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Re: [XP] Implementing shared vision

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  • rett
    Jay, No risk...no gain. I had exhausted normal channels, and still felt that some of my ideas had to come into use for my area of the company to survive. The
    Message 1 of 529 , Apr 29, 2007
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      Jay,

      No risk...no gain. I had exhausted normal channels, and still felt that
      some of my ideas had to come into use for my area of the company to
      survive. The company was already in bankruptcy and we had gotten
      past the worst of court supervision, but we were a long way from out
      of the woods. I felt that there was as much risk from doing nothing as
      there was from doing what I did.

      There is a lot to be said for having ideas come at management from
      several different directions. It puts them off balance, and it increases
      buy-in in the ranks, making the odds of success much higher. Many
      managements are highly suspicious of any idea that they do not consider
      their own...the NIH problem...so you sometimes have to give them
      the idea that they can either ride the wave or drown in it to get them
      to move.

      Horizontal communication of any kind makes control oriented management
      nervous. Until very recently, it was common for principals, especially in
      the elementary schools to forbid teachers to talk to each other outside
      the teacher's lounge. So, you can imagine that something so empowering
      as XP/Agile, where communication is largely horizontal, would make
      some managements suspicious at least, and openly hostile if they think
      they can get away with it.

      I have an interesting example. At one company, there was a team of
      three guys responsible for system management and software tools for
      an entire division of the company. Our manager decided that he did not
      like games on the computers, so he came to each of us individually and
      demanded that we go into each user account, and find any games and
      delete them. Now, you must understand that we had some very capable
      people in our user group, so doing that successfully for more than about
      five minutes was unlikely, but that wasn't the issue. We, as a group, had
      often sat down and discussed just how much interference in user accounts
      we felt was ethical. All our people were on development teams and none
      of them worked less than about 50 hours per week, so we knew that
      games were a means of relaxing when the work became too intense. Well,
      as it turns out, each of us, independently, without any knowledge of our
      manager's approach to the others, turned him down flat. We told him that
      he was welcome to punish people for playing games, but that it was a
      management problem, and not one we were comfortable dealing with.
      He threatened to fire each of us, and we all told him that he would have
      to do whatever he thought right. Well, he couldn't fire all of us, and if he
      had fired any of us over such an issue, we all would have walked, so he
      wandered around gnashing his teeth for quite a while. When we all
      compared notes on the subject, it was hard not to giggle when he came
      stalking into our cubicles in his usual bad mood.

      Now, I would not normally recommend such an action, but then, no team
      could do anything useful with such a manager, so we pretty much shut him
      out of everything but things he absolutely had to know about. He had no
      systems or software knowledge in any case, having gotten his job because
      he played tennis with the CEO, so we didn't have to worry about him
      actually knowing what we did. We knew what needed doing and we did
      it without any prompting from him.

      Now, strangely, that is how every team should be able to operate, minus
      the animus for the boss, and the lack of communication. Each member of
      a team should have a clear picture of what the team is about and how
      that fits into both projects and the company needs. We should report to
      each other, not about each other. And, each of us should be concerned
      with the integrity of the process.

      Everett L.(Rett) Williams II

      Jay Flowers wrote:
      > Rett,
      > Yes you are correct. On the other hand it could have gone poorly for you.
      >
      > So I am curious what did you learn for your experience? What do you think
      > you did well? What would you have done differently?
      >
      > Smiles,
      > Jay
      >
      > On 4/28/07, rett <rett@...> wrote:
      >
      >> Jay,
      >>
      >> If you do proceed in this manner, it does not always go without notice, if
      >> the management actually pays attention(many don't). I was classified as a
      >> Senior Engineer and team leader at one company, but I could not seem to
      >> get some ideas moving through my management chain, so I opted to act
      >> within my sphere of influence, which was my team and other Senior
      >> Engineers, both in and out of my division. I started spreading my ideas
      >> to them as we interacted for other reasons, and eventually, they got to
      >> the CEO by several routes, upon which he called me into his office and
      >> accused me of trying to run the company from the bottom up. I agreed that
      >> he was correct and noted that I had wondered how long it would take him
      >> to notice. He growled at me a few times, but indicated that he did not
      >> really
      >> have a problem with my ideas, which was not a ringing endorsement, but
      >> it did allow me to get some of those ideas implemented. It also allowed me
      >> to continue to get very healthy raises, so, without admitting it,
      >> management
      >> could recognize the utility of what I was doing.
      >>
      >> Basically, I call it guerilla warfare, but YMMV.
      >>
      >> Everett L.(Rett) Williams II
      >>
      >> Jay Flowers wrote:
      >>
      >>> It sounds like a little Steven Covey is what is needed to clarify: Act
      >>>
      >> with
      >>
      >>> in your circle of influence.
      >>>
      >>> If you think on that short statement you will see that it is deep. I
      >>>
      >> think
      >>
      >>> this is how you can introduce long lasting change. It is slow, and slow
      >>> change is the type that does not need you watching to keep it in place.
      >>>
      >> Now
      >>
      >>> I think Senge warns about thinking that just leading by example, whether
      >>>
      >> as
      >>
      >>> an individual or a small team, and being successful is not enough: the
      >>>
      >> build
      >>
      >>> a better mouse trap syndrome as he puts it. You have to insure that the
      >>> association between the changes that you are making and the results you
      >>>
      >> are
      >>
      >>> seeing are seen by everyone. Point being don't simplify Act with in your
      >>> circle of influence to Lead by example. One of the goals of Act with in
      >>> your circle of influence is to expand the circle. If you add a little
      >>>
      >> John
      >>
      >>> Maxwell: Lead through multiplication. With a team of leaders you can
      >>> increase the rate/stability/depth of change. And you do all this by
      >>>
      >> Acting
      >>
      >>> with in your circle of influence.
      >>>
      >>> Those don't sound like mystical powers to me.
      >>>
      >>>
      >>>
      >>> On 4/27/07, Chris Wheeler <christopher.wheeler@...<christopher.wheeler%40gmail.com>>
      >>>
      >> wrote:
      >>
      >>>> On 4/27/07, George Dinwiddie <lists@...<lists%40idiacomputing.com>
      >>>>
      >> <lists%40idiacomputing.com>>
      >>
      >>
      >>>> wrote:
      >>>>
      >>>>
      >>>>> Chris Wheeler wrote:
      >>>>> [snip]
      >>>>>
      >>>>> Chris, you've totally lost me, now. I thought you were saying that the
      >>>>> introduction of agile was best done from the point of view of a shared
      >>>>> vision, not from one side. My question was how to reach that
      >>>>> precondition.
      >>>>>
      >>>>>
      >>>> Yes, a shared vision as described by Senge is necessary if you want a
      >>>>
      >> team
      >>
      >>>> to adopt anything (Agility included) and be committed to each other and
      >>>>
      >> to
      >>
      >>>> the adoption of the 'thing'. I think shared vision will go a long way
      >>>>
      >> in
      >>
      >>>> curbing the manager vs. programmer gap when implementing Agility.
      >>>>
      >>>> Now it sounds like you're saying that shared vision can only originate
      >>>>
      >>>>
      >>>>> from a leader with mystical powers to "demonstrate these skills
      >>>>> and bring people into consciousness." This is sounding a lot harder
      >>>>> than introducing Agile.
      >>>>>
      >>>>>
      >>>> I don't think it is easy to introduce shared vision or the other
      >>>> disciplines. I'd say you probably have a better chance of forcing Agile
      >>>> into
      >>>> an organization than you do of forcing the 5 disciplines. From what I
      >>>>
      >> can
      >>
      >>>> tell, everything begins with personal mastery and reading Senge, it
      >>>>
      >> always
      >>
      >>>> appeared as though the disciplines were introduced by a leader modeling
      >>>> the
      >>>> behaviour desired, and others catching on.
      >>>>
      >>>> I know that's how it has started for me. I read the 5th, but had a
      >>>>
      >> mentor
      >>
      >>>> who practiced personal mastery and mental models very well and pointed
      >>>>
      >> out
      >>
      >>>> what it meant to follow the disciplines. Because it's not a
      >>>>
      >> methodology,
      >>
      >>>> but
      >>>> more of a way of ordering your life (well, maybe that's too drastic,
      >>>>
      >> but I
      >>
      >>>> can't think of another way of describing it) it's not really something
      >>>> that
      >>>> gets implemented like a program.
      >>>>
      >>>> Is this getting closer to making sense? Or, has anyone been introduced
      >>>>
      >> to
      >>
      >>>> the 5 disciplines another way?
      >>>>
      >>>> Chris.
      >>>>
      >>>> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >>>>
      >>>>
      >>>>
      >>>>
      >>>>
      >>>
      >>>
      >>>
      >> [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >>
      >
      >
      >
      >


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Murali Krishna Devarakonda
      ... You are right, of course. But my list was only intended to illustrate and discuss the idea - not to discuss the list itself. I really wanted to focus on
      Message 529 of 529 , May 6, 2007
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        --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, "Kelly Anderson"
        <kellycoinguy@...> wrote:
        >
        > On 4/29/07, Murali Krishna Devarakonda <muralikd@...> wrote:
        > > Over the last two decades, I've seen resistance to practically every
        > > "successful" technology-framework-process-whatever first-hand.
        ...
        >
        > > Yet, to simplify , why do programmers "zealously" resist change-
        > > particularly in those cases where we can now say with hindsight that
        > > it was for the better, i.e. "successful"?
        >
        > Just because something is eventually successful, does not necessarily
        > mean that early adoption means early success. In fact, you could
        > probably make an effective argument against early adoption of
        > development tools/methodologies. Look how much has been learned by the
        > bleeding edgers, and use what has been proven to work is a reasonably
        > successful way to go for many endeavors.
        >
        > -Kelly

        You are right, of course. But my list was only intended to illustrate
        and discuss the idea - not to discuss the list itself. I really wanted
        to focus on "successes" and discuss what goes on in the minds of
        programmers who resist the *idea* behind the product that eventually
        becomes a "success".

        I'm going to post my thoughts on this in another thread.
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