The Habit of Tools

 We have often talked about why some software development teams, in particular the ones who tend to classify themselves as working with agile methods, used software tools-like JIRA, Pivotal Labs, Mingle-while others simply didn’t. What to use could throw many teams into endless debate, then as by magic a tool would be selected, making some happy and others disgruntled. Tim and myself had been quitely debating between ourselves, what problems are they-the teams-really trying to solve using these agile tools?

 Throughout our careers when we have politely asked why, the response is unclear and hard to relay to others, there is a “well it depends response.” It appears that who has the most influence, trust, or the biggest boots, or is the tallest, or owns the wallet decides. We’ve observed the needs of the procurement, buy 10 get one free, out weigh the need of the team, changing the course of purchase decisions. 

 There is a collection of organisations who have dived into agile transformation programs that immediately believe a tool must be purchased, almost as of a habit of the past, the defacto purpose: problems are solved with software. It’s as if its easier to buy tools rather than to understand and correct the way they work. There are no short cuts to learning and no learning will bring about no change or improvement in the current situation, the thinking that caused the problem typically can't solve the problem. So why do you need to buy a tool in your agile team, what problem are you really trying to solve?