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Agile Tribu – What it means to me? (In France (the country) and in English (the language)


2012 was the year I learnt about agile. To be faire, I had probably used it without knowing it. But as ancient history will say, there is power in words and calling something what it is. “Je m’assume”. This is my favourite French phrase, a state of being explained in simply 2 words, I assume (take on and be at peace with the position).

Beginning of 2015, I started discussing with Yannick and Nathaniel about setting up a structure together. The question on my mind is what will 2 agilists with extensive agile and technical background do with me, a non developer (not even html), HR and change management background. But we had a vision, even though it was just the beginning of a sort of a vision.

We started with lowest hanging fruits. The problems we all face as independents. As independents, we work alone, we find work alone and once we had work, we may forget to look for future projects. We wanted to create a space physical and virtual where independents can exchange, find solidarity with other independents and a convenient place to go to work and give trainings or hold meetings.

But we had a question, are we just a co-working space provider or a “mission” provider? That’s when we started debating and refining our vision. We are not just running away from something but we are running towards something. And that something is about advancing the practice of agile. This is the heart of the matter and the subject close to our hearts.

And this is where my heart lays – the dignity of work. Talking about happiness, talking about scrum, kanban, waterfall is just describing the waters when we are drowning. If we look at the spirit and essence of agile and the manifesto, it’s about communicating and gaining understanding among people, producing things that works and hence has value, working along side each other to achieve a goal, ability to adapt to seek improvements. How does that not describe the human spirit and being a human being in an ecosystem of people? And how can we say we can find dignity in work when we don’t have these, when we work by ourselves to produce outcome that benefits no one and has no contact with other human beings and has to work against other people? If we have these, how can we say we are still unhappy and why would scrum, kanban, waterfall matter? Aren’t these just the rules that define the game so we can succeed in working and enjoying this game of work?

And maybe that’s the HR in me speaking. And I digress.

We wanted a structure that will be open, transparent, provide teaching and learning opportunities, auto-organised. Most of all, it is to achieve better adoption of agile, not just in IT but in all professional communities (and private lives too, in my opinion). It’s not because it’s fashionable (but we like the trend), it’s not because it’s money making (that will be help!) but really because if we want to achieve all these values we talked about, agile propositions will get us there. In my opinion, if we were to achieve dignity at work and a happiness as a by-product, agile works. And it’s because agile already expressed these as values and principles.

Stephen Covey also proclaims that values govern people’s behavior, but principles ultimately determine the consequences.

Hence, practicing the principles will determine our arrival at expressing those behaviours in the values we promote. And why I put my trust in agile.

As a group, we debated about the name and finally, we arrived at Agile Tribu. A tribe is a group of people who is community driven and organises itself automatically according to a code. A tribe also has unique qualities that non-tribal members may not understand or join without displaying them. And a tribe has an insanely tight cultural code and belief system. And this is what we would like our structure and the network we build to do – a tribe obsessed with agile and advancing these principles and values, not as individuals but as a community, to hold each other up to these high standards and also to help and build each other towards the practice of agile.

We have also evolved in our thinking. We believe whether a person works for a company or works for themselves, they are still an individuals. And coming together as Agile Tribu will help to advance agile in their company or in their personal growth and work. But we hold true to the idea that we need a physical space to do that, a time to come together, to share, to learn, to teach, to think, to explore and to create.

And our business will be to help people in companies or individuals to advance agile adoption.

Finally, on a personal note, it is a community that I hope will consider my skin colour, my language and my origin as additions to a similar passion. Et oui, je parle français également.

And I hope, we will attract like minded people to come join the tribu and participate in our work, most of all, to work with us to uphold the vision we have on agile.

Labour reforms in Europe, more sound than substance?


On Friday, 10/2/2012, Spain has announced several labour reforms approved by the cabinet. Spain’s unemployment stands at 23% and 50% for those under 25 year olds. The policies were mainly targeted to make firing cheaper for companies.

In an attempt to reduce cost of firing, these include:
Reducing from 45 days per year of work entitlement to 33 days.
Capping the maximum firing payout to be 24 months rather than 42 months

In an attempt to create jobs, employers will get €3000 tax breaks if a company hire less than 50 people and hires a new worker under 30 years old seeking the 1st job.

As expected, some people came out to protest the changes. Among the 500 people in Madrid protesting, it turned from a peaceful protest into violence.

In terms of job creations, these measures are targeted to reduce cost of firing that may not affect hiring. Having said that, many have said that these are long overdue changes.

In contrast, France has announced end of January 2012 that it planned to cut cost of hiring that will save enterprises €1b3n. And to fund these, they will increase VAT or known in France as TVA from 19.6% to 21.2%.

While reducing cost of hiring that is at a staggering 55% will encourage hiring, according to a report by Morgan Stanley, this impact will be reduced by inflation.

In both Spain and France, these changes will not be effective until after November 2012. In Spain’s case, it has to pass through parliament and in France, it will depend on the presidential elections in April this year.

What I don’t understand is that while politics is relatively short-term at 4 or 5 years, they attempt to make policies that are long term. There is nothing wrong with long term policies but the market has moved swiftly and short term measures will be required.

In a bid to relax labour laws to encourage hiring, have there been considerations for laws that will be in place for 2 years while the economic crisis is still in placed?

In a recent report by Financial Times, youth unemployment has more than doubled in many countries since 2008. Some of the measures could have been in place to encourage youth hiring or open up the job market at a time when companies are exercising constraints.

For example, reduction in social charges can be applied only to companies who qualify such as proving net hiring to be above rate of natural turn over, e.g. 5%. And reduction in social charges can be staggered and encourages companies to reduce work hours, apply for reduction in social charges before finally conducting redundancy firing.

I’m no politician or pretend to know what is best in a very complex region. In the private sector, there are round tables for exchanges of ideas. In politics, are leaders talking to each other for ideas? And do we really have to wait for election to be over for changes? If that’s the case, many will have to wait till 2013 or 2014 because this year, countries expecting a change in power include United States, France, China, Taiwan, Russia among others.

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