Thursday, February 01, 2018

Courage and agility

I keep hearing the need for "Growth Mindset," "Collaboration," "Empathy," etc. while describing the characteristics of agile teams. However, I rarely see someone highlighting the need for the "courage to speak up" in agile teams.
Every day, I see that
  • teams in the discovery workshop know that their estimates are cooked up, but they don't speak up to avoid upsetting the stakeholders
  • The leaders know that their teams are not on the right track, but they don't speak up as the teams could screw them during the 360-degree feedback survey
  • The teams know that their leaders are micro-managers, but they don't speak up to avoid getting screwed during performance appraisal
  • The product owners know that the requirements are not vetted with the end customers, but they don't speak up as it is not tied to their bonuses
  • The line managers know that the other departments are causing bottlenecks in delivery, but they don't speak up to avoid pissing off their colleagues
  • The offshore teams cannot hear the conversations during their daily scrum over the video conferencing equipment, but they don't speak up to protect themselves from embarrassments
  • The onshore teams know that the offshore teams have not understood the user stories, but they don't speak up to avoid hurting their partners
I could keep writing this for another 2 pages. But the bottom line is, courage to speak up and courage to take action is very critical to succeed in agile teams but no one "speaks about it". Isn't it ? 
No matter, how good the teams are in doing their "bubble retrospectives" or setting up colourful Kanban walls, missing out on the courage aspect could derail their Agile initiatives. The courage to speak is the key to open the secret chamber of agility.
P.S: My next Certified LeSS practitioner course in Sydney scheduled March 26th-28th. Seats are getting filled pretty fast and avail early bird discount. Register here.

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