Nietzsche (1844-1900) said ‘truth is a mobile army of metaphors’.
He said a lot of other things, of course, not worth mentioning here. But it’s that one quote that came most often to mind during my visit to the Agile Alliance 2013 in Nashville recently.
From session to session, lunch conversation to bar stool banter, the same metaphors cropped up: ‘work in progress’, ‘theory of constraints’, ‘multi-colored stickies on a whiteboard’, and ‘self-organized teams’.
Of course, only last year, the prevailing metaphors were ‘user stories’, ‘points’, ‘velocity’, and ‘burn downs’, among others.
I enjoy keeping up with the new crop of metaphors, but don’t take them too seriously. If for nothing else, they bind us as humans together in a happy tribe (see Ferdinand de Saussure, 1857-1913), a tribe willing to fly to Nashville and hang out.
I would prefer, however, a language of great products, not processes; a dialogue full of images of humans made better off and happier by what we make.
Maybe those will be the metaphors for next year.
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