Over-thinking Corporate Principles

I think the corporate world is over-thought. Yes, I said it. It seems to me that most “principles” can be whittled down to using common sense and doing what needs to be done.

The notion of agile development was mentioned by one of my colleagues today and my gut reaction was something along the lines of “forget fancy terminology, can’t everyone just do their work?” It’s not that I’m against agile development, which for those unfamiliar, is explained by Wikipedia like so:

“Agile methodologies generally promote a project management process that encourages frequent inspection and adaptation, a leadership philosophy that encourages teamwork, self-organization and accountability, a set of engineering best practices that allow for rapid delivery of high-quality software, and a business approach that aligns development with customer needs and company goals.”

Let’s break this down in to plain English. What I’m getting out of this is project management is needed. Projects should be watched closely. Adjustments should be made where appropriate. People should work together and do their job. Everyone should know what works and how to deliver a good product on time. The product should be useful to customers and be within the company’s area of focus (e.g., an auto company should not try to make dog food).

I can’t be the only person thinking “well, duh.” (Moments like these bring out my inner middle schooler and her vibrant vocabulary.)

Why so formal? Why is it that we needed extensive research and documentation in this area? When did common sense give way to a corporate rigidity that often hinders progress?

Like I said, I’m not opposed to agile development. In fact, I wholeheartedly agree with many of its founding ideas. Flexibility is necessary. Communication is vital. Energetic, trusted employees work wonders. Listening to the customers… just when did that cease to be important, anyway?

I am going to share what I feel is the most valuable principle for business, or life in general for that matter: Do what needs to be done and help people. Use common sense and common courtesy. With this simple practice you just may find yourself unknowingly following the principles of agile development (or whatever the latest fashionable corporate rage is).


1 Comment

  1. brandi said,

    Wednesday, February 4, 2009 at 10:22 pm

    “do what needs to be done and help people”

    girl that’s a life principle. rock on!

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