Monday, March 28, 2011

If it a'int broken...

I have a problem with the phrase "if it a'int broken, don't fix it" (other than it being cliche).  My problem with it is that it gets used often as the final word when someone wants to resist change.

Here's the definition of broken from FreeDictionary:

1.  Forcibly separated into two or more pieces; fractured: a broken arm; broken glass.
2.  Sundered by divorce, separation, or desertion of a parent or parents: children from broken homes; a broken marriage.
3.  Having been violated: a broken promise.
4. a.  Incomplete: a broken set of books.
b.  Being in a state of disarray; disordered: troops fleeing in broken ranks.
5. a.  Intermittently stopping and starting; discontinuous: a broken cable transmission.
b.  Varying abruptly, as in pitch: broken sobs.
c.  Spoken with gaps and errors: broken English.
6.  Topographically rough; uneven: broken terrain.
7. a.  Subdued totally; humbled: a broken spirit.
b.  Weakened and infirm: broken health.
8.  Crushed by grief: died of a broken heart.
9.  Financially ruined; bankrupt.
10.  Not functioning; out of order: a broken washing machine.

By this definition is an untuned or badly tuned guitar broken?  It functions but may not give the guitarist the result they want.

A team or a process may be functioning but may not be optimal. It might require tuning. Retrospectives are essential for agile teams to reflect and discover what needs to be changed. Remember though retrospectives will be next to useless if you don't take action items and follow through on them.

So in short, if it ain't broken it may still need fixing. 

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