The Handoff

I sense the time of the handoff is quickly approaching.

A generation is twenty years and it was almost twenty years ago that the Manifesto was first crafted in that conference room at Snowbird.

At the recent AONW conference, a new generation could be seen taking the Agile Story as their own. There were those there in their forties, but, more importantly, those in their twenties who were there because they sensed something important.

Helen and I had a long conversation with James, a young developer who is working at Microsoft. A recent graduate, he had learned about agile practices as an intern, but wanted to learn more. He sensed that agile was more than just the practices.

The following day I decided to do another session. The previous day I did one on the Agile Mindset that James attended. But, after our conversation with James, I realized I needed to do another one.

If I had one story to tell to this next generation, I thought to myself that morning, what would that story be? It was then I realized that it was the story of the Blue Plane: Kay and his team at PARC who reimagined the nature of computing.

James was there along with a colleague of his, Akeem. I shared with everyone that this session was being done for James and his generation.

A generation who did not know the stories – stories that illuminated the deeper meaning of agile – the Essence of Agile.

We had a lively discussion after I told the story and James was fully engaged – probing deeper into the meaning. But Akeem, sitting on the other side of the room, sat there without expression. I could not read him.

After the session I looked for opportunities to bump into Akeem, one of only a few African Americans at the conference. I was curious, what did he think?

But yet, throughout the afternoon the opportunity never arose.

I was leaving that evening to head out to dinner. We were outside. And then he came out the door. As he did, I asked him what he thought of the session. His face immediately changed. A huge smile flashed: he loved it.

There was something in that story of the blue plane that spoke deeply to him – the audacity to dream and create with others in a shared space of the imagination – that was clearly as life-giving to him as it was for Kay's team.

I realized then the importance of storytelling. Stories that reveal the deeper meaning of agile and this journey we are on. For it is now the time for us to inspire the next generation to continue on – to hand them the baton.

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