Yesterday was a day of mistakes. Not so much making mistakes, but talking about them. It started with Bret Pettichord’s tweet
Agile requires the courage to make mistakes in front of others and the maturity to admit them when they happen.
Surely this is true. Agile is all about paying attention to what happens and adjusting for it. We learn most when when thing are a little off from what we want, we notice that, and we correct for it.
I now think that Agile requires the creation of an environment in which admitting mistakes doesn’t require courage.
Surely this is also true. If we want people to notice when things are a little off, so we can make a correction, then we have to make it easy to talk about our mistakes. If we don’t, the little mistakes get swept under the carpet and we continue on our way–until the mistakes grow so big that we can’t ignore them any more. By this time we’re way off the path we want.
In other words, well, in my words,
I think Agile requires creating environment where admitting mistakes requires no more courage than you have.
We can’t eliminate the need for courage to admit our mistakes. It’s human nature to gloss over even tiny ones, and hope no one noticed. But we can reduce the stigma of making mistakes.
was the comment by Willem Larsen. Willem and Evan Gardner are spreading Evan’s “Where Are Your Keys” language fluency game. It’s expected that you’ll make mistakes when learning a language. The response to such a mistake is “how fascinating” signed by raising both hands in the air. Everyone laughs. No one feels badly for making a mistake. In fact, it feels good to share your mistakes with a laugh and helpful colleagues rather than to hide it inside.
Is that the way it feels when you make a mistake in your team? What could you change so it does feel that way?