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Yeah, yeah, but that’s just theory…

Ever heard of booklore? - It’s learning or knowledge acquired from books, rather than through practical experience.

In the agile community we need to be mindful of this as many of us are bibliophiles (probably something to do with the growth mindset and all that…), I even started an agile book club…but whilst being well read is sensible in principle, it presents a couple of possible tricky situations to be aware of.

1️⃣ The temptation to blindly apply what you’ve read in a book before experimenting and validating it yourself. This is high risk. Someone else’s success was due to whatever system they were operating in, the context of their market, the people doing the work, and multiple other elements unique to them. Of course we can garner insight from it, but do just that, use it as inspiration not instruction.

2️⃣ We present tested ideas in a way that come across as book-ish, and not real-ish (did I just make a word up?!), anyway what I mean is that we don’t talk from our experience or express things in a way that the team can relate to. We don’t help our colleagues to reduce their cognitive load, by enabling them to clearly see how <this thing> can work in <their context>.

Both of these situations lend themselves to card #2 of the Agile Bullshit game co-created with Koen and Michele.

The risk is that a possible good idea gets dismissed before having the chance to be explored. The team resist and become less likely to be willing to play with it.

So, to avoid someone calling 🐄💩 on you, take a gentle, curious approach to how your experience, insights or learnings could be useful for the group in their current context. Good luck!

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