Software development methodologies impact performance

Photo by Marshall AstorOne blog post that floated to the top of my Twitter stream last week asked “Why don’t software development methodologies work?” Greg Jorgensen asked this and answered:

The individual skills and personalities of the team members, and how they communicate with each other, will have a much bigger effect than the methodology.

In my own experience it’s not as simple as that.

Skills and personalities are very important. But those things come out differently depending on the culture and system that people work within. And the approach to software development has a big impact on the culture. Change the methodology and you can change the culture. Change the culture and you’ll find the same people start behaving in different ways. This recalls W. E. Deming and John Seddon, who maintain that 95% of performance is attributable to the system, not the people.

Try changing a team’s methodology and you may have a good experience. I and many others have had successes here: the same people working together much more effectively than ever before to deliver impressive results… because you change the way they work together.

Photo by Marshall Astor