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Tech Stories Need to Include People and Technology

On his blog Exploration Through Example Brian Marick, prolific writer on Test Driven Development, last week mused alout on what he calls "An unhappy trend: a looming humanist/technologist split"  and cited a couple of examples from the Agile2006 conference that combined both aspects well.  His article may be of interest to communicators, for example: those preparing to teach on Agile practices or to write a case study.
As something of an instinctive middle-of-the-roader, stories that combine the human/social and the technological make the most sense to me. Agile is noteworthy for telling such stories. For example, the story of an XP project is not the story of a progression of work artifacts (as many processes are); instead, it's a story that includes people sitting in particular physical configurations and deliberately not replicating the ownership relations of the society around them (when it comes to code and expertise).

But at the same time, XP isn't a story you can tell well without talking about technology. It's not a story of a surgical team or a squad of soldiers: it's a story of working software, changed frequently in behavior-preserving and behavior-adding ways.

Marick doesn't deny the value of pure-technology or pure-social discussions, but he suggests they're seductively easy and probably incomplete. 


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