A Little Chaos Is Beautiful

A Little Chaos (2014) stars Kate Winslet, Matthias Schoenaerts, Alan Rickman. The story is about design and construction of Gardens of Versailles project, and romance between two King’s Gardeners.

There is a moment when he sees her move a potted plant in his garden prior to her interview. Then he questions her if she believes in “order over landscape”. She says she respects order but would like to create something “uniquely French”, rather than look back to Rome and follow classical and renaissance styles.

Now I know why people sometimes don’t see meaning in the work they do. It’s when work goes to the extreme of “following the book” and “being prescriptive”.

“Man, there is a rule for everything in this place, you don’t get to use your brain.”

Needless to say too many rules kill our creativity and spirit. I was touched by that moment and think “a little chaos” is beautiful.

I have been a project manager is the last 10 years witnessing changes of software development from traditional Waterfall to Agile including Scrum and Kaban. It’s interesting that a tool is useful because of its constraints, limits, and rules.

We can compare tools by how many rules they have. Prescriptive: more rules. Adaptive: fewer rules. 100% prescriptive: there is a rule for everything, you don’t get to use your brain. 100% adaptive: you can do whatever. RUP (rational unified process) is heavy-weight, we should remove rules. Agile is light-weight and minimalistic, we should add rules.

Both Scrum and Kanban are adaptive. But Scrum is more prescriptive than Kanban. Kanban is inches from “do whatever”, but is still extremely powerful.

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