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57236Re: [scrumdevelopment] Why do the "values" matter?

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  • Christofer Jennings
    Sep 20, 2013
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      My experience is that changing values is an internal personal thing that takes time. Talking about it directly with people who I feel could benefit from it often comes out feeling flat. Sometimes it clicks, but I think that's with people who are "already there". Sometimes people seem enthusiastic, like they see the light, but then behavior doesn't change. Sometimes the values I talked about end up being used to reenforce behavior that I feel is anathema. And then there's times (I think like Jean mentioned) where they just don't see the point, the status quo prevails implicitly. But regardless of the short-term reaction there are times when I meet one of these people sometime later and it turns out they've become one of the "already there" group. They've been on their own journey and it took time.

      So, regardless of what happens next, Jean's acting by her values is wonderful. That's how the seeds get planted. But I doubt writing something about values will help much unless it has team buy-in already, which it doesn't.

      Maybe you could ask the team to imagine what their team would be like if it were perfect. If you can, get them to actually write it down, individually or better yet as a group. Then ask them to imagine how they would want to be treated by others on such a team (if it didn't already come up). And then challenge them to follow The Golden Rule (i.e., treat others how you want to be treated). They could then turn their vision into a team agreement.

      Later, you could suggest that their vision aligns with the XP and/or Scrum values.

      I've had some success with a simple thing like bringing Yellow Cards into the daily scrum. The team decided at a retrospective that people were getting too into the technical weeds during daily scrum. So we made a simple team agreement that anyone could simply raise a yellow card at any time, and if at least 2 others did the same then the person would have to stop. Period. Occasionally at the beginning people got upset. But once they also decided to raise a yellow card it all became clear and easy. Over time it died off and we don't use yellow cards any more. The fun wore off. And people got conformable enough to just say, "we need to get out of the weeds", or whatever. …. It's a simple case, but behavior did change and it was not by talking about values. It was by changing the system so the values could be better expressed.


      On Sep 20, 2013, at 8:32 AM, Adam Sroka <adam.sroka@...> wrote:

      I believe organizational change is possible, but it requires commitment and sacrifice both from the top and from the level where the work is done. One of those sacrifices is being willing to squeeze out the folks whose values don't align by choice. 

      While I admire your desire to fight fires consider that it might not be possible to change some organizations, and consider what failure might mean for your company's brand, for the Agile/Scrum brand you are representing, and for yourself personally. 

      I'm all for tilting at windmills, but even firefighters have to know when the right thing to do is get everyone out of the building and let it fall down. 

      On Fri, Sep 20, 2013 at 11:01 AM, Jean Richardson <jean@...> wrote:

      Adam –


      Focusing on the Manifesto is a good technique as it gets you to those values.  (Thank you for the reminder.)  It’s a less direct route, and perhaps I’m just getting a bit tired and wanting to be more direct.  And, yes, some people really don’t want to think about their work more holistically and the whole on-the-bus/off-the-bus thing is worth looking at and planning the organization around.


      I remain willing to work with people whose values are skewed from mine.  It’s good for both me and them and causes growth.  I’m not sure avoiding situations where agile adoptions have run aground for any variety of reasons—including a less than generative way of valuing human beings—is quite where I want to be, yet.  I know plenty of people who are there, though, and to my mind, this means there are more teams out there in need of support than are going to get it.   One view speaks to courage, and some would say the other view speaks to wisdom.


      Someone asked me a really hard question in Q1 of this year (and it was in an interview):  “Do you really enjoy going into these situations where people aren’t getting along, projects are failing, and turning the situation around?”  They wanted a “yes” or “no” answer, and I just didn’t have it for them.  Overnight I realized that firemen likely don’t enjoy running into burning buildings; they enjoy putting fires out.  Arsonists enjoy burning buildings.


      Maybe what I need here is a bigger hose or a more reliable water supply.  I’m off to yet another week long workshop next week to get a sharper bit and drill a deeper well.


      --- Jean


      From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Adam Sroka
      Sent: Friday, September 20, 2013 6:43 AM

      To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Why do the "values" matter?



      Personally, I always go back to the XP values: courage, communication, feedback, simplicity, and respect. Those resonate with me. 


      Beyond that, I try to make sure that the folks I work with can agree to respect the values and principles in the Agile Manifesto. Some people don't really want to. For example, some people like designing things and not necessarily building them. Others like to build things but don't necessarily care what value they have or to whom; it is the act of building things that are cool to them personally that they enjoy. The only solution I have found is to not work with those people. 


      There is nothing wrong with having values that are different than someone else, but there is also nothing wrong with making decisions about who you want to hire or who you want to be hired by based on those values. Since you are moving on anyway, perhaps you should think about what questions you could ask to your next client to make sure that their values are compatible with yours. If they aren't compatible, perhaps no amount of effort on your part is going to change them in any meaningful way. 



      On Fri, Sep 20, 2013 at 8:59 AM, Jean Richardson <jean@...> wrote:


      All –


      I’ve had my head down in a challenging problem for several months.  Now that I’m “waking up” to the world again, I hope to be able to spend more time engaged in this list.


      I’m thinking of you all this morning because, as I exit this engagement, I’m writing up a couple of organizational impediments at the behest of the sponsor for these last six months of work to improve this Scrum adoption.  I’ve been socializing these impediments to ensure they retain traction in my absence, and one doesn’t seem to be getting the kind of traction I was hoping for.  Essentially, it’s about the lack of the Scrum Values being present on the Teams and in the division as a whole.  I’m getting the response “I just don’t understand what you’re talking about.” 


      Do others here see the same confusion about why respect, commitment, courage, openness, and focus are important to an effective Scrum adoption?  Do I need to be talking about professionalism, instead?  I’m concerned that will gloss the issue, frankly.  Have any of you been able to tie this to real numbers (dollars) through external case studies?


      --- Jean



      Jean Richardson

      Azure Gate Consulting

      ~ Repatterning the Human Experience of Work



      (503) 788-8998






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