone, I’m a little disappointed in you.  Look, I don’t want to impose my best practice views on anyone, but your behavior on last week’s hike was not exactly in line with our principles.  Getting into a tug-of-war with the guide rope was bad enough, but I would have hoped that someone would have noticed that it was wrapped around Hike Master Rick’s arms and given him a chance to get untangled before you started pulling.  At least you could have stopped when he started screaming!  They tell me he’ll recover, but those were the nastiest rope burns I have ever seen.   Please remember that there are better ways to settle our differences.

I see that we’ve lost a few members this week, and not just to injury.  I recognize that last week’s retrospective got a little bit heated, but I would hope that people wouldn’t give up on our grand hiking vision so easily.  I need buy-in, people!

We’re going on a difficult hike today.  I was hoping that we’d have more people to take with us for this one, but we’ll just have to make do with what we have.  There will be some narrow trails, so please make sure your ropes are tight.  Follow me closely, and no pulling this time!  We have some goals to meet with this hiking club, and I’ll be darned if I’m going to let a few whiners keep us from meeting them!

I’m sorry.  That was uncalled for.  I’m just feeling a lot of pressure these days, and I’m not sure we’re ever going to get to the top of this mountain.  Let’s just get going.  I’m sure if we push hard we can get there and back by dark.

***

NOTICE:
DUE TO CATASTROPHIC MEMBERSHIP REDUCTION, THE AGILE HIKING CLUB IS NO LONGER MEETING IN THIS PARK.  IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO PARTICIPATE IN ONGOING HIKES, THE WATERFALL HIKING CLUB WILL BE HIKING THEIR USUAL ROUTE ON STAIRSTEP TRAIL



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