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[XP] Re: All this talk on accountability

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  • banshee858
    ... I agree that is true. However, are you implying that while I may be accountable to Jane, Jane is not accountable to me? Carlton
    Message 1 of 15 , Apr 1, 2005
      >
      > >
      > >Reflecting on my original post and some of Kent's comments
      > >recently, I still fail to see where parties other than developers
      > >are held accountable.
      > >
      > >- If the customer is mad that the development team did not deliver
      > >because they choose the wrong stories, when is the customer held
      > >accountable for their selection?
      > >
      > >- If the development team did not deliver what the customer wanted
      > >because the customer did not understand the concepts of velocity
      > >or yesterday's weather, when is the customer held accountable for
      > >not doing their homework?
      > >
      > >If I am going to be accountable, then it is only fair that equal
      > >parties opposite to me are accountable for their actions as well.
      > >
      > >
      > They are, but it is accountability that you don't see in the team
      > room. Typically, customers are accountable to the rest of the
      > organization for the progress of the project.
      >
      I agree that is true. However, are you implying that while I may be
      accountable to Jane, Jane is not accountable to me?

      Carlton
    • yahoogroups@jhrothjr.com
      From: banshee858 To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
      Message 2 of 15 , Apr 1, 2005
        From: "banshee858" <cnett858.at.hotmail.com@...>
        To: "extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com"
        <extremeprogramming.at.yahoogroups.com@...>
        Sent: Friday, April 01, 2005 10:03 AM
        Subject: [XP] Re: All this talk on accountability


        >
        >
        >>
        >> >
        >> >Reflecting on my original post and some of Kent's comments
        >> >recently, I still fail to see where parties other than developers
        >> >are held accountable.
        >> >
        >> >- If the customer is mad that the development team did not deliver
        >> >because they choose the wrong stories, when is the customer held
        >> >accountable for their selection?
        >> >
        >> >- If the development team did not deliver what the customer wanted
        >> >because the customer did not understand the concepts of velocity
        >> >or yesterday's weather, when is the customer held accountable for
        >> >not doing their homework?
        >> >
        >> >If I am going to be accountable, then it is only fair that equal
        >> >parties opposite to me are accountable for their actions as well.
        >> >
        >> >
        >> They are, but it is accountability that you don't see in the team
        >> room. Typically, customers are accountable to the rest of the
        >> organization for the progress of the project.
        >>
        > I agree that is true. However, are you implying that while I may be
        > accountable to Jane, Jane is not accountable to me?

        Good point. That sounds more like a setup for "kick the cat."

        John Roth
        >
        > Carlton
        >
        >
        >
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      • banshee858
        ... That what it sounds like to me, but there must be something more I am missing. Perhaps this (a new way of thinking about accountability) is a reason why
        Message 3 of 15 , Apr 1, 2005
          >
          > >> They are, but it is accountability that you don't see in the
          > >> team room. Typically, customers are accountable to the rest of
          > >> the organization for the progress of the project.
          > >>
          > > I agree that is true. However, are you implying that while I may
          > > be accountable to Jane, Jane is not accountable to me?
          >
          > Good point. That sounds more like a setup for "kick the cat."
          >
          That what it sounds like to me, but there must be something more I am
          missing. Perhaps this (a new way of thinking about accountability) is
          a reason why XP is still called "Extreme" Programming? Maybe the
          "extreme" part is Jane would allow herself to be accountable to me?

          Carlton
        • Steve Bate
          ... Hi Carlton, I m not sure why you feel there must be reciprocity in this example. There are many patterns of behavior that people embrace because they feel
          Message 4 of 15 , Apr 1, 2005
            > From: banshee858 [mailto:cnett858@...]
            >
            > >
            > > >> They are, but it is accountability that you don't see in the
            > > >> team room. Typically, customers are accountable to the rest of
            > > >> the organization for the progress of the project.
            > > >>
            > > > I agree that is true. However, are you implying that while I may
            > > > be accountable to Jane, Jane is not accountable to me?
            > >
            > > Good point. That sounds more like a setup for "kick the cat."
            > >
            > That what it sounds like to me, but there must be something more I am
            > missing. Perhaps this (a new way of thinking about accountability) is
            > a reason why XP is still called "Extreme" Programming? Maybe the
            > "extreme" part is Jane would allow herself to be accountable to me?

            Hi Carlton,

            I'm not sure why you feel there must be reciprocity in this example.
            There are many patterns of behavior that people embrace because they
            feel it's the right thing to do rather than only because others
            are doing them. One candidate would be effective communication. This
            could include providing timely and accurate information related to
            estimated and actual effort at a level of detail the stakeholders
            find most useful.

            Maybe it would help me if you explained what it would look like for
            a customer to be accountable to you. I've worked on teams where it
            was acceptable for a developer to ask a customer about rationale for
            specific feature. For example, we could ask about cost/benefit
            tradeoffs, ROI, or even about business politics influencing
            functionality choices. Is this the form of customer accountability
            to development you'd like to see. How would you behave differently
            if the customer were accountable in this way?

            Steve
          • banshee858
            ... I don t know. It just seems to me, we are once again hand waving about some concept, this time its called accountability , and not discussing how it
            Message 5 of 15 , Apr 1, 2005
              >
              > Maybe it would help me if you explained what it would look like for
              > a customer to be accountable to you. I've worked on teams where it
              > was acceptable for a developer to ask a customer about rationale
              > for specific feature. For example, we could ask about cost/benefit
              > tradeoffs, ROI, or even about business politics influencing
              > functionality choices. Is this the form of customer accountability
              > to development you'd like to see. How would you behave differently
              > if the customer were accountable in this way?
              >
              I don't know. It just seems to me, we are once again hand waving
              about some concept, this time its called "accountability", and not
              discussing how it plays out in real life, what accountability means
              for all the parties involved or how team which values accountability
              acts. All I have heard in the discussion is how the developers act,
              so it suggests to me that the only people affected by accountability
              are developers. I must be wrong, because I don't think that is the
              message.

              Carlton
            • Dale Emery
              Hi Carlton, ... A thought occurred to me: Accountability begins with a commitment. It s the commitment that gives the idea of rendering account context and
              Message 6 of 15 , Apr 3, 2005
                Hi Carlton,

                > ...has me feeling uncomfortable since most of what we talk
                > about is programmer accountability. Where do we hold the
                > other members of the team accountable for their actions? To
                > me, accountability sounds like reinforcing the unequal power
                > relationship between programmers and management.

                A thought occurred to me: Accountability begins with a
                commitment. It's the commitment that gives the idea of
                "rendering account" context and meaning.

                If that's right, then conversely it makes little sense to ask
                someone to account when they haven't made a commitment.
                Accountability isn't a free-floating attribute of the person.
                It's a three-way relationship that relates two people and a
                commitment: Person A is accountable to Person B for commitment C.

                What commitments have managers made to the programmers? Some of
                the most important ones are general and determined way in advance
                of any interaction: "I'll pay you for your work." If the
                manager isn't paying you, or isn't paying you the right amount,
                or isn't paying you on time, then, yah, call them to account.

                When managers ask programmers to do specific tasks, the
                programmer makes a more specific commitment: To do this specific
                task. It's the specificity of the task that makes it more
                specifically accountable.

                In the interaction, the manager's commitment doesn't become any
                more specific. It stays about the same: "... and I'll pay you
                for it." So there's not much new to account for.

                It's because programmers commitments are more numerous and more
                specific that accountability seems to flow more often in one
                direction.

                Now, it may be that the manager sometimes makes more specific
                commitments. "This will factor highly in your next review." And
                it may be that the programmer is imagining that the manager is
                making a commitment -- perhaps expecting that this task will
                factor highly in the next performance review.

                So if you're wanting to hold the manager accountable, the place
                I'd start is by identifying what commitments the manager has made
                to you, and what commitments you want the manager to make. If
                the commitment isn't explicit, the next step might be to make it
                explicit.

                Dale

                --
                Dale Emery, Consultant
                Inspiring Leadership for Software People
                Web: http://www.dhemery.com
                Weblog: http://www.dhemery.com/cwd

                Prediction is very difficult, especially about the future.
                --Niels Bohr
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