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"Voting off the island" vs. cultural restraint

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  • Simon Kirk
    Hi all. Here s something that s been buzzing around in my mind for a while: how a team s cultural setting and composition can effect their behaviour,
    Message 1 of 29 , Sep 6, 2008
      Hi all.

      Here's something that's been buzzing around in my mind for a while:
      how a team's cultural setting and composition can effect their
      behaviour, specifically with a reference to voting a poorly-performing
      member of the team be removed.

      I would be truly surprised if my team came to me with the decision
      that they needed to vote off a member. Of course it's a crass
      generalisation, but the reason I would be surprised is that they seem
      "too nice" to do such a thing. "too nice" in the traditionally British
      way, if you know what I mean. I wonder if this hurts them, by stunting
      their ability to self-optimise.

      Admittedly I've never explicitly discussed with them that they have
      the right to do this if they wish: I support I'd hoped it was clear
      from the power of self-organisation they already have that they could
      do this if they wanted. Perhaps I should have made it clearer to them
      initially (not that I think they need to vote anybody off, of course).

      Anyway, I'd be interested to know what people think on this one.
      Cheers,
      Simon
      [|]
    • George Dinwiddie
      ... Or perhaps it strengthens them in that it allows for greater diversity and less group-think. Or perhaps they might perceive that a poorly performing
      Message 2 of 29 , Sep 6, 2008
        Simon Kirk wrote:
        > Hi all.
        >
        > Here's something that's been buzzing around in my mind for a while:
        > how a team's cultural setting and composition can effect their
        > behaviour, specifically with a reference to voting a poorly-performing
        > member of the team be removed.
        >
        > I would be truly surprised if my team came to me with the decision
        > that they needed to vote off a member. Of course it's a crass
        > generalisation, but the reason I would be surprised is that they seem
        > "too nice" to do such a thing. "too nice" in the traditionally British
        > way, if you know what I mean. I wonder if this hurts them, by stunting
        > their ability to self-optimise.

        Or perhaps it strengthens them in that it allows for greater diversity
        and less "group-think." Or perhaps they might perceive that a "poorly
        performing" team member has other contributions that may be just as
        important as cranking out work products. Indeed, it's not uncommon to
        find that the person who seems to be producing the least is a catalyst
        for the others. I've heard tales of teams whose productivity dropped
        when someone was removed who didn't seem to be pulling their weight.

        - George

        --
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
        * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
        Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
        Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
      • Simon Kirk
        ... I can believe that, George - I ve actively defended one of the team in the past from senior management before because my impression of her and from the
        Message 3 of 29 , Sep 6, 2008
          On 7 Sep 2008, at 00:57, George Dinwiddie wrote:

          > Simon Kirk wrote:
          >> Hi all.
          >>
          >> Here's something that's been buzzing around in my mind for a while:
          >> how a team's cultural setting and composition can effect their
          >> behaviour, specifically with a reference to voting a poorly-
          >> performing
          >> member of the team be removed.
          >>
          >> I would be truly surprised if my team came to me with the decision
          >> that they needed to vote off a member. Of course it's a crass
          >> generalisation, but the reason I would be surprised is that they seem
          >> "too nice" to do such a thing. "too nice" in the traditionally
          >> British
          >> way, if you know what I mean. I wonder if this hurts them, by
          >> stunting
          >> their ability to self-optimise.
          >
          > Or perhaps it strengthens them in that it allows for greater diversity
          > and less "group-think." Or perhaps they might perceive that a "poorly
          > performing" team member has other contributions that may be just as
          > important as cranking out work products. Indeed, it's not uncommon to
          > find that the person who seems to be producing the least is a catalyst
          > for the others. I've heard tales of teams whose productivity dropped
          > when someone was removed who didn't seem to be pulling their weight.

          I can believe that, George - I've actively defended one of the team in
          the past from senior management before because my impression of her
          and from the team is that she's definitely contributing just fine,
          despite outward appearances.

          However, I do have a question: were these tales the result of the team
          taking action itself, or outside forces imposing their will?

          Cheers,
          Simon

          [|]
        • George Dinwiddie
          ... As I recall, it was outside forces. Unfortunately I don t remember the story very clearly and I don t recall where I read it. Sorry not to be
          Message 4 of 29 , Sep 6, 2008
            Simon Kirk wrote:
            > On 7 Sep 2008, at 00:57, George Dinwiddie wrote:
            >
            >> Simon Kirk wrote:
            >>> Hi all.
            >>>
            >>> Here's something that's been buzzing around in my mind for a while:
            >>> how a team's cultural setting and composition can effect their
            >>> behaviour, specifically with a reference to voting a poorly-
            >>> performing
            >>> member of the team be removed.
            >>>
            >>> I would be truly surprised if my team came to me with the decision
            >>> that they needed to vote off a member. Of course it's a crass
            >>> generalisation, but the reason I would be surprised is that they seem
            >>> "too nice" to do such a thing. "too nice" in the traditionally
            >>> British
            >>> way, if you know what I mean. I wonder if this hurts them, by
            >>> stunting
            >>> their ability to self-optimise.
            >> Or perhaps it strengthens them in that it allows for greater diversity
            >> and less "group-think." Or perhaps they might perceive that a "poorly
            >> performing" team member has other contributions that may be just as
            >> important as cranking out work products. Indeed, it's not uncommon to
            >> find that the person who seems to be producing the least is a catalyst
            >> for the others. I've heard tales of teams whose productivity dropped
            >> when someone was removed who didn't seem to be pulling their weight.
            >
            > I can believe that, George - I've actively defended one of the team in
            > the past from senior management before because my impression of her
            > and from the team is that she's definitely contributing just fine,
            > despite outward appearances.
            >
            > However, I do have a question: were these tales the result of the team
            > taking action itself, or outside forces imposing their will?

            As I recall, it was outside forces. Unfortunately I don't remember the
            story very clearly and I don't recall where I read it. <sigh/> Sorry
            not to be more help.

            - George

            --
            ----------------------------------------------------------------------
            * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
            Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
            Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
            ----------------------------------------------------------------------
          • srinivas chillara
            Hiya, ... I d like to think (having some cultural you refer to), one or more team members (and very likely the SM) would make some attempts to understand and
            Message 5 of 29 , Sep 6, 2008
              Hiya,

              >> Hi all.
              >>
              >> Here's something that's been buzzing around in my mind for a while:
              >> how a team's cultural setting and composition can effect their
              >> behaviour, specifically with a reference to voting a poorly-
              >> performing
              >> member of the team be removed.

              I'd like to think (having some cultural you refer to), one or more team members (and very likely the SM) would make some attempts to understand and then improve the performance of the suspect.

              This itself will make most people realise they need to pull-up thier socks, in one way or another. I'd say the move to "vote off the island" is quite harsh, unless it is something like a team preparing to win the world cup.


              >> I would be truly surprised if my team came to me with the decision
              >> that they needed to vote off a member. Of course it's a crass
              >> generalisation, but the reason I would be surprised is that they seem
              >> "too nice" to do such a thing. "too nice" in the traditionally
              >> British
              >> way, if you know what I mean. I wonder if this hurts them, by
              >> stunting
              >> their ability to self-optimise.

              It is possibly more important that the team (and individual members) improve through learning all the time, than to get to maximum efficiency at every point. The problem with optimisation is that we (humans) are usually only good in achieving local optimisation.
              But, yes, if they were too nice and one or two people are really not doing well, causing the team to fail often, then I imagine the team will become listless, and be just another lacklustre team.

              cheers
              Cheenie








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            • Simon Kirk
              ... Not at all: you ve been plenty of help, what you ve said resonates with my belief that any team worth their salt would be highly unlikely to abuse the
              Message 6 of 29 , Sep 7, 2008
                On 7 Sep 2008, at 02:15, George Dinwiddie wrote:

                > Simon Kirk wrote:
                >> On 7 Sep 2008, at 00:57, George Dinwiddie wrote:
                >>
                >>> Simon Kirk wrote:
                >>>> Hi all.
                >>>>
                >>>> Here's something that's been buzzing around in my mind for a while:
                >>>> how a team's cultural setting and composition can effect their
                >>>> behaviour, specifically with a reference to voting a poorly-
                >>>> performing
                >>>> member of the team be removed.
                >>>>
                >>>> I would be truly surprised if my team came to me with the decision
                >>>> that they needed to vote off a member. Of course it's a crass
                >>>> generalisation, but the reason I would be surprised is that they
                >>>> seem
                >>>> "too nice" to do such a thing. "too nice" in the traditionally
                >>>> British
                >>>> way, if you know what I mean. I wonder if this hurts them, by
                >>>> stunting
                >>>> their ability to self-optimise.
                >>> Or perhaps it strengthens them in that it allows for greater
                >>> diversity
                >>> and less "group-think." Or perhaps they might perceive that a
                >>> "poorly
                >>> performing" team member has other contributions that may be just as
                >>> important as cranking out work products. Indeed, it's not
                >>> uncommon to
                >>> find that the person who seems to be producing the least is a
                >>> catalyst
                >>> for the others. I've heard tales of teams whose productivity
                >>> dropped
                >>> when someone was removed who didn't seem to be pulling their weight.
                >>
                >> I can believe that, George - I've actively defended one of the team
                >> in
                >> the past from senior management before because my impression of her
                >> and from the team is that she's definitely contributing just fine,
                >> despite outward appearances.
                >>
                >> However, I do have a question: were these tales the result of the
                >> team
                >> taking action itself, or outside forces imposing their will?
                >
                > As I recall, it was outside forces. Unfortunately I don't remember
                > the
                > story very clearly and I don't recall where I read it. <sigh/> Sorry
                > not to be more help.

                Not at all: you've been plenty of help, what you've said resonates
                with my belief that any team worth their salt would be highly unlikely
                to abuse the voting off the island option, and that it's when external
                forces impose it on those teams that problems happen more.

                That's my interpretation anyway :)

                Cheers,
                Simon

                [|]
              • James Carr
                Hi, I ve seen the too nice aspect of preventing a team from voting a poorly performing member off a team quite a few times... in one example, there was
                Message 7 of 29 , Sep 7, 2008
                  Hi,

                  I've seen the "too nice" aspect of preventing a team from voting a
                  poorly performing member off a team quite a few times... in one
                  example, there was someone who had been with the company for two years
                  and still couldn't grasp basic concepts of the language being used.
                  The person was obviously a drag on productivity a bit, but was nice,
                  friendly, and had even had a few team members over for dinner.

                  How does one vote someone like that off the island without feeling bad?

                  Thanks,
                  James

                  On Sat, Sep 6, 2008 at 5:37 PM, Simon Kirk <scrum@...> wrote:
                  > Hi all.
                  >
                  > Here's something that's been buzzing around in my mind for a while:
                  > how a team's cultural setting and composition can effect their
                  > behaviour, specifically with a reference to voting a poorly-performing
                  > member of the team be removed.
                  >
                  > I would be truly surprised if my team came to me with the decision
                  > that they needed to vote off a member. Of course it's a crass
                  > generalisation, but the reason I would be surprised is that they seem
                  > "too nice" to do such a thing. "too nice" in the traditionally British
                  > way, if you know what I mean. I wonder if this hurts them, by stunting
                  > their ability to self-optimise.
                  >
                  > Admittedly I've never explicitly discussed with them that they have
                  > the right to do this if they wish: I support I'd hoped it was clear
                  > from the power of self-organisation they already have that they could
                  > do this if they wanted. Perhaps I should have made it clearer to them
                  > initially (not that I think they need to vote anybody off, of course).
                  >
                  > Anyway, I'd be interested to know what people think on this one.
                  > Cheers,
                  > Simon
                  > [|]
                  >
                  >
                • George Dinwiddie
                  ... I fear that the phrase worth their salt may make your statement a tautology. People are capable of a wide variety of behaviors. A group of people can
                  Message 8 of 29 , Sep 7, 2008
                    Simon Kirk wrote:
                    > On 7 Sep 2008, at 02:15, George Dinwiddie wrote:
                    >>> However, I do have a question: were these tales the result of the
                    >>> team
                    >>> taking action itself, or outside forces imposing their will?
                    >> As I recall, it was outside forces. Unfortunately I don't remember
                    >> the
                    >> story very clearly and I don't recall where I read it. <sigh/> Sorry
                    >> not to be more help.
                    >
                    > Not at all: you've been plenty of help, what you've said resonates
                    > with my belief that any team worth their salt would be highly unlikely
                    > to abuse the voting off the island option, and that it's when external
                    > forces impose it on those teams that problems happen more.

                    I fear that the phrase "worth their salt" may make your statement a
                    tautology. People are capable of a wide variety of behaviors. A group
                    of people can turn against one member. In fact, I've witnessed a group
                    that would serially attack one person (either within the group or
                    closely associated with them) at a time until that person either
                    successfully defended themselves or left the group. I recall that
                    http://www.amazon.com/dp/0140283331/ describes this phenomenon in
                    graphic detail.

                    Likely, though, your team is different from these.

                    - George

                    --
                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                    * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
                    Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
                    Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
                    ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                  • George Dinwiddie
                    ... James, I d say that it s OK (even admirable) to feel bad about taking that action. But I d also say that voting someone off the island is not the only
                    Message 9 of 29 , Sep 7, 2008
                      James Carr wrote:
                      > Hi,
                      >
                      > I've seen the "too nice" aspect of preventing a team from voting a
                      > poorly performing member off a team quite a few times... in one
                      > example, there was someone who had been with the company for two years
                      > and still couldn't grasp basic concepts of the language being used.
                      > The person was obviously a drag on productivity a bit, but was nice,
                      > friendly, and had even had a few team members over for dinner.
                      >
                      > How does one vote someone like that off the island without feeling bad?

                      James, I'd say that it's OK (even admirable) to feel bad about taking
                      that action. But I'd also say that "voting someone off the island" is
                      not the only possible effective response.

                      Another possibility is helping that person find a place off the island
                      that is better suited for them. This could be a resolution that
                      everyone can feel good about.

                      There are possibilities that don't involve removing the person from the
                      team, too. When you say the person was a drag on productivity, do you
                      mean they brought down the average or slowed the team in absolute terms.
                      If you're talking about the average, then that's just an accounting
                      issue. In any group, someone's got to be below average. The question
                      becomes are they worth their cost.

                      But if they're slowing the team in absolute terms, that says that the
                      team is doing things that are counter-productive. Perhaps the person is
                      writing code that someone else has to rework--in which case it might be
                      prudent for the person to do tasks other than write code. Perhaps the
                      team is spending a lot of time trying to teach the person things they're
                      not quite ready to learn--in which case it might be prudent for the team
                      to back off on that. In any case, it can be valuable to focus on the
                      behavior (on the part of an individual or the team as a whole) that is
                      causing problems and address that, rather than objectifying the problem
                      as a person.

                      Hope that helps,
                      George

                      --
                      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                      * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
                      Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
                      Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
                      ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                    • Simon Kirk
                      ... Thankfully, yes they are :) You re right of course: there is no litigating for team personalities, and I can only make assumptions on good team behaviour,
                      Message 10 of 29 , Sep 7, 2008
                        On 7 Sep 2008, at 17:08, George Dinwiddie wrote:

                        > Simon Kirk wrote:
                        >> On 7 Sep 2008, at 02:15, George Dinwiddie wrote:
                        >>>> However, I do have a question: were these tales the result of the
                        >>>> team
                        >>>> taking action itself, or outside forces imposing their will?
                        >>> As I recall, it was outside forces. Unfortunately I don't remember
                        >>> the
                        >>> story very clearly and I don't recall where I read it. <sigh/>
                        >>> Sorry
                        >>> not to be more help.
                        >>
                        >> Not at all: you've been plenty of help, what you've said resonates
                        >> with my belief that any team worth their salt would be highly
                        >> unlikely
                        >> to abuse the voting off the island option, and that it's when
                        >> external
                        >> forces impose it on those teams that problems happen more.
                        >
                        > I fear that the phrase "worth their salt" may make your statement a
                        > tautology. People are capable of a wide variety of behaviors. A
                        > group
                        > of people can turn against one member. In fact, I've witnessed a
                        > group
                        > that would serially attack one person (either within the group or
                        > closely associated with them) at a time until that person either
                        > successfully defended themselves or left the group. I recall that
                        > http://www.amazon.com/dp/0140283331/ describes this phenomenon in
                        > graphic detail.
                        >
                        > Likely, though, your team is different from these.

                        Thankfully, yes they are :)

                        You're right of course: there is no litigating for team personalities,
                        and I can only make assumptions on good team behaviour, not having
                        seen a large number of them (teams in general that is, rather than
                        good teams; I'm not a contractor, and have only worked at 6 businesses.)

                        I hope I never see that kind of behaviour, and if I do I hope I deal
                        with it well if the day comes.

                        Cheers,
                        Simon

                        ps. Nice choice of book to illustrate that kind of behaviour

                        [|]
                      • Michael Hamman
                        By whose description would such an individual be poorly-performing ? By what criteria? George points to the situation in which a team member may be deemed
                        Message 11 of 29 , Sep 7, 2008
                          By whose description would such an individual be "poorly-performing"?
                          By what criteria? George points to the situation in which a team
                          member may be deemed "poor performer" by someone external to the team,
                          while the team itself finds that person indispensable for reasons that
                          are difficult to quantify (or perhaps justify to a meddling
                          management). In these cases, the team must be given the final word,
                          even if it seems stupid. If, indeed, it turns out to be the case that
                          the person in question REALLY IS dragging the team down, that will
                          show up, if (the big if) the environment is working.

                          Much of the experience in the study of group dynamics tells us that
                          oftentimes the "poorly-performing" team member (or any kind of
                          "scapegoat" more generally) may be manifesting hidden team/group
                          stress that the team hasn't been able to effectively deal with. These
                          can sometimes be caused by double-binds which the team is being forced
                          to accept due to incongruent management (e.g. being forced to honor
                          externally defined deadlines while being hampered by persistent
                          impediments). Voting the person in question off the island will, in
                          such cases, often result in manifestation of new team problems (e.g. a
                          new member will suddenly become "poorly performing").

                          Another issue is the "assignment" of people to already established
                          teams, without the input of the team. This places the new person in
                          an unfortunate position, as well as the team, particularly if the team
                          has already been humming along.

                          Such a case as Simon mentions, regarding "politeness" of the team, is
                          very often an indication of some incongruence in the management or
                          organizational environment. The presence of such behavior patterns
                          within the team could be flagged as an organizational impediment,
                          assuming that the "politeness" is not so inbred so as to forbid open
                          discussion of such matters.

                          In an otherwise healthy environment, an empowered and self-realized
                          team will, in my experience, discover how to deal with a team member
                          who it deems as not performing up to par, in ways that are at once
                          effective and humane. Voting the person off the island would, in such
                          situations, always be a last resort measure, but not one which a
                          healthy team would avoid at all costs.

                          --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, George Dinwiddie <lists@...>
                          wrote:
                          >
                          > Simon Kirk wrote:
                          > > Hi all.
                          > >
                          > > Here's something that's been buzzing around in my mind for a while:
                          > > how a team's cultural setting and composition can effect their
                          > > behaviour, specifically with a reference to voting a
                          poorly-performing
                          > > member of the team be removed.
                          > >
                          > > I would be truly surprised if my team came to me with the decision
                          > > that they needed to vote off a member. Of course it's a crass
                          > > generalisation, but the reason I would be surprised is that they
                          seem
                          > > "too nice" to do such a thing. "too nice" in the traditionally
                          British
                          > > way, if you know what I mean. I wonder if this hurts them, by
                          stunting
                          > > their ability to self-optimise.
                          >
                          > Or perhaps it strengthens them in that it allows for greater diversity
                          > and less "group-think." Or perhaps they might perceive that a "poorly
                          > performing" team member has other contributions that may be just as
                          > important as cranking out work products. Indeed, it's not uncommon to
                          > find that the person who seems to be producing the least is a catalyst
                          > for the others. I've heard tales of teams whose productivity dropped
                          > when someone was removed who didn't seem to be pulling their weight.
                          >
                          > - George
                          >
                          > --
                          > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                          > * George Dinwiddie * http://blog.gdinwiddie.com
                          > Software Development http://www.idiacomputing.com
                          > Consultant and Coach http://www.agilemaryland.org
                          > ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                          >
                        • Simon Kirk
                          Nice comments Michael, thanks very much. I believe that an empowered and self-realized (I m not 100% sure what that means: I interpret as a team which has
                          Message 12 of 29 , Sep 8, 2008
                            Nice comments Michael, thanks very much.

                            I believe that an empowered and "self-realized" (I'm not 100% sure
                            what that means: I interpret as a team which has built itself, more or
                            less. Is that correct?) team will discover how to deal with under-
                            performing team members themselves.

                            I can also see how a team which is still Norming (using the Forming,
                            Storming, Norming and Performing team formation model) may need the
                            guidance of a coach to take them towards that discovery. I'm
                            interested in how a coach (which in the context of Scrum I see as the
                            Scrum Master - perhaps that's a wrong assumption?) could help the team
                            in this aspect without destroying the delicate Norming process, i.e.
                            undermining the team's self-organisation.

                            I would be afraid that any kind of guidance would risk taking the team
                            back to Storming again. Then again perhaps that's not so bad; perhaps
                            the under-performing team member is an indication that the team norms
                            were off-kilter.

                            Any thoughts?

                            Cheers,
                            Simon


                            On 7 Sep 2008, at 23:18, Michael Hamman wrote:

                            > By whose description would such an individual be "poorly-performing"?
                            > By what criteria? George points to the situation in which a team
                            > member may be deemed "poor performer" by someone external to the team,
                            > while the team itself finds that person indispensable for reasons that
                            > are difficult to quantify (or perhaps justify to a meddling
                            > management). In these cases, the team must be given the final word,
                            > even if it seems stupid. If, indeed, it turns out to be the case that
                            > the person in question REALLY IS dragging the team down, that will
                            > show up, if (the big if) the environment is working.
                            >
                            > Much of the experience in the study of group dynamics tells us that
                            > oftentimes the "poorly-performing" team member (or any kind of
                            > "scapegoat" more generally) may be manifesting hidden team/group
                            > stress that the team hasn't been able to effectively deal with. These
                            > can sometimes be caused by double-binds which the team is being forced
                            > to accept due to incongruent management (e.g. being forced to honor
                            > externally defined deadlines while being hampered by persistent
                            > impediments). Voting the person in question off the island will, in
                            > such cases, often result in manifestation of new team problems (e.g. a
                            > new member will suddenly become "poorly performing").
                            >
                            > Another issue is the "assignment" of people to already established
                            > teams, without the input of the team. This places the new person in
                            > an unfortunate position, as well as the team, particularly if the team
                            > has already been humming along.
                            >
                            > Such a case as Simon mentions, regarding "politeness" of the team, is
                            > very often an indication of some incongruence in the management or
                            > organizational environment. The presence of such behavior patterns
                            > within the team could be flagged as an organizational impediment,
                            > assuming that the "politeness" is not so inbred so as to forbid open
                            > discussion of such matters.
                            >
                            > In an otherwise healthy environment, an empowered and self-realized
                            > team will, in my experience, discover how to deal with a team member
                            > who it deems as not performing up to par, in ways that are at once
                            > effective and humane. Voting the person off the island would, in such
                            > situations, always be a last resort measure, but not one which a
                            > healthy team would avoid at all costs.
                            >
                            > --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, George Dinwiddie <lists@...>
                            > wrote:
                            >>
                            >> Simon Kirk wrote:
                            >>> Hi all.
                            >>>
                            >>> Here's something that's been buzzing around in my mind for a while:
                            >>> how a team's cultural setting and composition can effect their
                            >>> behaviour, specifically with a reference to voting a
                            > poorly-performing
                            >>> member of the team be removed.
                            >>>
                            >>> I would be truly surprised if my team came to me with the decision
                            >>> that they needed to vote off a member. Of course it's a crass
                            >>> generalisation, but the reason I would be surprised is that they
                            > seem
                            >>> "too nice" to do such a thing. "too nice" in the traditionally
                            > British
                            >>> way, if you know what I mean. I wonder if this hurts them, by
                            > stunting
                            >>> their ability to self-optimise.
                            >>
                            >> Or perhaps it strengthens them in that it allows for greater
                            >> diversity
                            >> and less "group-think." Or perhaps they might perceive that a
                            >> "poorly
                            >> performing" team member has other contributions that may be just as
                            >> important as cranking out work products. Indeed, it's not uncommon
                            >> to
                            >> find that the person who seems to be producing the least is a
                            >> catalyst
                            >> for the others. I've heard tales of teams whose productivity dropped
                            >> when someone was removed who didn't seem to be pulling their weight.
                            >>
                            >> - George
                            >>
                            >> --
                            >>
                            >> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                            >> * George Dinwiddie * http://
                            >> blog.gdinwiddie.com
                            >> Software Development http://
                            >> www.idiacomputing.com
                            >> Consultant and Coach http://
                            >> www.agilemaryland.org
                            >>
                            >> ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                            >>
                            >
                            >
                            >
                            > ------------------------------------
                            >
                            > To Post a message, send it to: scrumdevelopment@...
                            > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to: scrumdevelopment-unsubscribe@...
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                            [|]
                          • Roy Morien
                            I don t want to be hard nosed or hard assed about this, but let s be serious ... in a software development team we are not dealing with kindergarten kiddies,
                            Message 13 of 29 , Sep 8, 2008
                              I don't want to be hard nosed or hard assed about this, but let's be serious ... in a software development team we are not dealing with kindergarten kiddies, and it is not a sheltered workshop.
                               
                              I can only assume that the various team members and team leader have done the reasonable (and sensible) thing and done the counselling and supporting and all those things that are quite appropriate to avoid losing a valuable asset ... or at least one that has been paid for in hard cash and time.
                               
                              If that doesn't work ... well, why should the recalcitrant be treated so softly? The final, and sometimes inevitable, and always regrettable, action is to fire them.
                               
                              Self-management really means self-disciplining, self organising, taking responsibility for self. It cannot and should not be an excuse for carrying passengers at the expense of the team's effectiveness and efficiency.
                               
                              Regards,
                              Roy Morien  






                              To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                              From: ceezone@...
                              Date: Sun, 7 Sep 2008 11:10:13 +0530
                              Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] "Voting off the island" vs. cultural restraint


                              Hiya,

                              >> Hi all.
                              >>
                              >> Here's something that's been buzzing around in my mind for a while:
                              >> how a team's cultural setting and composition can effect their
                              >> behaviour, specifically with a reference to voting a poorly-
                              >> performing
                              >> member of the team be removed.

                              I'd like to think (having some cultural you refer to), one or more team members (and very likely the SM) would make some attempts to understand and then improve the performance of the suspect.

                              This itself will make most people realise they need to pull-up thier socks, in one way or another. I'd say the move to "vote off the island" is quite harsh, unless it is something like a team preparing to win the world cup.

                              >> I would be truly surprised if my team came to me with the decision
                              >> that they needed to vote off a member. Of course it's a crass
                              >> generalisation, but the reason I would be surprised is that they seem
                              >> "too nice" to do such a thing. "too nice" in the traditionally
                              >> British
                              >> way, if you know what I mean. I wonder if this hurts them, by
                              >> stunting
                              >> their ability to self-optimise.

                              It is possibly more important that the team (and individual members) improve through learning all the time, than to get to maximum efficiency at every point. The problem with optimisation is that we (humans) are usually only good in achieving local optimisation.
                              But, yes, if they were too nice and one or two people are really not doing well, causing the team to fail often, then I imagine the team will become listless, and be just another lacklustre team.

                              cheers
                              Cheenie

                              Add more friends to your messenger and enjoy! Go to http://in.messenger .yahoo.com/ invite/



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                            • Ron Jeffries
                              Hello, Roy. On Monday, September 8, 2008, at 7:24:55 AM, you ... In my opinion this would be the worst conceivable assumption. I have never -- ever -- seen a
                              Message 14 of 29 , Sep 8, 2008
                                Hello, Roy. On Monday, September 8, 2008, at 7:24:55 AM, you
                                wrote:

                                > I can only assume that the various team members and team leader
                                > have done the reasonable (and sensible) thing and done the
                                > counselling and supporting and all those things that are quite
                                > appropriate to avoid losing a valuable asset ... or at least one
                                > that has been paid for in hard cash and time.

                                In my opinion this would be the worst conceivable assumption. I have
                                never -- ever -- seen a team that had flipped the bozo bit on
                                someone go to any lengths at all to recover them. I have seen teams
                                do those reasonable and sensible things, and in that case the result
                                was never -- ever -- to force the person out.

                                I suggest that a team decision to force someone out cannot be
                                assumed to have involved due diligence.

                                Ron Jeffries
                                www.XProgramming.com
                                Sometimes you just have to stop holding on with both hands, both
                                feet, and your tail, to get someplace better. Of course you might
                                plummet to the earth and die, but probably not:
                                You were made for this.
                              • srinivas chillara
                                Ron, I don t follow you Ron. What Roy has written seems sensible, I think his assumption is very reasonable. Good teams would do it. They surely would have
                                Message 15 of 29 , Sep 8, 2008
                                  Ron,
                                  I don't follow you Ron. What Roy has written seems sensible, I think his assumption is very reasonable. Good teams would do it. They surely would have gone through the storming phase atleast once.
                                   
                                  Srinivas
                                   

                                  --- On Mon, 8/9/08, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...> wrote:
                                  From: Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...>
                                  Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] "Voting off the island" vs. cultural restraint
                                  To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                                  Date: Monday, 8 September, 2008, 6:24 PM

                                  Hello, Roy. On Monday, September 8, 2008, at 7:24:55 AM, you
                                  wrote:

                                  > I can only assume that the various team members and team leader
                                  > have done the reasonable (and sensible) thing and done the
                                  > counselling and supporting and all those things that are quite
                                  > appropriate to avoid losing a valuable asset ... or at least one
                                  > that has been paid for in hard cash and time.

                                  In my opinion this would be the worst conceivable assumption. I have
                                  never -- ever -- seen a team that had flipped the bozo bit on
                                  someone go to any lengths at all to recover them. I have seen teams
                                  do those reasonable and sensible things, and in that case the result
                                  was never -- ever -- to force the person out.

                                  I suggest that a team decision to force someone out cannot be
                                  assumed to have involved due diligence.

                                  Ron Jeffries
                                  www.XProgramming. com
                                  Sometimes you just have to stop holding on with both hands, both
                                  feet, and your tail, to get someplace better. Of course you might
                                  plummet to the earth and die, but probably not:
                                  You were made for this.



                                  Add more friends to your messenger and enjoy! Invite them now.
                                • Paul Hudson
                                  As far as I can tell, Ron is reporting what has actually happened in his experience, and pointing out that it differs from Roy’s assumption. FWIW (not much),
                                  Message 16 of 29 , Sep 8, 2008

                                    As far as I can tell, Ron is reporting what has actually happened in his experience, and pointing out that it differs from Roy’s assumption.

                                     

                                    FWIW (not much), Ron’s experience matches mine. Whether that’s “sensible” or not is not the issue.

                                     

                                    Paul.

                                     

                                    From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of srinivas chillara
                                    Sent: 08 September 2008 17:06
                                    To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                                    Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] "Voting off the island" vs. cultural restraint

                                     

                                    Ron,
                                    I don't follow you Ron. What Roy has written seems sensible, I think his assumption is very reasonable. Good teams would do it. They surely would have gone through the storming phase atleast once.

                                     

                                    Srinivas

                                     


                                    --- On Mon, 8/9/08, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...> wrote:

                                    From: Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...>
                                    Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] "Voting off the island" vs. cultural restraint
                                    To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                                    Date: Monday, 8 September, 2008, 6:24 PM

                                    Hello, Roy. On Monday, September 8, 2008, at 7:24:55 AM, you
                                    wrote:

                                    > I can only assume that the various team members and team leader
                                    > have done the reasonable (and sensible) thing and done the
                                    > counselling and supporting and all those things that are quite
                                    > appropriate to avoid losing a valuable asset ... or at least one
                                    > that has been paid for in hard cash and time.

                                    In my opinion this would be the worst conceivable assumption. I have
                                    never -- ever -- seen a team that had flipped the bozo bit on
                                    someone go to any lengths at all to recover them. I have seen teams
                                    do those reasonable and sensible things, and in that case the result
                                    was never -- ever -- to force the person out.

                                    I suggest that a team decision to force someone out cannot be
                                    assumed to have involved due diligence.

                                    Ron Jeffries
                                    www.XProgramming. com
                                    Sometimes you just have to stop holding on with both hands, both
                                    feet, and your tail, to get someplace better. Of course you might
                                    plummet to the earth and die, but probably not:
                                    You were made for this.




                                    Add more friends to your messenger and enjoy! Invite them now.

                                  • Ken Boucher
                                    ... In my experience, no. Those things aren t done for the issue that causes the person to have to go. I m not sure why, exactly, this is. I ve seen plenty of
                                    Message 17 of 29 , Sep 8, 2008
                                      --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Roy Morien <roymorien@...> wrote:
                                      >
                                      > I can only assume that the various team members and team leader
                                      > have done the reasonable (and sensible) thing and done the
                                      > counselling and supporting and all those things that are quite
                                      > appropriate to avoid losing a valuable asset ... or at least one
                                      > that has been paid for in hard cash and time.

                                      In my experience, no. Those things aren't done for the issue that
                                      causes the person to have to go. I'm not sure why, exactly, this is.
                                      I've seen plenty of feedback sessions and yet, in the end, I'd say
                                      that in the majority of cases, the reason someone finally went just
                                      wasn't one of those things we discussed in those sessions. Maybe it's
                                      because we saw it as something that couldn't change so we discussed
                                      the things that could change in the hopes that would make a
                                      difference. I don't know.

                                      I've seen people removed for traits I admired. I've seen people
                                      removed to pave the way for senior people who were difficult to work
                                      with. I've seen people removed for things in their personal lives that
                                      weren't going to change and affected the workplace. And I've seen
                                      people kept for reasons I never did understand. (But I am a bear of
                                      very little brain after all.)

                                      It may be hard to see at times, but I think it's better to be voted
                                      off the island than have to work with the very people who wanted to
                                      work against you. I've left too soon and I've stayed to late and of
                                      the two, leaving early seems to be the better choice. It's not as good
                                      as fixing a bad situation but it beats being the last to go.
                                    • Ron Jeffries
                                      Hello, srinivas. On Monday, September 8, 2008, at 12:06:08 PM, you ... Did you notice that I wasn t hypothesizing, but reporting what I have actually seen,
                                      Message 18 of 29 , Sep 8, 2008
                                        Hello, srinivas. On Monday, September 8, 2008, at 12:06:08 PM, you
                                        wrote:

                                        > I don't follow you Ron. What Roy has written seems sensible, I
                                        > think his assumption is very reasonable. Good teams would do it.
                                        > They surely would have gone through the storming phase atleast once.

                                        Did you notice that I wasn't hypothesizing, but reporting what I
                                        have actually seen, with real teams?

                                        Ron Jeffries
                                        www.XProgramming.com
                                        A tale about a better world than what we know might not be hype.
                                        It might be a real observation from a different spot on the mountain.
                                      • srinivas chillara
                                        Hiya Ron, I did consider that. You also said that the assumption Roy made is a very poor one. That is what I didn t understand. cheers Srinivas ... From: Ron
                                        Message 19 of 29 , Sep 8, 2008
                                          Hiya Ron,
                                          I did consider that. You also said that the assumption Roy made is a very poor one. That is what I didn't understand.
                                          cheers
                                          Srinivas

                                          --- On Mon, 8/9/08, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...> wrote:
                                          From: Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...>
                                          Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] "Voting off the island" vs. cultural restraint
                                          To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                                          Date: Monday, 8 September, 2008, 10:32 PM

                                          Hello, srinivas. On Monday, September 8, 2008, at 12:06:08 PM, you
                                          wrote:

                                          > I don't follow you Ron. What Roy has written seems sensible, I
                                          > think his assumption is very reasonable. Good teams would do it.
                                          > They surely would have gone through the storming phase atleast once.

                                          Did you notice that I wasn't hypothesizing, but reporting what I
                                          have actually seen, with real teams?

                                          Ron Jeffries
                                          www.XProgramming. com
                                          A tale about a better world than what we know might not be hype.
                                          It might be a real observation from a different spot on the mountain.



                                          Download prohibited? No problem. CHAT from any browser, without download.
                                        • Ron Jeffries
                                          Hello, srinivas. On Monday, September 8, 2008, at 9:21:54 PM, you ... His assumption, that teams that vote people off the island have done due diligence,
                                          Message 20 of 29 , Sep 8, 2008
                                            Hello, srinivas. On Monday, September 8, 2008, at 9:21:54 PM, you
                                            wrote:

                                            > I did consider that. You also said that the assumption Roy made
                                            > is a very poor one. That is what I didn't understand.

                                            His assumption, that teams that vote people off the island have done
                                            due diligence, conflicts with the reality I know. That would be
                                            pretty much the definition of a poor assumption.

                                            Ron Jeffries
                                            www.XProgramming.com
                                            There is no award for "being XP". There is an award for doing the
                                            right combination of practices: success.
                                          • srinivas chillara
                                            Hello Ron, I see what you mean. If someone was simply detested, possibly due diligence is not done. But if someone who is liked or atleast tolorated, but not
                                            Message 21 of 29 , Sep 8, 2008
                                              Hello Ron,
                                              I see what you mean.
                                              If someone was simply detested, possibly due diligence is not done.
                                              But if someone who is liked or atleast tolorated, but not performing (whatever that means) I suppose people (or SM) will try to make an effort to be fair before making him/her walk the plank. Maybe this is a cultural thing. I am speculating, since the original post was of that nature.
                                              cheers
                                              Cheenie
                                               
                                               
                                               


                                              --- On Tue, 9/9/08, Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...> wrote:
                                              From: Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@...>
                                              Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] "Voting off the island" vs. cultural restraint
                                              To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                                              Date: Tuesday, 9 September, 2008, 10:41 AM

                                              Hello, srinivas. On Monday, September 8, 2008, at 9:21:54 PM, you
                                              wrote:

                                              > I did consider that. You also said that the assumption Roy made
                                              > is a very poor one. That is what I didn't understand.

                                              His assumption, that teams that vote people off the island have done
                                              due diligence, conflicts with the reality I know. That would be
                                              pretty much the definition of a poor assumption.

                                              Ron Jeffries
                                              www.XProgramming. com
                                              There is no award for "being XP". There is an award for doing the
                                              right combination of practices: success.



                                              Unlimited freedom, unlimited storage. Get it now
                                            • Roy Morien
                                              Gee Ron, I am searching hard for something to say that you might agree with :) My assumption was based on what I see as good management / leadership. If
                                              Message 22 of 29 , Sep 9, 2008
                                                Gee Ron, I am searching hard for something to say that you might agree with :)
                                                 
                                                My 'assumption' was based on what I see as good management / leadership. If someone needs to be counselled because of some problem in their behaviour, then, to me, the first reaction is not to flip the bozo bit (which I assume means kick him out; or is this another poor assumption?) but to do something to try to retrieve the situation, whatever that is. Perhaps the 'bozo' has some temporary personal problems. Perhaps the bozo just doesn't have the training. All sorts of reasons to try to redeem him or her, and save the investment so far in their selection, training, experience etc.

                                                However, if that doesn't succeed, then ... bye bye bozo.
                                                 
                                                I too speak from considerable experience (about 31 years), as well as from a hypothetical perspective. The cost of hiring and then rehiring is too much to ignore lightly. But, yes, I also hold the view that if you must tell someone not to do something disgusting in public, then it is probably a lost cause already, that they didn't realise it themselves. Sometimes the resentment, or anger, or disappointment, or disinterest, or just plain lack of respect is too deep seated to be turned around into making a model citizen. But I would still try.

                                                So, I am a little puzzled as to why my previous assumption was the 'worst conceivable'. I have actually seen worse, myself :)
                                                 
                                                Regards,
                                                Roy Morien



                                                To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                                                From: ronjeffries@...
                                                Date: Mon, 8 Sep 2008 08:54:32 -0400
                                                Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] "Voting off the island" vs. cultural restraint


                                                Hello, Roy. On Monday, September 8, 2008, at 7:24:55 AM, you
                                                wrote:

                                                > I can only assume that the various team members and team leader
                                                > have done the reasonable (and sensible) thing and done the
                                                > counselling and supporting and all those things that are quite
                                                > appropriate to avoid losing a valuable asset ... or at least one
                                                > that has been paid for in hard cash and time.

                                                In my opinion this would be the worst conceivable assumption. I have
                                                never -- ever -- seen a team that had flipped the bozo bit on
                                                someone go to any lengths at all to recover them. I have seen teams
                                                do those reasonable and sensible things, and in that case the result
                                                was never -- ever -- to force the person out.

                                                I suggest that a team decision to force someone out cannot be
                                                assumed to have involved due diligence.

                                                Ron Jeffries
                                                www.XProgramming. com
                                                Sometimes you just have to stop holding on with both hands, both
                                                feet, and your tail, to get someplace better. Of course you might
                                                plummet to the earth and die, but probably not:
                                                You were made for this.




                                                Play now to win prizes for you and your friends! Are you a friend magnet?
                                              • Roy Morien
                                                Not being smarty a..se I hope, but in my experience, teams that vote people off the island without having done due diligence are just not doing the right
                                                Message 23 of 29 , Sep 9, 2008

                                                  Not being smarty a..se I hope, but in my experience, teams that vote people off the island without having done due diligence are just not doing the right thing, by themselves, by the Voted One, or by the company, or by anyone.
                                                   
                                                  That would pretty much be the definition of a poorly lead team. This is what HR is for ... to select, and nurture, and if necessary, fire people. I am surprised that this has not been part of Ron's observed reality, although I must hurry to agree with him that this is a definite part of reality too; that is, to fail to value people and try to find the best in them. 
                                                   
                                                  To consider the matter further, of course is the person is, by their very nature, obnoxious, uncooperative, unlikeable, etc., then by the time this has reached a point where counselling is essential and everyone has had a gutful of it, then I would suggest that the situation is not recoverable. Too much has happened by that time, too many hurt feelings, too much dislike engendered, to go back.
                                                   
                                                  But of course we can always find the outriders to disprove the hypothesis.
                                                   
                                                  Regards,
                                                  Roy Morien 





                                                  To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                                                  From: ronjeffries@...
                                                  Date: Tue, 9 Sep 2008 01:11:22 -0400
                                                  Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] "Voting off the island" vs. cultural restraint


                                                  Hello, srinivas. On Monday, September 8, 2008, at 9:21:54 PM, you
                                                  wrote:

                                                  > I did consider that. You also said that the assumption Roy made
                                                  > is a very poor one. That is what I didn't understand.

                                                  His assumption, that teams that vote people off the island have done
                                                  due diligence, conflicts with the reality I know. That would be
                                                  pretty much the definition of a poor assumption.

                                                  Ron Jeffries
                                                  www.XProgramming. com
                                                  There is no award for "being XP". There is an award for doing the
                                                  right combination of practices: success.




                                                  Sell your car for just $40 at CarPoint.com.au It's simple!
                                                • Paul Oldfield
                                                  (responding to Roy) ... Hmm... I see a parallel with assuming everyone would be doing agile development because it s clearly a good thing to do. :-) Paul
                                                  Message 24 of 29 , Sep 9, 2008
                                                    (responding to Roy)

                                                    > My 'assumption' was based on what I see as good management
                                                    > / leadership...

                                                    Hmm... I see a parallel with assuming everyone would be
                                                    doing agile development because it's clearly a good thing
                                                    to do. :-)

                                                    Paul Oldfield
                                                    Capgemini
                                                  • Petri Heiramo
                                                    ... Yeah, it is like common sense, not that common at all. What Roy says is what should be done. But counceling and anything else that might incurr expenses
                                                    Message 25 of 29 , Sep 9, 2008
                                                      --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, "Paul Oldfield"
                                                      <PaulOldfield1@...> wrote:
                                                      >
                                                      > (responding to Roy)
                                                      >
                                                      > > My 'assumption' was based on what I see as good management
                                                      > > / leadership...
                                                      >
                                                      > Hmm... I see a parallel with assuming everyone would be
                                                      > doing agile development because it's clearly a good thing
                                                      > to do. :-)

                                                      Yeah, it is like common sense, not that common at all.

                                                      What Roy says is what should be done. But counceling and anything else
                                                      that might incurr expenses (on the part of management) or challenge
                                                      people's actions/feelings/behavior (on the part of those wishing to
                                                      dump someone off) tend to be ignored in most situations. Of course,
                                                      people wishing to dump someone off are probably likely to suggest
                                                      counceling to the one being dumped, but they themselves are above the
                                                      need for any such help. It is just so easy to not see one's own mistakes.


                                                      Petri Heiramo

                                                      Senior Process Improvement Manager, CSP
                                                      Digia Plc., Finland
                                                    • Michael Hamman
                                                      Simon, Comments below... ... I m not sure we can take the team anywhere, although I believe we can do things to inhibit or encourage the unfolding dynamics
                                                      Message 26 of 29 , Sep 9, 2008
                                                        Simon,

                                                        Comments below...

                                                        --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Simon Kirk <scrum@...> wrote:
                                                        >
                                                        > Nice comments Michael, thanks very much.
                                                        >
                                                        > I believe that an empowered and "self-realized" (I'm not 100% sure
                                                        > what that means: I interpret as a team which has built itself, more or
                                                        > less. Is that correct?) team will discover how to deal with under-
                                                        > performing team members themselves.
                                                        >
                                                        > I can also see how a team which is still Norming (using the Forming,
                                                        > Storming, Norming and Performing team formation model) may need the
                                                        > guidance of a coach to take them towards that discovery. I'm
                                                        > interested in how a coach (which in the context of Scrum I see as the
                                                        > Scrum Master - perhaps that's a wrong assumption?) could help the team
                                                        > in this aspect without destroying the delicate Norming process, i.e.
                                                        > undermining the team's self-organisation.
                                                        >
                                                        > I would be afraid that any kind of guidance would risk taking the team
                                                        > back to Storming again. Then again perhaps that's not so bad; perhaps
                                                        > the under-performing team member is an indication that the team norms
                                                        > were off-kilter.
                                                        >
                                                        > Any thoughts?

                                                        I'm not sure we can 'take' the team anywhere, although I believe we
                                                        can do things to inhibit or encourage the unfolding dynamics by which
                                                        a team is constituted (which I suspect is what you meant). So much of
                                                        these things depend on the larger organizational and management
                                                        environment from which the team's formation emerges (for instance, how
                                                        team members are 'selected' onto the team to begin with, and what were
                                                        the criteria for that selection). Regardless, I'd say that its
                                                        definitely better to trust the team to work it out, rather than for
                                                        management (or the Scrum Master) to solve it for them (e.g. remove the
                                                        apparently recalcitrant team member).

                                                        Regarding your question about the Scrum Master's role here: Part of
                                                        the job of a good coach is to know when and how to step in and provide
                                                        the minimum feedback and guidance needed for the team to be able to
                                                        form appropriately to its task. Less is usually more, but sometimes
                                                        not enough. A very good resource for coaches on this matter is Edgar
                                                        Schein's book Process Consultation Revisited, where he describes the
                                                        process of what we are effectively calling 'coaching' and
                                                        distinguishes different coaching (he uses the term 'consulting')
                                                        approaches for different situations.

                                                        BTW, for those who think in terms of Tuckman's model (forming,
                                                        storming, norming, performing), you might want to read the original
                                                        paper on which that model is based. There are subtleties to his model
                                                        that I've found helpful in understanding the developmental process of
                                                        teams. Here's a link to the paper:
                                                        http://dennislearningcenter.osu.edu/references/GROUP%20DEV%20ARTICLE.doc.)

                                                        Michael

                                                        >
                                                        > Cheers,
                                                        > Simon
                                                        >
                                                        >
                                                        > On 7 Sep 2008, at 23:18, Michael Hamman wrote:
                                                        >
                                                        > > By whose description would such an individual be "poorly-performing"?
                                                        > > By what criteria? George points to the situation in which a team
                                                        > > member may be deemed "poor performer" by someone external to the team,
                                                        > > while the team itself finds that person indispensable for reasons that
                                                        > > are difficult to quantify (or perhaps justify to a meddling
                                                        > > management). In these cases, the team must be given the final word,
                                                        > > even if it seems stupid. If, indeed, it turns out to be the case that
                                                        > > the person in question REALLY IS dragging the team down, that will
                                                        > > show up, if (the big if) the environment is working.
                                                        > >
                                                        > > Much of the experience in the study of group dynamics tells us that
                                                        > > oftentimes the "poorly-performing" team member (or any kind of
                                                        > > "scapegoat" more generally) may be manifesting hidden team/group
                                                        > > stress that the team hasn't been able to effectively deal with. These
                                                        > > can sometimes be caused by double-binds which the team is being forced
                                                        > > to accept due to incongruent management (e.g. being forced to honor
                                                        > > externally defined deadlines while being hampered by persistent
                                                        > > impediments). Voting the person in question off the island will, in
                                                        > > such cases, often result in manifestation of new team problems (e.g. a
                                                        > > new member will suddenly become "poorly performing").
                                                        > >
                                                        > > Another issue is the "assignment" of people to already established
                                                        > > teams, without the input of the team. This places the new person in
                                                        > > an unfortunate position, as well as the team, particularly if the team
                                                        > > has already been humming along.
                                                        > >
                                                        > > Such a case as Simon mentions, regarding "politeness" of the team, is
                                                        > > very often an indication of some incongruence in the management or
                                                        > > organizational environment. The presence of such behavior patterns
                                                        > > within the team could be flagged as an organizational impediment,
                                                        > > assuming that the "politeness" is not so inbred so as to forbid open
                                                        > > discussion of such matters.
                                                        > >
                                                        > > In an otherwise healthy environment, an empowered and self-realized
                                                        > > team will, in my experience, discover how to deal with a team member
                                                        > > who it deems as not performing up to par, in ways that are at once
                                                        > > effective and humane. Voting the person off the island would, in such
                                                        > > situations, always be a last resort measure, but not one which a
                                                        > > healthy team would avoid at all costs.
                                                        > >
                                                        > > --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, George Dinwiddie <lists@>
                                                        > > wrote:
                                                        > >>
                                                        > >> Simon Kirk wrote:
                                                        > >>> Hi all.
                                                        > >>>
                                                        > >>> Here's something that's been buzzing around in my mind for a while:
                                                        > >>> how a team's cultural setting and composition can effect their
                                                        > >>> behaviour, specifically with a reference to voting a
                                                        > > poorly-performing
                                                        > >>> member of the team be removed.
                                                        > >>>
                                                        > >>> I would be truly surprised if my team came to me with the decision
                                                        > >>> that they needed to vote off a member. Of course it's a crass
                                                        > >>> generalisation, but the reason I would be surprised is that they
                                                        > > seem
                                                        > >>> "too nice" to do such a thing. "too nice" in the traditionally
                                                        > > British
                                                        > >>> way, if you know what I mean. I wonder if this hurts them, by
                                                        > > stunting
                                                        > >>> their ability to self-optimise.
                                                        > >>
                                                        > >> Or perhaps it strengthens them in that it allows for greater
                                                        > >> diversity
                                                        > >> and less "group-think." Or perhaps they might perceive that a
                                                        > >> "poorly
                                                        > >> performing" team member has other contributions that may be just as
                                                        > >> important as cranking out work products. Indeed, it's not uncommon
                                                        > >> to
                                                        > >> find that the person who seems to be producing the least is a
                                                        > >> catalyst
                                                        > >> for the others. I've heard tales of teams whose productivity dropped
                                                        > >> when someone was removed who didn't seem to be pulling their weight.
                                                        > >>
                                                        > >> - George
                                                        > >>
                                                        > >> --
                                                        > >>
                                                        > >>
                                                        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                        > >> * George Dinwiddie * http://
                                                        > >> blog.gdinwiddie.com
                                                        > >> Software Development http://
                                                        > >> www.idiacomputing.com
                                                        > >> Consultant and Coach http://
                                                        > >> www.agilemaryland.org
                                                        > >>
                                                        > >>
                                                        ----------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                        > >>
                                                        > >
                                                        > >
                                                        > >
                                                        > > ------------------------------------
                                                        > >
                                                        > > To Post a message, send it to: scrumdevelopment@...
                                                        > > To Unsubscribe, send a blank message to:
                                                        scrumdevelopment-unsubscribe@...
                                                        > > ! Groups Links
                                                        > >
                                                        > >
                                                        > >
                                                        >
                                                        > [|]
                                                        >
                                                      • Ron Jeffries
                                                        Hello, Roy. On Tuesday, September 9, 2008, at 3:00:26 AM, you ... What you describe is good management. It is /not/ something that occurs all the time. Do you
                                                        Message 27 of 29 , Sep 9, 2008
                                                          Hello, Roy. On Tuesday, September 9, 2008, at 3:00:26 AM, you
                                                          wrote:

                                                          > My 'assumption' was based on what I see as good management /
                                                          > leadership.

                                                          What you describe is good management. It is /not/ something that
                                                          occurs all the time. Do you see that assuming that teams have good
                                                          management and good leadership is false to fact? Some do. Many do
                                                          not.

                                                          Therefore, /assuming/ that when a team asks to get rid of someone,
                                                          due diligence will have happened is simply not a wise assumption.

                                                          And even if it was usually the case, which in my experience it is
                                                          not, why would we /assume/ rather than find out the facts?

                                                          > If someone needs to be counselled because of some
                                                          > problem in their behaviour, then, to me, the first reaction is not
                                                          > to flip the bozo bit (which I assume means kick him out; or is
                                                          > this another poor assumption?) but to do something to try to
                                                          > retrieve the situation, whatever that is. Perhaps the 'bozo' has
                                                          > some temporary personal problems. Perhaps the bozo just doesn't
                                                          > have the training. All sorts of reasons to try to redeem him or
                                                          > her, and save the investment so far in their selection, training, experience etc.
                                                          > However, if that doesn't succeed, then ... bye bye bozo.

                                                          The first reaction /should/ be as you say. Often it is not. Not
                                                          everyone is as wise as you or under the guidance of someone as wise
                                                          as you. Look around you at the world. If everyone had a clue, would
                                                          it be this screwy?

                                                          > So, I am a little puzzled as to why my previous assumption was the
                                                          > 'worst conceivable'. I have actually seen worse, myself :)

                                                          Well, the context was "a team has asked to vote someone off the
                                                          island." You seemed to be saying that you would assume that all
                                                          desirable counseling and other work had been done prior to that
                                                          time. You didn't say hope; you didn't say "I would check to be sure
                                                          that"; you said you would assume.

                                                          I'd be interested to hear an assumption in this context that would
                                                          be worse. Now that I think of it, though, anything with assumption
                                                          as the key notion seems to me to be pretty risky. Seems to me, one
                                                          should check.

                                                          Ron Jeffries
                                                          www.XProgramming.com
                                                          Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing
                                                          your temper or your self-confidence. --Robert Frost
                                                        • Roy Morien
                                                          oh, my naivety, innocence and belief in the essential goodness of Man (not to mention also of Woman) is part of my attraction. But then, Paul, the original
                                                          Message 28 of 29 , Sep 9, 2008
                                                            oh, my naivety, innocence and belief in the essential goodness of Man (not to mention also of Woman) is part of my attraction.
                                                             
                                                            But then, Paul, the original discussion came from someone who is doing agile development, so perhaps my assumption was not so naive, given that context :)
                                                             
                                                            Personally I like to see myself as a reasonably hard nosed leader - ever willing to try to see the best in people - as a starting position. But, also willing to use the axe if my attempts at gaining cooperation, involvement, participation etc. fail.  This is, of course, based on the assumption that it is not me who is the problem :)
                                                             
                                                            Regards,
                                                            Roy Morien






                                                            To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
                                                            From: PaulOldfield1@...
                                                            Date: Tue, 9 Sep 2008 07:30:31 +0000
                                                            Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Re: "Voting off the island" vs. cultural restraint


                                                            (responding to Roy)

                                                            > My 'assumption' was based on what I see as good management
                                                            > / leadership.. .

                                                            Hmm... I see a parallel with assuming everyone would be
                                                            doing agile development because it's clearly a good thing
                                                            to do. :-)

                                                            Paul Oldfield
                                                            Capgemini




                                                            Find out: SEEK Salary Centre Are you paid what you're worth?
                                                          • Paul Oldfield
                                                            (responding to Roy) ... Ah! Clearly anyone smart enough to have chosen agile development will be clued up on absolutely everything! Yes, I m sorry I questioned
                                                            Message 29 of 29 , Sep 10, 2008
                                                              (responding to Roy)

                                                              > ... But then, Paul, the original discussion came from
                                                              > someone who is doing agile development, so perhaps my
                                                              > assumption was not so naive, given that context :)

                                                              Ah! Clearly anyone smart enough to have chosen agile
                                                              development will be clued up on absolutely everything!
                                                              Yes, I'm sorry I questioned your reasoning :)

                                                              Paul Oldfield
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