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Re: [scrumdevelopment] Coaching a developer away from being spoon-fed

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  • David H.
    ... Here is what I am usually doing. First of all do not pay much heed to the developer, but carefully analyze what environment they are in and what
    Message 1 of 21 , Dec 1, 2005
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      Simon Baker wrote:
      > What techniques have people successfully employed to encourage a
      > developer to be more responsible and decisive and to be a proactive
      > part of an emerging self-organising team, when he has become used to
      > and comfortable with being spoon-fed by a project manager in a command
      > and control environment?
      >
      >
      Here is what I am usually doing.

      First of all do not pay much heed to the developer, but carefully analyze what
      environment they are in and what environment do they come from? Make sure you
      understand the professional history of that person before you take further steps.

      The environments I have been experiencing usually put a lot of pressure on the
      chain of command and being spoon fed ensured that you could not really go
      wrong when you did exactly as told. Is there fear? Fear comes in many stages
      and at many stages. Does that developer simply fear? For his job? For being
      wrong? For not being accepted by peers? For becoming an impediment (not
      realizing he might already be one)?

      I think there have been written enough book on the component of social
      security, peer interaction, personal fears and the like that this does not
      need to be revisited. "Fearless change" being one of them.

      Now, what about the team? Are they not interested in coaching that person? Why
      would you bother? Are you part of the team? Did the team ask you to look into
      the matter? Is there a reason the team cannot employ various measures to
      ensure that this team member meets _their_ standards (as opposed to yours).
      There are, as mentioned, things as exposure, peer pressure, even humiliation
      and much worse, exposure of being unable to do something because you refused
      to employ your common sense.

      I would guess my answer is: Empower them. Give them the feeling that it is
      their good right to expose their needs and to think again. To speak up and
      make themselves heard. That is a complicated process and what I mentioned
      above is only parts of it. Personally I do not think that there is "a
      technique" or a set of them that can be employed. Individuals and the
      surrounding environment are just too unique for that.

      Alas, I am young and inexperienced so do not pay too much heed to my advise.

      -d
    • Simon Baker
      What if the whole team is struggling with its new empowered status and is failing to become self-organising because everyone has come from a command and
      Message 2 of 21 , Dec 1, 2005
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        What if the whole team is struggling with its new empowered status and
        is failing to become self-organising because everyone has come from a
        command and control structure?

        > Direct confrontation, i.e. "Alex, let's have a talk. You seem to avoid
        > being proactive and ..." Many people want to succeed and hate to be in
        > an oppressive environment, and they just need to be made aware.
        >
        > Peer pressure is a remarkable motivator, and daily scrums can provide a
        > framework in which a passive, positive peer pressure can be applied.
        > This assumes, of course, that you have peers that exhibit the desired
        > behavior.
        >
        > Pair programming helps with accountability and activity, pro- or not.
        > It's hard to screw off if you are accountable to your pairing partner.
        >
        > Figure out what motivates him, what gets him excited, what he enjoys,
        > and then try to create opportunities for him to do that.
        >
        > Terminate them and hire someone who doesn't require handholding.
        >
        > -----Original Message-----
        > From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
        > [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Simon Baker
        > Sent: Thursday, December 01, 2005 8:45 AM
        > To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
        > Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Coaching a developer away from being
        > spoon-fed
        >
        > What techniques have people successfully employed to encourage a
        > developer to be more responsible and decisive and to be a proactive
        > part of an emerging self-organising team, when he has become used to
        > and comfortable with being spoon-fed by a project manager in a command
        > and control environment?
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > To Post a message, send it to: scrumdevelopment@e...
        > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
        > scrumdevelopment-unsubscribe@e...
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
      • Martine Devos
        My twopence. Could not be the problem that some of us do not want to be empowered as in empower them not by younger and not by older people. Maybe
        Message 3 of 21 , Dec 1, 2005
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          My twopence.

          Could not be the problem that some of us do not want to be empowered as in "empower them" not by younger and not by older people.   Maybe sometimes we just try to hard. 

          I met a great scrummaster a couple of weeks ago, in Sweden, and a great team.  Low profile.  Taking hurdles away.  Serving.   Speaking up to management when needed.   And the team -- and he -- come out of a command and control culture.  They just had a training in TDD...  He just did not try too hard.   Stepping back and creating space for empowered teams.

          Some of this empowerment (and helping our teams) sound so paternalizing,   Empowerment is great.  AND empowerment is one of the most abuzed, misunderstood words.  

          I started using dis-disempowerment a while ago.  Not that makes much difference.  It does give me the intro to saying what I think about empowering though. 

          Sometimes I dis-empower myself -- give up my power to think for myself, to feel for myself, to say what I think and not what I think I am supposed to say, to take risks on my own behalf ...  (I am paraphrasing Virginia Satir). 
          Once I see that I get my power back.  I may still be scared, I may decide not to say that I need training, or that I am not gonna finish as promissed...  But I do that consciously,  Not because someone has power over me.
          Nobody takes my power away, nobody gives it back to me.  
          I do not get it back because someone tells me I empowered, or because someone tells me it is safe to speak...  I get it back when I face my fears and act anyway.  And it is great to learn that I/we are not the only person with fears. 


          Martine

          "David H." <dmalloc@...> wrote:
          Simon Baker wrote:
          > What techniques have people successfully employed to encourage a
          > developer to be more responsible and decisive and to be a proactive
          > part of an emerging self-organising team, when he has become used to
          > and comfortable with being spoon-fed by a project manager in a command
          > and control environment?
          >
          >
          Here is what I am usually doing.

          First of all do not pay much heed to the developer, but carefully analyze what
          environment they are in and what environment do they come from? Make sure you
          understand the professional history of that person before you take further steps.

          The environments I have been experiencing usually put a lot of pressure on the
          chain of command and being spoon fed ensured that you could not really go
          wrong when you did exactly as told. Is there fear? Fear comes in many stages
          and at many stages. Does that developer simply fear? For his job? For being
          wrong? For not being accepted by peers? For becoming an impediment (not
          realizing he might already be one)?

          I think there have been written enough book on the component of social
          security, peer interaction, personal fears and the like that this does not
          need to be revisited. "Fearless change" being one of them.

          Now, what about the team? Are they not interested in coaching that person? Why
          would you bother? Are you part of the team? Did the team ask you to look into
          the matter? Is there a reason the team cannot employ various measures to
          ensure that this team member meets _their_ standards (as opposed to yours).
          There are, as mentioned, things as exposure, peer pressure, even humiliation
          and much worse, exposure of being unable to do something because you refused
          to employ your common sense.

          I would guess my answer is: Empower them. Give them the feeling that it is
          their good right to expose their needs and to think again. To speak up and
          make themselves heard. That is a complicated process and what I mentioned
          above is only parts of it. Personally I do not think that there is "a
          technique" or a set of them that can be employed. Individuals and the
          surrounding environment are just too unique for that.

          Alas, I am young and inexperienced so do not pay too much heed to my advise.

          -d




          Martine Devos
          mmdevos@...
          skype: mmdevos1953
        • Ron Jeffries
          ... Rock on, Martine! Ron Jeffries www.XProgramming.com We know less about the project today than at any time in the future. -- Chet Hendrickson You mean today
          Message 4 of 21 , Dec 1, 2005
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            On Thursday, December 1, 2005, at 12:23:05 PM, Martine Devos wrote:

            > Nobody takes my power away, nobody gives it back to me.

            Rock on, Martine!

            Ron Jeffries
            www.XProgramming.com
            We know less about the project today than at any time in the future.
            -- Chet Hendrickson
            You mean today is the dumbest day of the rest of my life?
            -- Ron Jeffries
          • Victor Szalvay
            This is a tough situation and no single solution could possibly apply to all teams. My solution to these problems in the past might be perceived as hard line
            Message 5 of 21 , Dec 1, 2005
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              This is a tough situation and no single solution could possibly apply
              to all teams.

              My solution to these problems in the past might be perceived as hard
              line but it's worked for me: just let the team fail the sprint and
              resist the temptation of getting "involved". Nothing shakes the core
              of the team like a very public failure in front of the PO, other
              teams, management, etc.

              Of course this assumes you've explained to them that "things are
              different now" and that ultimately the team itself is responsible for
              the success of the sprint. If they run into problems they should
              voice impediments which they should help each other to solve or
              escalate. Short of unresolved impediments getting in the way, they
              are responsible for success... etc...

              I too have noticed a tendency for some engineers/team members to "not
              believe" that this is a real change and that they are defacto the
              managers of themselves. Some people seem to think, well if it gets
              bad enough some real manager will jump in. To me, the worst thing you
              can do in this situation as a manager is get involved.

              -- Victor Szalvay
              Danube Technologies, Inc.
              http://www.danube.com

              --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "Simon Baker"
              <simonbaker@t...> wrote:
              >
              > What if the whole team is struggling with its new empowered status and
              > is failing to become self-organising because everyone has come from a
              > command and control structure?
              >
              > > -----Original Message-----
              > > From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
              > > [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Simon Baker
              > > Sent: Thursday, December 01, 2005 8:45 AM
              > > To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
              > > Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Coaching a developer away from being
              > > spoon-fed
              > >
              > > What techniques have people successfully employed to encourage a
              > > developer to be more responsible and decisive and to be a proactive
              > > part of an emerging self-organising team, when he has become used to
              > > and comfortable with being spoon-fed by a project manager in a command
              > > and control environment?
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > To Post a message, send it to: scrumdevelopment@e...
              > > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
              > > scrumdevelopment-unsubscribe@e...
              > > Yahoo! Groups Links
              > >
              >
            • Steven Gordon
              dis-disempower is an excellent term. I hope you do not mind if I use it from time to time.
              Message 6 of 21 , Dec 1, 2005
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                "dis-disempower" is an excellent term.  I hope you do not mind if I use it from time to time.

                 
                On 12/1/05, Martine Devos <mmdevos1953@...> wrote:
                My twopence.

                Could not be the problem that some of us do not want to be empowered as in "empower them" not by younger and not by older people.   Maybe sometimes we just try to hard. 

                I met a great scrummaster a couple of weeks ago, in Sweden, and a great team.  Low profile.  Taking hurdles away.  Serving.   Speaking up to management when needed.   And the team -- and he -- come out of a command and control culture.  They just had a training in TDD...  He just did not try too hard.   Stepping back and creating space for empowered teams.

                Some of this empowerment (and helping our teams) sound so paternalizing,   Empowerment is great.  AND empowerment is one of the most abuzed, misunderstood words.  

                I started using dis-disempowerment a while ago.  Not that makes much difference.  It does give me the intro to saying what I think about empowering though. 

                Sometimes I dis-empower myself -- give up my power to think for myself, to feel for myself, to say what I think and not what I think I am supposed to say, to take risks on my own behalf ...  (I am paraphrasing Virginia Satir). 
                Once I see that I get my power back.  I may still be scared, I may decide not to say that I need training, or that I am not gonna finish as promissed...  But I do that consciously,  Not because someone has power over me.
                Nobody takes my power away, nobody gives it back to me.  
                I do not get it back because someone tells me I empowered, or because someone tells me it is safe to speak...  I get it back when I face my fears and act anyway.  And it is great to learn that I/we are not the only person with fears. 


                Martine

                "David H." <dmalloc@...> wrote:
                Simon Baker wrote:
                > What techniques have people successfully employed to encourage a
                > developer to be more responsible and decisive and to be a proactive
                > part of an emerging self-organising team, when he has become used to
                > and comfortable with being spoon-fed by a project manager in a command
                > and control environment?
                >
                >
                Here is what I am usually doing.

                First of all do not pay much heed to the developer, but carefully analyze what
                environment they are in and what environment do they come from? Make sure you
                understand the professional history of that person before you take further steps.

                The environments I have been experiencing usually put a lot of pressure on the
                chain of command and being spoon fed ensured that you could not really go
                wrong when you did exactly as told. Is there fear? Fear comes in many stages
                and at many stages. Does that developer simply fear? For his job? For being
                wrong? For not being accepted by peers? For becoming an impediment (not
                realizing he might already be one)?

                I think there have been written enough book on the component of social
                security, peer interaction, personal fears and the like that this does not
                need to be revisited. "Fearless change" being one of them.

                Now, what about the team? Are they not interested in coaching that person? Why
                would you bother? Are you part of the team? Did the team ask you to look into
                the matter? Is there a reason the team cannot employ various measures to
                ensure that this team member meets _their_ standards (as opposed to yours).
                There are, as mentioned, things as exposure, peer pressure, even humiliation
                and much worse, exposure of being unable to do something because you refused
                to employ your common sense.

                I would guess my answer is: Empower them. Give them the feeling that it is
                their good right to expose their needs and to think again. To speak up and
                make themselves heard. That is a complicated process and what I mentioned
                above is only parts of it. Personally I do not think that there is "a
                technique" or a set of them that can be employed. Individuals and the
                surrounding environment are just too unique for that.

                Alas, I am young and inexperienced so do not pay too much heed to my advise.

                -d


                 


                Martine Devos
                mmdevos@...
                skype: mmdevos1953

              • Clinton Keith
                ... Hi Simon, From our experience: it sounds like you re at a natural step of adopting Agile. You recognize that this is important (which is great), but it
                Message 7 of 21 , Dec 1, 2005
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                  > -----Original Message-----
                  > From Simon Baker
                  >
                  > What if the whole team is struggling with its new empowered status and
                  > is failing to become self-organising because everyone has come from a
                  > command and control structure?
                  >
                  Hi Simon,

                  From our experience: it sounds like you're at a natural step of adopting
                  Agile. You recognize that this is important (which is great), but it
                  takes time for teams to shed the fear of C&C and gain the courage of
                  ownership.

                  Keep looking at the way to use the simple Scrum practices. Some random
                  suggestions:
                  - Let them fail (as Victor suggests)
                  - Even if you can intervene and avoid the failure.
                  - Review the product value, not the tasks.
                  - Praise value...focus more on that than their just
                  accomplishing all the stories in the backlog "just to be done".
                  - Address the entire team, not just your senior people at meetings.
                  - Don't talk in Scrums (if you are a chicken)
                  - Focus on solving impediments that are yours to solve.

                  Just keep focusing on the practices and improving practices once a
                  sprint. This is as much of an education for you as it is for the teams.
                  One day (it took us over 18 months) the teams will begin to take
                  ownership and you'll find a whole new gear you never knew they had.

                  Enjoy,
                  Clint
                  www.agilegamedevelopment.com
                • Nick Xidis
                  I don t know if there s a good prescription for this ill but, here s my 2 cents. Visibility, Success & Honesty Make actual performance (or the lack) visible to
                  Message 8 of 21 , Dec 1, 2005
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                    I don't know if there's a good prescription for this ill but, here's my 2 cents.

                    Visibility, Success & Honesty

                    Make actual performance (or the lack) visible to the whole team. Post it on the wall, talk about it in daily meetings. Don't try to hard to jump in and "fix" this person's issues. Give him/her some time and space to work it out, you're asking him/her to do a very uncomfortable thing and it may take a while before they understand their new role. If you make it visible, the team will work it out (some times with a little coaching)

                    Nothing gets folks to change quicker than having actual success. I've had multiple experiences with teams adopting agile and it's a struggle to hold it together until there's a success. Everybody needs to have the "ah ha" moment where they finally get it -- they see how the pieces fit together. One of the hardest things an agile team leader has to do is keep the team and the agile process together long enough to have success.

                    Your developer needs to know that you're completely honest. Both with him and what's going on with your projects. Even if its unpleasant, none of the rest matters if they don't trust what your about.


                    I know this is not a technique focused as you might have expected -- sorry, I was in a philosophical mood.






                    On 12/1/05, Simon Baker <simonbaker@...> wrote:
                    What techniques have people successfully employed to encourage a
                    developer to be more responsible and decisive and to be a proactive
                    part of an emerging self-organising team, when he has become used to
                    and comfortable with being spoon-fed by a project manager in a command
                    and control environment?





                    To Post a message, send it to:   scrumdevelopment@...
                    To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: scrumdevelopment-unsubscribe@...




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                      Nick Xidis
                      nxidis@...

                      We are here to make another world. (Deming)
                  • David H.
                    ... Before you can do that you need to have that power though. In a company which is driven by usual command and control someone had to give it to you. I do
                    Message 9 of 21 , Dec 2, 2005
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                      Martine Devos wrote:
                      > My twopence.
                      >
                      > Could not be the problem that some of us do not want to be empowered as in "empower them" not by younger and not by older people. Maybe sometimes we just try to hard.
                      >
                      > I met a great scrummaster a couple of weeks ago, in Sweden, and a great team. Low profile. Taking hurdles away. Serving. Speaking up to management when needed. And the team -- and he -- come out of a command and control culture. They just had a training in TDD... He just did not try too hard. Stepping back and creating space for empowered teams.
                      >
                      > Some of this empowerment (and helping our teams) sound so paternalizing, Empowerment is great. AND empowerment is one of the most abuzed, misunderstood words.
                      >
                      > I started using dis-disempowerment a while ago. Not that makes much difference. It does give me the intro to saying what I think about empowering though.
                      >
                      > Sometimes I dis-empower myself -- give up my power to think for myself, to feel for myself, to say what I think and not what I think I am supposed to say, to take risks on my own behalf ... (I am paraphrasing Virginia Satir).
                      > Once I see that I get my power back. I may still be scared, I may decide not to say that I need training, or that I am not gonna finish as promissed... But I do that consciously, Not because someone has power over me.
                      > Nobody takes my power away, nobody gives it back to me.
                      Before you can do that you need to have that power though. In a company which
                      is driven by usual command and control someone had to give it to you.
                      I do think I understand the word "to empower" a bite differently, mainly
                      because I am not a native speaker. To me it means that you do everything in
                      your power to ensure that a team or an individual has that cosy warm feeling
                      he needs to unfold.

                      -d
                    • Ron Jeffries
                      ... I would suggest, and I hope, with some confidence, that Martine would agree with me here, that each individual has much power beyond what was handed to
                      Message 10 of 21 , Dec 2, 2005
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                        On Friday, December 2, 2005, at 3:40:04 PM, David H. wrote:

                        > Before you can do that you need to have that power though. In a company which
                        > is driven by usual command and control someone had to give it to you.

                        I would suggest, and I hope, with some confidence, that Martine
                        would agree with me here, that each individual has much power beyond
                        what was handed to them.

                        Ron Jeffries
                        www.XProgramming.com
                        Speculation or experimentation - which is more likely to give the correct answer?
                      • David H.
                        ... In what context? Within a fixed organisational structure or as an individual? When I do not know the passwords to the employers database because my job
                        Message 11 of 21 , Dec 2, 2005
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                          Ron Jeffries wrote:
                          > On Friday, December 2, 2005, at 3:40:04 PM, David H. wrote:
                          >
                          >> Before you can do that you need to have that power though. In a company which
                          >> is driven by usual command and control someone had to give it to you.
                          >
                          > I would suggest, and I hope, with some confidence, that Martine
                          > would agree with me here, that each individual has much power beyond
                          > what was handed to them.
                          >
                          In what context? Within a fixed organisational structure or as an individual?
                          When I do not know the passwords to the employers database because my job
                          description does not grant me access to that information, then I simply do not
                          have that info and it can only be given to me.

                          If you are referring to the power within ourselves that we often do not
                          utilise because we are scared or because we forgot about it, then I can only
                          agree whole heartedly.

                          -d


                          PS: I apologise for nit-picking.
                        • Dave Bly
                          Two more cents for the kitty: Before you can do that you need to have that power though. In a company which is driven by usual command and control someone had
                          Message 12 of 21 , Dec 2, 2005
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                            Two more cents for the kitty:

                             

                            “Before you can do that you need to have that power though. In a company which
                            is driven by usual command and control someone had to give it to you.”

                            Remember that there is more than one kind of power.  Position power, that ascribed to you by your position, may need to be given to you, but personal power is something that you all have, regardless of the position you hold.  Personal power, that power accruing to you by your ability to perform well and consistently, articulate clearly, persuade effectively and negotiate diplomatically is yours to use, even in a command and control environment.  I have found that personal power is more effective in the long run than position power any day. And it often determines the amount of position power you are granted over the long run.  

                             

                            “Stepping back and creating space for  empowered teams.”

                            Do any of you have teenaged or young adult children?  I think there are interesting parallels between raising young adults and managing empowered teams. Often, they may not listen up front and follow the guidance you offer. They have to stub their toes a few times to see the light for themselves.  “Storming” if you will.  But the payoff is worth it, resulting in more mature and reasoned team decision making.  The trick is to find ways that they can learn from their failures in small, non-destructive ways first and then gradually increase the thresholds as they grow.

                             

                            Dave

                            - “Knowledge is power.” – Sir Francis Bacon

                             


                            From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com [mailto: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com ] On Behalf Of David H.
                            Sent: Friday, December 02, 2005 12:40 PM
                            To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                            Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Coaching a developer away from being spoon-fed

                             

                            Martine Devos wrote:
                            > My twopence.
                            >  
                            >   Could not be the problem that some of us do not want to be empowered as  in "empower them" not by younger and not by older people.    Maybe sometimes we just try to hard. 
                            >  
                            >   I met a great scrummaster a couple of weeks ago, in Sweden , and a great  team.  Low profile.  Taking hurdles away.   Serving.   Speaking up to management when needed.    And the team -- and he -- come out of a command and control  culture.  They just had a training in TDD...  He just did not  try too hard.   Stepping back and creating space for  empowered teams.
                            >  
                            >   Some of this empowerment (and helping our teams) sound so  paternalizing,   Empowerment is great.  AND empowerment  is one of the most abuzed, misunderstood words.  
                            >  
                            >   I started using dis-disempowerment a while ago.  Not that makes  much difference.  It does give me the intro to saying what I think  about empowering though. 
                            >  
                            >   Sometimes I dis-empower myself -- give up my power to think for myself,  to feel for myself, to say what I think and not what I think I am  supposed to say, to take risks on my own behalf ...  (I am  paraphrasing Virginia Satir). 
                            >   Once I see that I get my power back.  I may still be scared, I may  decide not to say that I need training, or that I am not gonna finish  as promissed...  But I do that consciously,  Not because  someone has power over me.
                            >   Nobody takes my power away, nobody gives it back to me.  
                            Before you can do that you need to have that power though. In a company which
                            is driven by usual command and control someone had to give it to you.
                            I do think I understand the word "to empower" a bite differently, mainly
                            because I am not a native speaker. To me it means that you do everything in
                            your power to ensure that a team or an individual has that cosy warm feeling
                            he needs to unfold.

                            -d


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