According to Dictionary.com, a community is:
1. a social group of any size whose members reside in a specific locality, share government, and often have a common cultural and historical heritage.
2. a locality inhabited by such a group.
3. a social, religious, occupational, or other group sharing common characteristics or interests and perceived or perceiving itself as distinct in some respect from the larger society within which it exists (usually prec. by the ): the business community; the community of scholars.
The 3rd definition applies to the Agile Community. From my point of view a community is really the network of relationships between the people who are its members. The more relationships we have and the stronger the individual bonds the stronger the overall community will be.
After Agile2010 I made a suggested over twitter that the Agile Community is Fragile and needs nurturing. Unsurprisingly I got a number of reactions and created some confusion which wasn’t my intent. My key point was that as the community continues to grow and create new conferences: LSSC, XP Universe revived, SCNA, XP 2010 (ok this one has been around for a while), we’re at risk of breaking into camps and cliques. Groups of people who spend their time inside one community and who don’t spend enough time listening to each other and the outside world. This trend has been going on for years after all who aside from Ron Jeffries and George Dinwiddie have the time and energy to spend on every mailing list.
Towards my goal of strengthening the community I suggest we all commit three actions this year:
- Seek people from outside your regular circle i.e. if your non-technical meet some new technical people; Scrummies meet Kanbanners. Whoever you meet, pause, listen (don’t spout) and learn.
- Strengthen bonds with people you already know, especially outside of your regular circle
- When you introduce someone to Agile, introduce to more than the ideas and approaches you favor today. I.E. Kanban folk mention Scrum or XP; BDDer’s mention TDD – help new people discover the full spectrum of ideas.
- Through these connections have your ideas about at least one thing changed (cribbed from Brian Marick).
As our community grows ever bigger lets remember that have much in common even when there are major differences.