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RE: [XP] Starting along the coaching path

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  • Wilson, Michael
    Nice resource, thanks. Yay Amazon. reaching concensus with developeres, customers and managers sure sounds Sysephean. But then that s BDUF thinking anyway.
    Message 1 of 25 , Nov 2, 2007
      Nice resource, thanks. Yay Amazon.

      "reaching concensus with developeres, customers and managers"

      sure sounds Sysephean.

      But then that's BDUF thinking anyway. I suppose.

      My old team (where I was for a year and a half) I think is best primed.
      If we can get a solid real-world example of the benefits then I think
      that will really carry far more weight than having someone in the
      explicit role I have, which necessarily causes suspicion among the
      cagey.

      The only problem is that it's fundamentally a gui team so TDD, FIT
      testing, etc. are really though to implement. But they're also the most
      enthusiastic.

      I've certainly got my work cut out for me.

      - M

      -----Original Message-----
      From: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
      [mailto:extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Steven Gordon
      Sent: Friday, November 02, 2007 11:05 AM
      To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [XP] Starting along the coaching path

      Congrats, Mike.

      A good source of strategies is Fearless Change is
      http://www.cs.unca.edu/~manns/intropatterns.html . You might also
      consider taking a Scrum Masters Certification Class (not for the
      certification, but for what you could learn in just a couple of days).

      It is very important to think of your mission as an agile project. Do
      not try big upfront planning of the whole campaign. Instead, just
      establish initial specific goals for the first "iteration", work to
      achieve them, reflect on how it went with all the stakeholders, and
      repeat.

      The goals for each "iteration" should be based on reaching concensus
      with developers, customers and managers on:
      - what are the few most painful symptoms at your company (just a few),
      - measuring the current state of those symptoms, and
      - specific measurable improvements in those areas (initially, for just a
      few specific projects).

      Then, work collaboratively with everyone to make the improvements
      happen, reflect, replan and repeat.

      Steven Gordon

      On 11/2/07, Wilson, Michael <michael.wilson@...> wrote:
      >
      >
      > Morning everyone o/
      >
      > I'm in a fairly strange but encouraging position. I've recently took
      > on a new position internally as a fledgling Xp/Agile "Champion" and
      > eventually as a coach and trainer. I've been writing software for 30+
      > years (+ too many at this point) and while I'm fully infused with the
      > Kool-Ade, I'm really at a bit of a loss as to how to start as I've
      > only ever done Agile programming work in isolation.
      >
      > I came to TDD a few years ago and it was a truly bloody battle. The
      > result is that I'm pretty passionate about it, but frankly I still get

      > stumped a little easily.
      >
      > We had John Cunningham here last week for a couple days to give a
      > brain dump to the relatively new guys. But in the past we've had the
      > also delightful company of Mike Feathers, Mike Hill and Bob Martin. So

      > it's not a new concept being mandated from on high. It's something
      > people are at least marginally curious about. We have our curmudgeons
      >
      > As I see it so far the point where I can have the most effect today is

      > in keeping enthusiasm up and greasing the wheels. We really want the
      > concept to prove itself.
      >
      > Any thoughts on how to proceed, where to go for more information on
      > the evangelical side of things?
      >
      > - Mike
      >
      >
      >
      >
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    • Steven Gordon
      ... The key difference is that under agile you should be reaching concensus for what the goals over a fairly short period of time, and then reaching a new
      Message 2 of 25 , Nov 2, 2007
        On 11/2/07, Wilson, Michael <michael.wilson@...> wrote:
        >
        > Nice resource, thanks. Yay Amazon.
        >
        > "reaching concensus with developeres, customers and managers"
        >
        > sure sounds Sysephean.
        >
        > But then that's BDUF thinking anyway. I suppose.

        The key difference is that under agile you should be reaching
        concensus for what the goals over a fairly short period of time, and
        then reaching a new concensus after each such time period based on
        what has happened since.

        For organizational transformations, 2 week iterations might be too
        short but 1 or 2 months might not be too short to assess progress and
        reconsider the goals and strategies.

        >
        > My old team (where I was for a year and a half) I think is best primed.
        > If we can get a solid real-world example of the benefits then I think
        > that will really carry far more weight than having someone in the
        > explicit role I have, which necessarily causes suspicion among the
        > cagey.
        >
        > The only problem is that it's fundamentally a gui team so TDD, FIT
        > testing, etc. are really though to implement. But they're also the most
        > enthusiastic.
        >
        > I've certainly got my work cut out for me.
        >
        > - M
        >
      • Matt Heusser
        Ditto to Steve Gordon on the Scrum stuff. If you don t have training money for a Scrum course, I would point out that you can get a *lot* out of just reading
        Message 3 of 25 , Nov 2, 2007
          Ditto to Steve Gordon on the Scrum stuff. If you don't have training money
          for a Scrum course, I would point out that you can get a *lot* out of just
          reading the first book. (Black cover, words that are colors on it.)

          Although you can try the "Let's try (process X) on this pilot project", I've
          had a lot of success with simply running projects that focus more on the
          left side of the agile manifesto that the right.

          Don't ask permission - just do it. Schedule a daily stand-up. Plan the
          schedule to build something periodically, in priority order. Get buy-in
          from the developers on estimates. Build in thin slices, end-to-end.
          Automate Unit tests. Focus on conversations (capture them with a voice
          recorder if you must), examples, and lots of white board time. Get your team
          dedicated to one project and all in one room. And so on.

          Do one thing, do it well, have people see and feel the success, and then
          move on to the next.

          One final note: There are certain key words in United States culture that
          can throw conversation off. For example: "Drinking the Kool Aid" is
          actually a reference to a tragic, cultic suicide in the 1970's. It is *not*
          considered a good thing. Likewise, US citizens may respond to the term
          "evangelizing" in a strong negative way, because we associate it with
          genuine religion.

          I should say that these problems exist for both against Americans and for
          them. For example, google "Presentation Zen." In oriental cultures that
          take Zen seriously, it might be a real conversation stopper. (Would you go
          to talk on "Christian C++"?)

          My suspicion is that a few of these terms are making the conversation harder
          than it needs to be, so I suggest we have covered that, let's get back to
          helping the new coach!

          Regards,


          --
          Matthew Heusser,
          Blog: http://xndev.blogspot.com


          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Charlie Poole
          Hi Mike, ... Getting people to work as teams will be a challenge for you then. Make lemonade: tell the teams you work with about your limitations and ask them
          Message 4 of 25 , Nov 2, 2007
            Hi Mike,

            > I'm in a fairly strange but encouraging position. I've
            > recently took on a new position internally as a fledgling
            > Xp/Agile "Champion" and eventually as a coach and trainer.
            > I've been writing software for 30+ years (+ too many at this
            > point) and while I'm fully infused with the Kool-Ade, I'm
            > really at a bit of a loss as to how to start as I've only
            > ever done Agile programming work in isolation.

            Getting people to work as teams will be a challenge for you
            then. Make lemonade: tell the teams you work with about your
            limitations and ask them to help you figure it out. A coach
            does not have to know everything.

            > I came to TDD a few years ago and it was a truly bloody
            > battle. The result is that I'm pretty passionate about it,
            > but frankly I still get stumped a little easily.
            >
            > We had John Cunningham here last week for a couple days to
            > give a brain dump to the relatively new guys. But in the
            > past we've had the also delightful company of Mike Feathers,
            > Mike Hill and Bob Martin. So it's not a new concept being
            > mandated from on high. It's something people are at least
            > marginally curious about. We have our curmudgeons

            Even the curmudgeons are valuable - or maybe especially. :-)

            > As I see it so far the point where I can have the most effect
            > today is in keeping enthusiasm up and greasing the wheels.
            > We really want the concept to prove itself.
            >
            > Any thoughts on how to proceed, where to go for more
            > information on the evangelical side of things?

            As others have said, don't be "evangelical" about it at all.

            Make sure everyone understands that management wants agility,
            defined in terms of agile output, not in terms of the steps
            we take to create that output.

            Make sure each team is empowered and responsible to invent
            their own agile practices and make sure they understand that
            you're their to help them do it, not to tell them how.

            Avoid the apparent shortcut of just establishing "standard
            practices."

            For everything you do, leave the team a degree of freedom
            in the details. For example, if you are working on pair
            programming as a practice, force a group decision on the
            exact rules - for your project - of which tasks call for
            pairing an which don't.

            If you really think there is only one right way to do
            something, say so, but invent a way to leave people a bit of
            freedom in how they implement it. The degree of difference
            between their implementation and your "perfect" version is
            likely to be small, while the difference between practices
            that are owned by the team and those that are just given
            (or taught) to them can be quite large.

            If you get into trouble, don't be afraid to ask for help.
            Consider bringin in an experienced coach to mentor you
            in your own coaching - but don't let that person take over
            coaching the team.

            Charlie

            > - Mike
            >
            >
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          • Ilja Preuss
            ... Seconded. Great book! Cheers, Ilja
            Message 5 of 25 , Nov 3, 2007
              Steven Gordon wrote:
              > Congrats, Mike.
              >
              > A good source of strategies is Fearless Change is
              > http://www.cs.unca.edu/~manns/intropatterns.html .

              Seconded. Great book!

              Cheers, Ilja
            • William Pietri
              ... This is a good instinct to have. Being able to say Come and see how we are working is so much better received than I think you should do X . ... My big
              Message 6 of 25 , Nov 4, 2007
                Wilson, Michael wrote:
                > My old team (where I was for a year and a half) I think is best primed.
                > If we can get a solid real-world example of the benefits then I think
                > that will really carry far more weight than having someone in the
                > explicit role I have, which necessarily causes suspicion among the
                > cagey.
                >

                This is a good instinct to have. Being able to say "Come and see how we
                are working" is so much better received than "I think you should do X".


                > The only problem is that it's fundamentally a gui team so TDD, FIT
                > testing, etc. are really though to implement. But they're also the most
                > enthusiastic.
                >
                > I've certainly got my work cut out for me.

                My big tip is to get people into an experimental mindset.

                First you get the team's observations on what the problems are, as
                people are most likely to change in response to perceived pain. For
                example, maybe the problem is last-minute discovery of missed deadlines,
                which makes everybody annoyed and disheartened.

                Then you jointly come up with as many hypotheses as possible about what
                might fix that. E.g., daily standups; a shared engineering task board; a
                burn-down chart; a detailed MS Project plan for all tasks.

                Then everybody jointly picks one hypothesis to try for a limited time.
                You can steer them in the direction of the ones that are the most agile,
                or the lowest cost to implement.

                Once they've started to try it, support them, keep asking them how it's
                going, and draw their attention to things they may be too close to
                notice. Eventually they'll either accept it or reject it.


                The reason I think this approach is important is that a lot of people
                tend to think of process changes as permanent. They will thus fiercely
                resist any change that might not be perfect. But if they truly believe
                the real decision will come later, and that they'll be involved, then
                they will be much more willing to try something new.

                William

                --
                William Pietri - william@... - +1-415-643-1024
                Agile consulting, coaching, and development: http://www.scissor.com/
                Use your geek-fu to fight poverty: http://www.mifos.org/
              • Wilson, Michael
                Charlie, ... This is actually my biggest visible problem. We have a single programmer who is the original author and he s been on the team since it was a team
                Message 7 of 25 , Nov 5, 2007
                  Charlie,

                  > Even the curmudgeons are valuable - or maybe especially. :-)

                  This is actually my biggest visible problem. We have a single
                  programmer who is the original author and he's been on the team since it
                  was a team of one. When anything XP comes up in conversation he carps,
                  rolls his eyes and shuts it down. He seems to have almost perfectly
                  poisoned the well against new adoption.

                  So... what value? I'd really love to find some but I just feel
                  thwarted.

                  - Mike

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                  guaranteed. It is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase
                  or sale of any financial instrument or as an official confirmation of any
                  transaction. Moreover, this material should not be construed to contain any
                  recommendation regarding, or opinion concerning, any security. It may
                  contain confidential, proprietary or legally privileged information. No
                  confidentiality or privilege is waived or lost by any mistransmission. If
                  you receive this message in error, please immediately delete it and all
                  copies of it from your system, destroy any hard copies of it and notify the
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                  print, or copy any part of this message if you are not the intended
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                • Chris Wheeler
                  ... Are you introducing XP for some specific reason, or are you doing it just because... ? Without an identifiable reason to introduce it, this person is well
                  Message 8 of 25 , Nov 5, 2007
                    On Nov 5, 2007 10:25 AM, Wilson, Michael <michael.wilson@...> wrote:

                    > Charlie,
                    >
                    > > Even the curmudgeons are valuable - or maybe especially. :-)
                    >
                    > This is actually my biggest visible problem. We have a single
                    > programmer who is the original author and he's been on the team since it
                    > was a team of one. When anything XP comes up in conversation he carps,
                    > rolls his eyes and shuts it down. He seems to have almost perfectly
                    > poisoned the well against new adoption.
                    >
                    > So... what value? I'd really love to find some but I just feel
                    > thwarted.
                    >

                    Are you introducing XP for some specific reason, or are you doing it 'just
                    because...'? Without an identifiable reason to introduce it, this person is
                    well within rights to not bother with it.

                    Chris.


                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Steven Gordon
                    Not Charlie, but: It would be worse if this programmer was only doing this when you were not around. Now, you know who you have to win over. Take him to lunch
                    Message 9 of 25 , Nov 5, 2007
                      Not Charlie, but:

                      It would be worse if this programmer was only doing this when you were
                      not around.

                      Now, you know who you have to win over. Take him to lunch and find
                      out what problems he sees with how thing have been done in the past
                      (this is why gaining consensus on what the current problems are is
                      critical before making any changes).

                      Then try to make a bet: if any change does not makes things better
                      after a month, you will agree to support rolling back that change, but
                      if any change does make things better, he agrees to accpet the change.
                      Given that he is the most skeptical person, if he starts accepting
                      the changes that make things better, everyone else will, too.

                      Then you have to do what it takes to motivate the changes that will
                      actually make things visibly better.

                      Steve

                      On Nov 5, 2007 8:25 AM, Wilson, Michael <michael.wilson@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Charlie,
                      >
                      > > Even the curmudgeons are valuable - or maybe especially. :-)
                      >
                      > This is actually my biggest visible problem. We have a single
                      > programmer who is the original author and he's been on the team since it
                      > was a team of one. When anything XP comes up in conversation he carps,
                      > rolls his eyes and shuts it down. He seems to have almost perfectly
                      > poisoned the well against new adoption.
                      >
                      > So... what value? I'd really love to find some but I just feel
                      > thwarted.
                      >
                      > - Mike
                      >
                    • Wilson, Michael
                      ... just because... ? Without an identifiable reason to introduce it, this ... Around the organization teams are moving at their own rates towards Xp. People
                      Message 10 of 25 , Nov 5, 2007
                        > Are you introducing XP for some specific reason, or are you doing it
                        'just because...'? Without an identifiable reason to introduce it, this
                        > person is well within rights to not bother with it.

                        Around the organization teams are moving at their own rates towards Xp.
                        People who've adopted it really love it. Our QA teams have embraced it
                        very well and love the idea of FIT and other forms of automated testing
                        (what QA person wouldn't?) It's only slightly exaggerated to say
                        "Everything here is moving in that direction."

                        Most of the classic software mismanagement issues are biting this team
                        really badly.

                        - A release date hasn't been met in ... it might actually be years.
                        - features are shipped half-baked.
                        - Requirements are very poorly defined.
                        - There are frequent "oops" patch releases. (average of one or more per
                        normal feature release.)
                        - When a release does go out nobody's exactly sure what was in it.
                        - Schedule slips are taken out of, you guessed it, testing and QA time
                        leading to frequent "No Go" releases.
                        - Confidence from the business is through the floor.

                        This project BEGs for an agile approach as do most of the people
                        involved with it ("begs" might be a bit too strong, but not as much as
                        you might think.) It would be one thing if it was all waterfally (or ad
                        hoc, which is closer to the truth) and everything was going fine. But
                        it's not. It's the eyeroller project.

                        Unfortunately none of this seems important to my buddy (actually it's
                        not a mystery, he's said exactly that.) He just sees it all as noise
                        that goes on around him that's a part of the normal process. He just
                        comes in, does his thing and leaves, with seemingly no attachment to the
                        larger scope at all. "People just need to relax." *sigh*

                        My tact has really been to work with the rest of the team and the dev
                        manager as much as I can just to create the team dynamic forward
                        pressure. It's a little early to say if it's working.

                        There's a reason it's my *old* team. ;-)

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                        This message is for the named person's use only. This communication is for
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                        be reliable, but it is not necessarily complete and its accuracy cannot be
                        guaranteed. It is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase
                        or sale of any financial instrument or as an official confirmation of any
                        transaction. Moreover, this material should not be construed to contain any
                        recommendation regarding, or opinion concerning, any security. It may
                        contain confidential, proprietary or legally privileged information. No
                        confidentiality or privilege is waived or lost by any mistransmission. If
                        you receive this message in error, please immediately delete it and all
                        copies of it from your system, destroy any hard copies of it and notify the
                        sender. You must not, directly or indirectly, use, disclose, distribute,
                        print, or copy any part of this message if you are not the intended
                        recipient. Any views expressed in this message are those of the individual
                        sender, except where the message states otherwise and the sender is
                        authorized to state them to be the views of any such entity.

                        Securities products and services provided to Canadian investors are offered
                        by ITG Canada Corp. (member CIPF and IDA), an affiliate of Investment
                        Technology Group, Inc.

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                        all electronic communications through its network.

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                      • Wilson, Michael
                        One problem is that he doesn t see the slightest problem. It s all just the standard noise of doing software development to him. I was going the other route.
                        Message 11 of 25 , Nov 5, 2007
                          One problem is that he doesn't see the slightest problem. It's all just
                          the standard noise of doing software development to him.

                          I was going the other route. Cherry pick the people who are interested
                          and self motivated to create upward momentum. Let the team dynamic do
                          as much of the heavy lifting as possible. Otherwise I feel like I'm
                          playing HR guy.

                          Or am I just skirting the possibility of a confrontation and phrasing it
                          cleverly to myself? ;-)

                          - M

                          -----Original Message-----
                          From: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                          [mailto:extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Steven Gordon
                          Sent: Monday, November 05, 2007 11:18 AM
                          To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                          Subject: Re: The Value of Curmudgeons (was: RE: [XP] Starting along the
                          coaching path)

                          Not Charlie, but:

                          It would be worse if this programmer was only doing this when you were
                          not around.

                          Now, you know who you have to win over. Take him to lunch and find out
                          what problems he sees with how thing have been done in the past (this is
                          why gaining consensus on what the current problems are is critical
                          before making any changes).

                          Then try to make a bet: if any change does not makes things better after
                          a month, you will agree to support rolling back that change, but if any
                          change does make things better, he agrees to accpet the change.
                          Given that he is the most skeptical person, if he starts accepting the
                          changes that make things better, everyone else will, too.

                          Then you have to do what it takes to motivate the changes that will
                          actually make things visibly better.

                          Steve

                          On Nov 5, 2007 8:25 AM, Wilson, Michael <michael.wilson@...> wrote:
                          >
                          > Charlie,
                          >
                          > > Even the curmudgeons are valuable - or maybe especially. :-)
                          >
                          > This is actually my biggest visible problem. We have a single
                          > programmer who is the original author and he's been on the team since
                          > it was a team of one. When anything XP comes up in conversation he
                          > carps, rolls his eyes and shuts it down. He seems to have almost
                          > perfectly poisoned the well against new adoption.
                          >
                          > So... what value? I'd really love to find some but I just feel
                          > thwarted.
                          >
                          > - Mike
                          >


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                        • Steven Gordon
                          If management has decided to not accept this team s performance any longer and this person does not accept that there are even any performance problems, then
                          Message 12 of 25 , Nov 5, 2007
                            If management has decided to not accept this team's performance any
                            longer and this person does not accept that there are even any
                            performance problems, then management will have to insist that this
                            person choose between being part of the problem or part of the
                            solution.

                            As coach you are not in a position to make such an ultimatum. The
                            best you might be able to do is to marginalize him by asking for
                            permission to form a new team from the people who care about improving
                            performance, and just work with this new team.

                            On Nov 5, 2007 9:34 AM, Wilson, Michael <michael.wilson@...> wrote:
                            >
                            > One problem is that he doesn't see the slightest problem. It's all just
                            > the standard noise of doing software development to him.
                            >
                            > I was going the other route. Cherry pick the people who are interested
                            > and self motivated to create upward momentum. Let the team dynamic do
                            > as much of the heavy lifting as possible. Otherwise I feel like I'm
                            > playing HR guy.
                            >
                            > Or am I just skirting the possibility of a confrontation and phrasing it
                            > cleverly to myself? ;-)
                            >
                            > - M
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > -----Original Message-----
                            > From: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                            > [mailto:extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Steven Gordon
                            > Sent: Monday, November 05, 2007 11:18 AM
                            > To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                            > Subject: Re: The Value of Curmudgeons (was: RE: [XP] Starting along the
                            > coaching path)
                            >
                            > Not Charlie, but:
                            >
                            > It would be worse if this programmer was only doing this when you were
                            > not around.
                            >
                            > Now, you know who you have to win over. Take him to lunch and find out
                            > what problems he sees with how thing have been done in the past (this is
                            > why gaining consensus on what the current problems are is critical
                            > before making any changes).
                            >
                            > Then try to make a bet: if any change does not makes things better after
                            > a month, you will agree to support rolling back that change, but if any
                            > change does make things better, he agrees to accpet the change.
                            > Given that he is the most skeptical person, if he starts accepting the
                            > changes that make things better, everyone else will, too.
                            >
                            > Then you have to do what it takes to motivate the changes that will
                            > actually make things visibly better.
                            >
                            > Steve
                            >
                          • Wilson, Michael
                            a HA! I see I ve now codified my position effectively enough that I m seeing what I expected to see which is either a success or failure on my part. I m
                            Message 13 of 25 , Nov 5, 2007
                              a HA! I see I've now codified my position effectively enough that I'm
                              seeing what I expected to see which is either a success or failure on my
                              part. I'm never sure which.

                              You've done the wonderful conversational task of restating something in
                              a way that gives me a couple good solid ideas.

                              Most of this team is new, including the manager. He is fairly big on
                              not having full team meetings and instead just bringing a couple people
                              to the table at a time depending on the issue. And this is for
                              fact-finding stuff not exclusionary work assignments, which go the
                              normal Xp route. I think he does it as a method of avoiding
                              committee-itis.

                              Yeah, I've gotta roll this around in my head a bit.

                              Thanks,

                              - Mike

                              -----Original Message-----
                              From: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                              [mailto:extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Steven Gordon
                              Sent: Monday, November 05, 2007 11:51 AM
                              To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                              Subject: Re: The Value of Curmudgeons (was: RE: [XP] Starting along the
                              coaching path)

                              If management has decided to not accept this team's performance any
                              longer and this person does not accept that there are even any
                              performance problems, then management will have to insist that this
                              person choose between being part of the problem or part of the solution.

                              As coach you are not in a position to make such an ultimatum. The best
                              you might be able to do is to marginalize him by asking for permission
                              to form a new team from the people who care about improving performance,
                              and just work with this new team.

                              On Nov 5, 2007 9:34 AM, Wilson, Michael <michael.wilson@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > One problem is that he doesn't see the slightest problem. It's all
                              > just the standard noise of doing software development to him.
                              >
                              > I was going the other route. Cherry pick the people who are
                              > interested and self motivated to create upward momentum. Let the team

                              > dynamic do as much of the heavy lifting as possible. Otherwise I feel

                              > like I'm playing HR guy.
                              >
                              > Or am I just skirting the possibility of a confrontation and phrasing

                              > it cleverly to myself? ;-)
                              >
                              > - M
                              >
                              >
                              >
                              > -----Original Message-----
                              > From: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                              > [mailto:extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Steven
                              > Gordon
                              > Sent: Monday, November 05, 2007 11:18 AM
                              > To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                              > Subject: Re: The Value of Curmudgeons (was: RE: [XP] Starting along
                              > the coaching path)
                              >
                              > Not Charlie, but:
                              >
                              > It would be worse if this programmer was only doing this when you
                              > were not around.
                              >
                              > Now, you know who you have to win over. Take him to lunch and find
                              > out what problems he sees with how thing have been done in the past
                              > (this is why gaining consensus on what the current problems are is
                              > critical before making any changes).
                              >
                              > Then try to make a bet: if any change does not makes things better
                              > after a month, you will agree to support rolling back that change,
                              > but if any change does make things better, he agrees to accpet the
                              change.
                              > Given that he is the most skeptical person, if he starts accepting
                              > the changes that make things better, everyone else will, too.
                              >
                              > Then you have to do what it takes to motivate the changes that will
                              > actually make things visibly better.
                              >
                              > Steve
                              >


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                              or sale of any financial instrument or as an official confirmation of any
                              transaction. Moreover, this material should not be construed to contain any
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                              contain confidential, proprietary or legally privileged information. No
                              confidentiality or privilege is waived or lost by any mistransmission. If
                              you receive this message in error, please immediately delete it and all
                              copies of it from your system, destroy any hard copies of it and notify the
                              sender. You must not, directly or indirectly, use, disclose, distribute,
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                              sender, except where the message states otherwise and the sender is
                              authorized to state them to be the views of any such entity.

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                            • Steven Gordon
                              Try to get the manager to read the first Scrum book
                              Message 14 of 25 , Nov 5, 2007
                                Try to get the manager to read the first Scrum book

                                On Nov 5, 2007 9:58 AM, Wilson, Michael <michael.wilson@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > a HA! I see I've now codified my position effectively enough that I'm
                                > seeing what I expected to see which is either a success or failure on my
                                > part. I'm never sure which.
                                >
                                > You've done the wonderful conversational task of restating something in
                                > a way that gives me a couple good solid ideas.
                                >
                                > Most of this team is new, including the manager. He is fairly big on
                                > not having full team meetings and instead just bringing a couple people
                                > to the table at a time depending on the issue. And this is for
                                > fact-finding stuff not exclusionary work assignments, which go the
                                > normal Xp route. I think he does it as a method of avoiding
                                > committee-itis.
                                >
                                > Yeah, I've gotta roll this around in my head a bit.
                                >
                                > Thanks,
                                >
                                > - Mike
                                >
                                >
                                > -----Original Message-----
                                > From: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                                > [mailto:extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Steven Gordon
                                >
                                > Sent: Monday, November 05, 2007 11:51 AM
                                > To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                                > Subject: Re: The Value of Curmudgeons (was: RE: [XP] Starting along the
                                > coaching path)
                                >
                                > If management has decided to not accept this team's performance any
                                > longer and this person does not accept that there are even any
                                > performance problems, then management will have to insist that this
                                > person choose between being part of the problem or part of the solution.
                                >
                                > As coach you are not in a position to make such an ultimatum. The best
                                > you might be able to do is to marginalize him by asking for permission
                                > to form a new team from the people who care about improving performance,
                                > and just work with this new team.
                                >
                                > On Nov 5, 2007 9:34 AM, Wilson, Michael <michael.wilson@...> wrote:
                                > >
                                > > One problem is that he doesn't see the slightest problem. It's all
                                > > just the standard noise of doing software development to him.
                                > >
                                > > I was going the other route. Cherry pick the people who are
                                > > interested and self motivated to create upward momentum. Let the team
                                >
                                > > dynamic do as much of the heavy lifting as possible. Otherwise I feel
                                >
                                > > like I'm playing HR guy.
                                > >
                                > > Or am I just skirting the possibility of a confrontation and phrasing
                                >
                                > > it cleverly to myself? ;-)
                                > >
                                > > - M
                                > >
                                > >
                                > >
                                > > -----Original Message-----
                                > > From: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                                > > [mailto:extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Steven
                                > > Gordon
                                > > Sent: Monday, November 05, 2007 11:18 AM
                                > > To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                                > > Subject: Re: The Value of Curmudgeons (was: RE: [XP] Starting along
                                > > the coaching path)
                                > >
                                > > Not Charlie, but:
                                > >
                                > > It would be worse if this programmer was only doing this when you
                                > > were not around.
                                > >
                                > > Now, you know who you have to win over. Take him to lunch and find
                                > > out what problems he sees with how thing have been done in the past
                                > > (this is why gaining consensus on what the current problems are is
                                > > critical before making any changes).
                                > >
                                > > Then try to make a bet: if any change does not makes things better
                                > > after a month, you will agree to support rolling back that change,
                                > > but if any change does make things better, he agrees to accpet the
                                > change.
                                > > Given that he is the most skeptical person, if he starts accepting
                                > > the changes that make things better, everyone else will, too.
                                > >
                                > > Then you have to do what it takes to motivate the changes that will
                                > > actually make things visibly better.
                                > >
                                > > Steve
                                > >
                                >
                                >
                                > To Post a message, send it to: extremeprogramming@...
                                >
                                > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                                > extremeprogramming-unsubscribe@...
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                                >
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                                > informational purposes only and has been obtained from sources believed to
                                > be reliable, but it is not necessarily complete and its accuracy cannot be
                                > guaranteed. It is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase
                                > or sale of any financial instrument or as an official confirmation of any
                                > transaction. Moreover, this material should not be construed to contain any
                                > recommendation regarding, or opinion concerning, any security. It may
                                > contain confidential, proprietary or legally privileged information. No
                                > confidentiality or privilege is waived or lost by any mistransmission. If
                                > you receive this message in error, please immediately delete it and all
                                > copies of it from your system, destroy any hard copies of it and notify the
                                > sender. You must not, directly or indirectly, use, disclose, distribute,
                                > print, or copy any part of this message if you are not the intended
                                > recipient. Any views expressed in this message are those of the individual
                                > sender, except where the message states otherwise and the sender is
                                > authorized to state them to be the views of any such entity.
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                                > Technology Group, Inc.
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                              • Chris Wheeler
                                ... Has XP fixed all of these problems on other projects, and do you have proof of it (iow, can you show your friend the before/after picture, concretely, or
                                Message 15 of 25 , Nov 5, 2007
                                  On Nov 5, 2007 11:29 AM, Wilson, Michael <michael.wilson@...> wrote:

                                  >
                                  > Most of the classic software mismanagement issues are biting this team
                                  > really badly.
                                  >
                                  > - A release date hasn't been met in ... it might actually be years.
                                  > - features are shipped half-baked.
                                  > - Requirements are very poorly defined.
                                  > - There are frequent "oops" patch releases. (average of one or more per
                                  > normal feature release.)
                                  > - When a release does go out nobody's exactly sure what was in it.
                                  > - Schedule slips are taken out of, you guessed it, testing and QA time
                                  > leading to frequent "No Go" releases.
                                  > - Confidence from the business is through the floor.
                                  >

                                  Has XP fixed all of these problems on other projects, and do you have proof
                                  of it (iow, can you show your friend the before/after picture, concretely,
                                  or do you only have a gut feel to go on? If it's gut feel, all guts are made
                                  equally.)

                                  Chris.


                                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                                • geoffrey_slinker
                                  ... are made ... All guts are not made equally. When I used to be involved heavily into illegal street racing my gut feel on a vibration or sound from my 280ZX
                                  Message 16 of 25 , Nov 5, 2007
                                    --- In extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com, "Chris Wheeler"
                                    <christopher.wheeler@...> wrote:

                                    > or do you only have a gut feel to go on? If it's gut feel, all guts
                                    are made
                                    > equally.)

                                    All guts are not made equally. When I used to be involved heavily into
                                    illegal street racing my gut feel on a vibration or sound from my
                                    280ZX was a much better gut feel than an a passenger or the local
                                    mechanic. So for the Chevelle and the '57 Chevy pick-up with 456 gears
                                    and a 283 for 1/8th mile races.

                                    Gut feels are seldom just guesses. That's my gut feel on it.

                                    Geoff
                                  • Wilson, Michael
                                    He just doesn t have the personal investment for that approach to lead anywhere. Negative pressure has historically achieved very little in this rather
                                    Message 17 of 25 , Nov 5, 2007
                                      He just doesn't have the personal investment for that approach to lead
                                      anywhere. "Negative pressure" has historically achieved very little in
                                      this rather particular regard.

                                      So far it looks likethe most effective thing I can do is work with the
                                      people who are interested.

                                      -----Original Message-----
                                      From: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                                      [mailto:extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Chris Wheeler
                                      Sent: Monday, November 05, 2007 1:10 PM
                                      To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                                      Subject: Re: The Value of Curmudgeons (was: RE: [XP] Starting along the
                                      coaching path)

                                      On Nov 5, 2007 11:29 AM, Wilson, Michael <michael.wilson@...> wrote:

                                      >
                                      > Most of the classic software mismanagement issues are biting this team

                                      > really badly.
                                      >
                                      > - A release date hasn't been met in ... it might actually be years.
                                      > - features are shipped half-baked.
                                      > - Requirements are very poorly defined.
                                      > - There are frequent "oops" patch releases. (average of one or more
                                      > per normal feature release.)
                                      > - When a release does go out nobody's exactly sure what was in it.
                                      > - Schedule slips are taken out of, you guessed it, testing and QA time

                                      > leading to frequent "No Go" releases.
                                      > - Confidence from the business is through the floor.
                                      >

                                      Has XP fixed all of these problems on other projects, and do you have
                                      proof of it (iow, can you show your friend the before/after picture,
                                      concretely, or do you only have a gut feel to go on? If it's gut feel,
                                      all guts are made
                                      equally.)

                                      Chris.


                                      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]



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                                      be reliable, but it is not necessarily complete and its accuracy cannot be
                                      guaranteed. It is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase
                                      or sale of any financial instrument or as an official confirmation of any
                                      transaction. Moreover, this material should not be construed to contain any
                                      recommendation regarding, or opinion concerning, any security. It may
                                      contain confidential, proprietary or legally privileged information. No
                                      confidentiality or privilege is waived or lost by any mistransmission. If
                                      you receive this message in error, please immediately delete it and all
                                      copies of it from your system, destroy any hard copies of it and notify the
                                      sender. You must not, directly or indirectly, use, disclose, distribute,
                                      print, or copy any part of this message if you are not the intended
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                                      sender, except where the message states otherwise and the sender is
                                      authorized to state them to be the views of any such entity.

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                                    • William Pietri
                                      ... Do you feel that he s burnt out? Or merely skeptical? Honestly, I now love the skeptics. Some of the best practitioners I have trained were initially the
                                      Message 18 of 25 , Nov 5, 2007
                                        Wilson, Michael wrote:
                                        > Unfortunately none of this seems important to my buddy (actually it's
                                        > not a mystery, he's said exactly that.) He just sees it all as noise
                                        > that goes on around him that's a part of the normal process. He just
                                        > comes in, does his thing and leaves, with seemingly no attachment to the
                                        > larger scope at all. "People just need to relax." *sigh*
                                        >


                                        Do you feel that he's burnt out? Or merely skeptical?

                                        Honestly, I now love the skeptics. Some of the best practitioners I have
                                        trained were initially the most skeptical. Their strength of character
                                        works against you in the beginning, but strongly for you once they see
                                        actual value.


                                        If he's burnt out, though, that's a big issue. In my experience the
                                        number one motivator for change is perceived pain. If he no longer
                                        notices that things suck, or if he is too tired to care, or if he is
                                        deeply disengaged, then I don't think it's too dramatic to say that he
                                        could wreck the team.

                                        Some possible strategies:

                                        Reconnect him to the pain others are feeling. If some people are unhappy
                                        with the team's poor record, bring them around for a discussion with the
                                        team. This does not have to involve yelling, and should certainly not
                                        include finger-pointing. It's much better if people just talk openly but
                                        sincerely about the negative consequences of the team's poor
                                        performance. And not just the business consequences, but how it makes
                                        them feel. They can share their pain.

                                        Place him in extended close contact to somebody who really cares about
                                        the project. One of the things I like best about war rooms is working
                                        with product managers who really care about their products. When they
                                        are excited or sad, I can't help but feel some of what they feel. That
                                        helps me care myself.

                                        Give him a break. If he's burnt out, some serious time off may help him
                                        recover and get perspective. But it has to be a real break, like a month
                                        in a quiet Mexican seaside town, or a few weeks hiking the Pacific Crest
                                        Trail. No pager, no calls into work, no frenetic tours. Just rest and a
                                        chance to become himself again.

                                        Move him into in an advisory role for a while. Find him an office on the
                                        other side of the building. Give him some non-urgent things to research.
                                        Or let him pick some. Let the team come to him when they need his
                                        advice, but otherwise give him an in-office vacation, so he can
                                        disengage for a while. Once the team is running smoothly and he is
                                        recovered, the difference should be both obvious and appealing to him.


                                        Sorry to go on at such length, but I've seen people like that either
                                        destroy agile adoptions or get fired. Or, worse, both. None of those
                                        outcomes appeals to me much.


                                        I hope that helps. Please let us know how it goes!

                                        William


                                        --
                                        William Pietri - william@... - +1-415-643-1024
                                        Agile consulting, coaching, and development: http://www.scissor.com/
                                        Instant video gratification: http://www.sidereel.com/
                                      • Wilson, Michael
                                        He just seems, to quote a particularly juicy LA Law episode, Overwrought with ambivalence. As though he s just marking time at a job as good or bad as any
                                        Message 19 of 25 , Nov 5, 2007
                                          He just seems, to quote a particularly juicy LA Law episode,
                                          "Overwrought with ambivalence." As though he's just marking time at a
                                          job as good or bad as any other.

                                          I almost wish I had the power to explore some of those options. I
                                          really like a lot of those ideas (hell I may do some of those myself.)
                                          But I'm really just a interdepartmental advocate too far outside the org
                                          structure to have any reasonable input at that level.

                                          I was a developer on that team for over a year and found his obstinance
                                          intractable and it figured largely in my original desire to resign,
                                          having tried everything I knew how to try. The opportunity to move in
                                          to this role came as quite a shock. I had put in my two weeks notice
                                          and it was my 2nd to last day. The irony that it's the first team I'm
                                          working with really helps me appreciate the sense of humor inherent in
                                          the divine plan ;)

                                          If he watches it working on his project I think he'll come around. He's
                                          obstinant but he's smart enough to be beyond disregarding and I've
                                          watched him fight tooth and nail for his point of view on other stuff
                                          then change his mind, genuinely convinced when the reality of the
                                          situation became obvious.

                                          One of the big trials about this project in particular is that it's a
                                          gui. It's "just" a gui. There really isn't so much "separating
                                          business logic" that can happen. A lot of the code-time practices of Xp
                                          (TDD most notably) become very very difficult. Finding suitable targets
                                          for FIT acceptance testing, things like that. So seeing it work on a
                                          server-side app is deemed largely irrelevant.


                                          -----Original Message-----
                                          From: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                                          [mailto:extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of William Pietri
                                          Sent: Monday, November 05, 2007 4:35 PM
                                          To: extremeprogramming@yahoogroups.com
                                          Subject: [XP] Re: The Value of Curmudgeons

                                          Wilson, Michael wrote:
                                          > Unfortunately none of this seems important to my buddy (actually it's
                                          > not a mystery, he's said exactly that.) He just sees it all as noise
                                          > that goes on around him that's a part of the normal process. He just
                                          > comes in, does his thing and leaves, with seemingly no attachment to
                                          > the larger scope at all. "People just need to relax." *sigh*
                                          >


                                          Do you feel that he's burnt out? Or merely skeptical?

                                          Honestly, I now love the skeptics. Some of the best practitioners I have
                                          trained were initially the most skeptical. Their strength of character
                                          works against you in the beginning, but strongly for you once they see
                                          actual value.


                                          If he's burnt out, though, that's a big issue. In my experience the
                                          number one motivator for change is perceived pain. If he no longer
                                          notices that things suck, or if he is too tired to care, or if he is
                                          deeply disengaged, then I don't think it's too dramatic to say that he
                                          could wreck the team.

                                          Some possible strategies:

                                          Reconnect him to the pain others are feeling. If some people are unhappy
                                          with the team's poor record, bring them around for a discussion with the
                                          team. This does not have to involve yelling, and should certainly not
                                          include finger-pointing. It's much better if people just talk openly but
                                          sincerely about the negative consequences of the team's poor
                                          performance. And not just the business consequences, but how it makes
                                          them feel. They can share their pain.

                                          Place him in extended close contact to somebody who really cares about
                                          the project. One of the things I like best about war rooms is working
                                          with product managers who really care about their products. When they
                                          are excited or sad, I can't help but feel some of what they feel. That
                                          helps me care myself.

                                          Give him a break. If he's burnt out, some serious time off may help him
                                          recover and get perspective. But it has to be a real break, like a month
                                          in a quiet Mexican seaside town, or a few weeks hiking the Pacific Crest
                                          Trail. No pager, no calls into work, no frenetic tours. Just rest and a
                                          chance to become himself again.

                                          Move him into in an advisory role for a while. Find him an office on the
                                          other side of the building. Give him some non-urgent things to research.

                                          Or let him pick some. Let the team come to him when they need his
                                          advice, but otherwise give him an in-office vacation, so he can
                                          disengage for a while. Once the team is running smoothly and he is
                                          recovered, the difference should be both obvious and appealing to him.


                                          Sorry to go on at such length, but I've seen people like that either
                                          destroy agile adoptions or get fired. Or, worse, both. None of those
                                          outcomes appeals to me much.


                                          I hope that helps. Please let us know how it goes!

                                          William


                                          --
                                          William Pietri - william@... - +1-415-643-1024 Agile consulting,
                                          coaching, and development: http://www.scissor.com/ Instant video
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                                        • William Pietri
                                          ... Nice phrase! When I ve been in that state, it was a defensive posture. I tried caring, but things were too awful to actually care about. So I refused to
                                          Message 20 of 25 , Nov 5, 2007
                                            Wilson, Michael wrote:
                                            > He just seems, to quote a particularly juicy LA Law episode,
                                            > "Overwrought with ambivalence." As though he's just marking time at a
                                            > job as good or bad as any other.
                                            >

                                            Nice phrase!

                                            When I've been in that state, it was a defensive posture. I tried
                                            caring, but things were too awful to actually care about. So I refused
                                            to engage. I hope he manages to escape!


                                            > But I'm really just a interdepartmental advocate too far outside the org
                                            > structure to have any reasonable input at that level.
                                            >

                                            Well, there's power and there's power. I hear the book "Getting It Done:
                                            How to Lead When You're Not in Charge" has some good tips around that.

                                            > I was a developer on that team for over a year and found his obstinance
                                            > intractable and it figured largely in my original desire to resign,
                                            > having tried everything I knew how to try. The opportunity to move in
                                            > to this role came as quite a shock. I had put in my two weeks notice
                                            > and it was my 2nd to last day. The irony that it's the first team I'm
                                            > working with really helps me appreciate the sense of humor inherent in
                                            > the divine plan
                                            >

                                            Have you told him or his manager this? I'm not suggesting you do it in
                                            an accusatory way. More like: "Hey, you have these behaviors. You may
                                            not know how they makes people feel. In fact, I hid my feelings from you
                                            because I didn't want to look weak. But let me tell you about my
                                            experience."

                                            He might just scoff, of course. But odds are he didn't mean to almost
                                            drive you out of the company. So if you can, as the therapists say, own
                                            your feelings during the discussion, you may be able to wake him up to
                                            things a little.

                                            > If he watches it working on his project I think he'll come around. He's
                                            > obstinant but he's smart enough to be beyond disregarding and I've
                                            > watched him fight tooth and nail for his point of view on other stuff
                                            > then change his mind, genuinely convinced when the reality of the
                                            > situation became obvious.
                                            >

                                            That's a great sign. With somebody like that, the, "let's try an
                                            experiment for a month" approach can work well. If you can turn his
                                            powers of analysis toward tinkering with the process, you may be able to
                                            hook him on continuous improvement. That's what happened to me, and
                                            seven years later I'm still hooked.


                                            > One of the big trials about this project in particular is that it's a
                                            > gui. It's "just" a gui.

                                            I know very little about modern thick-client GUIs, but there are plenty
                                            here with experience. Once you get into that, feel free to start a
                                            thread on that.


                                            Good luck with your new role!

                                            William


                                            --
                                            William Pietri - william@... - +1-415-643-1024
                                            Agile consulting, coaching, and development: http://www.scissor.com/
                                            Instant video gratification: http://www.sidereel.com/
                                          • Charlie Poole
                                            Hi Michael, ... Sorry for the late reply... I ve been at a conference this week and haven t had much time to think about this question. I ll tell you what I
                                            Message 21 of 25 , Nov 10, 2007
                                              Hi Michael,

                                              > > Even the curmudgeons are valuable - or maybe especially. :-)
                                              >
                                              > This is actually my biggest visible problem. We have a
                                              > single programmer who is the original author and he's been on
                                              > the team since it was a team of one. When anything XP comes
                                              > up in conversation he carps, rolls his eyes and shuts it
                                              > down. He seems to have almost perfectly poisoned the well
                                              > against new adoption.

                                              Sorry for the late reply... I've been at a conference this week
                                              and haven't had much time to think about this question.

                                              I'll tell you what I might do in this situation, with the proviso
                                              that it may not work for you, particularly if both you and the
                                              "curmudgeon" are clearly established as opponents. But it might.

                                              I would offer something like this: "Obviously, we have to be
                                              careful as we begin to adopt new practices. You are someone
                                              who isn't afraid to speak up when the an idea does't make sense.
                                              I'd like you to keep doing this, but with greater focus on
                                              improving our implementation. You'll be our official
                                              Devil's Advocate. I know that any set of practices that we
                                              end up adopting will be better for incorporating your ideas."

                                              As I suggested at the start, YMMV.

                                              Charlie
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