Aug 14

Getting there is hard

I sometimes ask myself why some people are trying so hard to run the opposite direction when the other way leads to les pressure and ease.  When I introduce people to Scrum or Kanban they are open for change. But as soon as I start actually working with it, there are always people who want to take control. Most of the time these are managers who somehow have the feeling that they loose this control, although they know that there where never in real control to begin with.

Change is hard, but it is even harder to go against the flow. I have a good talent to inspire people and to get them moving in the right direction. But there comes a moment that they will have to take over. If you want a agile model to work you need commitment. And getting commitment is hard. People have to learn to fly by themselves.

A few tips that might help them get there.

Facilitate in training. Not only train the teams to work with scrum or Kanban but also send a few volunteers on a certified training. Not only do they bring back a lot of energy and knowledge, but also you will get more feedback and involvement. It isn’t cheap but it is worth it.

Let them read. Provide books and reading material. Sometimes reading a good book about agile leads to new insights. But you can’t always expect that people buy these by themselves. Provide a good library and also give people the chance to read during work hours if only half an hour per day. A small fun tip, somewhere past the middle write a email address and a tag word. If they send the tag they get something, like cake or a beer. This works for almost every document you want people to read.

Visit seminars and open-spaces. The agile community in known for it’s open communication. There are a lot of meetings where you have the chance to interact with others. Open spaces provide a good platform for asking questions but also telling others. And they are a great motivator. More info about open spaces can be found here

Visit other companies. A lot of scrummasters and coaches like to share how they work with there teams. Not only is it fun to see what others do but it also provides a good quality template for al parties. “Am I doing it right?” is something you have to ask yourself once in a while. And letting someone into you kitchen will answer this very well. Don’t forget that Agile is pretty open source, so show even a competitor how you do things is nothing new. You provide an insight in your work process and not the product itself.

Knowledge sessions. Provide a breeding ground for everybody within your company. Facilitate in sessions where people can share and ask questions. Some can give small presentations. And try to address topics that are hard to get across. Don’t be afraid to not know. An hour or two every month (preferably with pizza and beer).

Surf the net. Follow twitter and start reading. Ask others within your team to just read some of it. Share a url every Monday morning. And retweet what you like. You might think that others do not pick up stuff you send, but you might have it wrong. Sharing is important.

These tips here seem obvious and no doubt there are more. I find that most of the time, teams and there companies think that just reading one book and a bit of training will get the job done. But it takes more than that and in the end you not only need commitment to the work. But also ownership of the process.

Remember. Starting agile is easy, maintaining is hard. And growing needs ownership.

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