Dale Emery wrote a wonderful post about the Prime Directive on the ExtremeProgramming yahoogroup. This blog entry is mostly to prevent me from losing track of Dale’s comments, as is easy to do on a busy mailing list. I want to be able to go back and re-read his words. Read More
Category: Individuals and Interactions
Over on the ScrumDevelopment yahoo group, a ScrumMaster reported problems getting the Product Owner fully involved in the development process. Part of the problem is that the Product Owner isn’t co-located with the development team. The physical distance will certainly make participation more difficult, and less sure. That’s something to work on.
The Product Owner is not following the “rules” of Scrum, and this is frustrating the ScrumMaster. He’s likely right that playing the game by the rules will benefit everyone. He asks for advice on how to handle the situation. Read More
Last week I was corresponding with Esther Derby on the use of the Prime Directive in retrospectives, and how some people express difficulty in accepting it. She followed up that discussion with an excellent post titled “Are you doing your best?,” where she lists many reasons why someone may be doing their best under the circumstances, though not doing their peak work. When I saw that, I shelved the article I’d been writing on the topic. It’s remained on my mind, however, and I still have a bit to say about it.
Regardless of what we discover, we understand and truly believe that everyone did the best job they could, given what they knew at the time, their skills and abilities, the resources available, and the situation at hand.
— Norm Kerth, Project Retrospectives: A Handbook for Team Reviews
She also said
Unfortunately, I hear many people–even those who hope to influence others to change–label people who are “resisting” as clueless, stupid, or selfish. Some would-be change agents attack the motives of the people who aren’t following their ideas, accusing them of wanting to bring the company down.
This may make the so-called change agent feel superior, as he/she belittles people who don’t get his/her wonderful ideas. But it doesn’t help him/her bring about change.
Well, it may make the so-called change agent feel superior, but I’d bet that it’s really an ego defense against feeling frustrated and helpless. Ineffective change agents need love, too.
“Hi, I’m George and I’m a so-called change agent.”
In my post on Overcoming Resistance, I said, “I wanted to write an article with a shining example of a time when I didn’t try to overcome resistance, but used it to advantage, instead.” Besides the Velvet Elvis principle that Don Gray describes, there’s another reason why one didn’t come to mind.
You see, actually listening to people doesn’t work in a big, noisy way like that. Instead, it’s a quietly effective activity that doesn’t call attention to itself.
When was the last time you said, “Boy, I really listened to her, didn’t I!” Hmmm… Doesn’t have the same verbal punch as “Boy, I really told her, didn’t I!” It’s just more effective, that’s all.
Esther Derby posted an excerpt of a Management Consulting News interview with Jerry Weinberg where he answers the question of how to overcome resistance, “Yes. Don’t.” Oh, he says more there, and he can say a lot more on the topic, but that’s enough for the intro to this article.
You see, I wanted to write an article with a shining example of a time when I didn’t try to overcome resistance, but used it to advantage, instead. The problem was that I found myself in the trap that Don Gray frequently mentions, that when someone tells you not to think about something, you can’t help but immediately think about it. So what filled my memory was a time when I had tried, eloquently and earnestly, to overcome resistance on the part of my client. Read More
I was asked about how I would mentor people in the context of being the team leader. Tricky situation, that.
On the one hand mentoring people without their request is an instance of what Jerry Weinberg calls “inflicting help.” At best, it’s ineffective. Usually it’s worse.
On the other hand, an organization has a reasonable expectation that the people working there will improve over time. Who better to help a team do that than the team leader? Read More
Don Gray got me started, with his posting of 3×5 notecards for studying the patterns in the book, Fearless Change: Patterns for Introducing New Ideas, by Mary Lynn Manns and Linda Rising. I agree with him that it’s a wonderfully helpful book, and I thought the idea of creating cards to carry and study at odd moments was a good one. I’m just too cheap to buy the Avery cardstock–not when I’ve found that I can print ordinary 3×5 cards in my wife’s inkjet printer (an Epson C60).
So, at Don’s suggestion, I re-formatted his format and created both OpenOffice and PDF versions of the cards. I hope you find them useful, but be sure to read the book! Not only is that fair to the authors, but the cards will make a lot more sense to you.
[2020.07.07 Fixed broken link to Don’s version of the cards.]
I saw this question in a blog post by Mark Schenk:
About two-thirds of the way through the workshop one of the students asked “when do we get to the stage where we can tell the client what the answer is?” This literally stopped us in our tracks ““ we were so accustomed to working on the basis that complex problems have no single correct answer that we hadn’t explicitly explained this and we had bumped headlong into a prevailing management mindset.
That question struck a chord. I thought back to the days when I first learned XP. Most of the ideas and practices resonated strongly with me. The one that seemed most foreign, Test Driven Development, became a personal fixture after trying it for three days. Yep, this was the way software development should be done! It was so obvious and right, and I told everyone I knew.
They all immediately agreed and thanked me for the information. Well, not exactly. Read More
I attended a session with Naomi Karten at the AYE Conference last Fall, so I knew she had a lot of good things to teach me. In spite of those high expectations, I was blown away by this book. In fact, the only negative thing I can say is that there’s material for two or three books in here. Having read through it once, I know I’m going to have to re-read it in sections. Read More