Every day, across a wide variety of software and IT organizations, people are being oppressed. At this point, the oppression has become so systemic, so ingrained, and so accepted as “business as usual” or “the culture around here” that it is effectively invisible. In the software industry we casually talk about “death marches” and how people that give up their vacations, weekends, and special events at their kid’s schools are “real team players.” We routinely set ridiculous deadlines that nobody believes in to “motivate” people into “giving it their all.” And for what? Is a little extra bonus money worth the broken relationships, lost time with your children, high stress, guilt, unhappiness, and impact on health?
Unfortunately, one of the reasons that Agile adoptions fail is that implementing the principles and values of the Agile Manifesto requires breaking the deeply ingrained habits of oppression. It is time to do more than just offer the solution of Agile development, it is time bring the subject to light and provide ways to counteract oppressive behavior.
Who is to blame? Is it a certain personality type or role? No. The root cause is not a person, it is the practices and organizational structures of traditional development itself. It is the system, not the people. Truly addressing the problem means changing the practices and organizational structures to support a healthy work environment. But the path to change starts with awareness and coping mechanisms.
In this session, participants will take a journey of self-discovery, realizing how they unknowingly practice, enable, and condone oppressive behaviors that they wouldn’t allow in other contexts. After having their eyes opened, they will then interactively learn and practice ways to peacefully and constructively counteract oppressive behaviors. As those practicing oppressive behavior experience new and more effective ways to handle the typical pressures of software development, they will also have less need to practice their old behaviors.
*’To accept passively an unjust system is to cooperate with that system; thereby the oppressed become as evil as the oppressor.’*
*’Often the oppressor goes along unaware of the evil involved in his oppression so long as the oppressed accepts it.’*
**–Martin Luther King Jr.**
*’Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.’*
**–The Agile Manifesto**