From the Saturday afternoon memo department

To: [name elided]
From: MWS
Date: Saturday, 6:04 p.m.

Wow, I do weekend things on a weekend, come back to the computer, and there’s all this action.

What’s this about needing something done by end of month? I’m pretty sure [name elided] already handled the demo, which is why those cards are in archive. If there’s something I’m supposed to do by month’s end, there should be a card for it in the backlog. And the progress of cards is how you know things are getting done. If I’m doing things that aren’t on the cards, the funders are going to ask what the hell I’ve been doing. And I won’t have a good answer for that.

A decision is made to do something when a card gets added to the backlog. If it’s not in the backlog, the decision to do it hasn’t really been made. Among many other reasons, this is necessary because it keeps the project owner from making half-assed decisions. You either have to do it, and add points to the project, or admit that it’s not really on the agenda. You can’t pester the team to do stuff that’s not in the backlog and then hold them responsible for the backlog not getting done.

Bottom line: Agile is the exact opposite of doing whatever the hell you feel like. It’s very disciplined even though it looks informal. It will absolutely not work if you keep trying to circumvent it or make it be something else.