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Resources or People? Words that are not okay in a healthy organization

There are few words that make me pause more than the word RESOURCE. The word on its own isn't bad, but it's the use of the word to describe people, more specifically, people being replaceable and interchangeable - that make my teeth hurt.

My daughter had a baby recently. Ask that little man, and me, if she is replaceable? Of course not. Yet in the context of an organization and any project, we will use the term "replace the resource" or "add a resource" to complete the project as originally planned as if it's completely possible.

I've managed thousands of projects in my career. At the height of my PMP days, I was considered a firefighter who was brought in to save projects that in many people's eyes were failures. I did so again and again. In that role, was I replaceable? That organization didn't think so, in fact, they named me as one of their "IT Resources we can't afford to lose" at one of the last All Hands meetings I attended, before I did, in fact, leave, partly because they completely missed the point.

What about that brilliant development lead who finds completely creative solutions to meet your business needs? Or the tester who always steps up to the plate to lead the team when everyone else is stepping back? Are they? If so, why then does their departure always have an impact on the team?

The word NEVER is even more commonly used. Our organization has ALWAYS done it this way, and will NEVER accept that agile thing. If you stop and think about it though, you know instinctively that NEVER is a very long time. A very long time indeed.

Agile isn't rocket science, it's a common-sense approach to managing things we have very little information about. It embraces the truth that the world is a very different place today than it was yesterday, and that tomorrow will be different again. It accepts reality and adjusts our approach to what happens, instead of trying to adjust reality to it what we want to hear. So if you decide to be Agile, you can do so knowing it's just plain common sense!

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