I have started to realize the parallels in my opinions towards effectively running a business or project and having good relationships. My mental foray in to the possibilities of multiple loves began at about the same time as my opinions changed about business. I went away from strict control and sticking to meticulous advanced planning to monitoring value and adapting to a changing market and environment.
Just as I took to these new business concepts like a duck to water, I also took to polyamory (specifically singleish or solo polyamory) like a duck to to water.
Let’s examine this by going through each point on the Manifesto for agile software development:
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
To me, the same phrase could be used to succinctly describe any form of relationship anarchy. In other words, of higher importance are the individual people and the relationships you have with them than with any prescribed way of developing with them (read: The Relationship Escalator) or any tools used to relate with them (whether those tools are physical such as roses or virtual such as shared calendars).
Working software over comprehensive documentation
To me, the same can easily be applied to romance, but the focus of the wording has to be radically shifted. Since the goal of software development is software, the goal of relating is relationships. Although there are plenty of agony aunts and magazines giving relationship advice, we wouldn’t call it documentation, but the essence of it is detailed and explicit descriptions usually completed before the software is completed – in relationships – a prescribed relationship model.
Rather than trying to shoe-horn a relationship in to a specific prescribed model that someone else wrote, ad-lib and be flexible about it so that it works for you.
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
In my opinion: Communicate, communicate, communicate – rather than apply rules and restrictions. Relationships are most definitely a collaborative project – even more so than software development! Trying to impose restrictive rules of behavior on your partner will in my experience lead you to squabbling over fine details and in the end the joy of the relationship will collapse under the weight of fulfilling obligations.
Responding to change over following a plan
I remember this one clearer as the mantra, “inspect and adapt.”
Can there be a clearer parallel to the perils of “The Relationship Escalator?”
Go with the flow! Let the relationship develop organically (different from chaotically) rather than trying to force it along a single track. Check in with each other, make sure you regularly understand that you’re on the same page and adjust your actions and interactions to cope with changes. Do this rather than rely on any kind of plan, whether it is a step-by-step guide written by an expert or some ideal you or your partner may have on how a relationship should progress.