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RE: [scrumdevelopment] Agile Career path

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  • Roy Morien
    This has been a problem in IT since the beginning of (IT) time. The competent programmer is promoted to be an analyst, an may be a not very competent
    Message 1 of 11 , Nov 23, 2009
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    This has been a problem in IT since the beginning of (IT) time. The competent programmer is 'promoted' to be an analyst, an may be a not very competent analyst. The competent analyst is 'promoted' to be the usually incompetent manager. Peter's Principle applies well here ... "People are promoted to their level of incompetence, at which point they cannot be promoted further".
     
    Some IT companies, such as DEC, recognised thios problem and made career paths for programmers in parallel with career paths for managers etc.
     
    But, the IT world is different now ... old competencies are no longer relevant frequently ... career 'paths' have changed ... do we have many 'pure' programmers now? Certainly in agile methods the 'roles' seem to have merged somewhat to be 'developers' in a multi-skille team. Being a wunderkind FORTRAN programmer no longer seems to have the attraction that it might have had 25 years ago.
     
    Just out of interest, I have attached a conference paper that I wrote 17 years ago. Maybe you will find it interesting. I would be happy to receive any comments on its relevance today, and if the situation has changed radically or at all since 1994. I am thinking of republishing the paper with a 2009 update.
     
    Regards,
    Roy Morien
     

    To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
    From: amanda@...
    Date: Mon, 23 Nov 2009 11:27:24 -0800
    Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Agile Career path

     
    Because some career paths you picked when you were 20 turn out to be dead ends a few years later due to changing market conditions. Be the mammal, not the dinosaur.

    Just saying.

    On Mon, Nov 23, 2009 at 11:15 AM, Adam Sroka <adam.sroka@gmail. com> wrote:
    < rant >

    Why do people insist that "career advancement" involves changing
    roles? If you like what you are doing keep doing it and get better at
    it. If you don't like what you are doing do something else. DO NOT
    take people who are good at something and force them to do something
    else so that they can make more money. Unless it is actually your goal
    to build a culture of incompetence (Which appears to be the case at
    most corporations. )

    < / rant >





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  • Aleksey Dmitriyev
    What if we reverse your question and ask why the corporations insist on having different roles and even a hierarchy? What should an ideal or even utopian
    Message 2 of 11 , Nov 24, 2009
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      What if we reverse your question and ask why the corporations insist on having different roles and even a hierarchy? What should an ideal or even utopian organization look like? Practically, even the most agile companies like Rally software have roles, and even a hierarchy.

      --Aleksey

      --- In scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com, Adam Sroka <adam.sroka@...> wrote:
      >
      > < rant >
      >
      > Why do people insist that "career advancement" involves changing
      > roles? If you like what you are doing keep doing it and get better at
      > it. If you don't like what you are doing do something else. DO NOT
      > take people who are good at something and force them to do something
      > else so that they can make more money. Unless it is actually your goal
      > to build a culture of incompetence (Which appears to be the case at
      > most corporations.)
      >
      > < / rant >
      >
      > Good scrummasters should be good scrummasters. If their team doesn't
      > need them I know some teams that do. Bad scrummasters who don't want
      > to be good scrummasters should do something else... not months/years
      > from now, now. Same goes for POs, programmers, visual designers,
      > pilots, doctors, janitors...
      >
      > The only exception is that some doers become good teachers (Some
      > don't). Teaching/mentoring is a worthy thing to "switch" to with a
      > couple caveats:
      >
      > 1) Don't become a teacher/mentor/coach until you have achieved basic
      > competence yourself (If you think you have ask around to make sure.)
      > 2) Good teachers/mentors/coaches continue to improve and keep up with
      > the state of the art by also doing - on their own time if necessary.
      >
      > On Mon, Nov 23, 2009 at 11:45 AM, Aleksey Dmitriyev <alexeyd@...> wrote:
      > >
      > >
      > >
      > > I apologize if this topic has been discussed before. I cannot find exactly what I am looking for. I am looking for Agile career path examples in a corporation. I am NOT asking
      > > about certification CSM -> Practitioner -> Guru. Instead, I would like to know
      > > what would be next step for a Scrum Master, or Product owner, or anyone else in
      > > Scrum. I have asked the same questions in a local PHXSUG group and got several opinions:
      > > 1) Scrum Master should help the team to be completely self-organized, so she is not needed, and can become a team member again.
      > > 2) Some companies introduce Sr. Scrum Master role, but it's not clear what exactly it entails, and how it's different from Scrum Master
      > > 3) Some companies that have multiple teams and locations promote one of the Scrum masters to be a coach for other scrum teams at each location.
      > >
      > > I am looking for other example, perhaps from big companies with traditional HR mindset.
      > >
      > >
      >
    • Peter Stevens (calendar)
      Hi Aleksey, A hierarchy is not the most effective organizational form, just the easiest to establish and maintain. We see forms of it in among animals. It s
      Message 3 of 11 , Nov 26, 2009
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        Hi Aleksey,

        A hierarchy is not the most effective organizational form, just the easiest to establish and maintain.  We see forms of it in among animals. It's been with humans for thousands of years. Think of the hierarchy of Armies, Nobility or modern corporations. Think dynamic stability. A hierarchy is a dynamically stable organizational form.

        Agile can/should be higher performance, but is not dynamically stable. It needs active feedback, drive, vision and energy from the people driving the company to remain active and viable. Think spinning plates on stick. They'll stay up there, as long as someone keeps the plates rotating.

        A side effect of heirachy is the concept of climbing the ladder. Agile does not define a hierarchal structure, so there is no career path.

        An example of agile company, is Guidewire, the supplier of standard software for the insurance industry. They did Scrum from word go. Only the 5 Product Owners were stable. Every other role could rotate, and did every sprint. Interesting side effect: the people who worked there loved the place, and never left.

        Cheers,

        Peter



        On 24.11.09 17:02, Aleksey Dmitriyev wrote:
         

        What if we reverse your question and ask why the corporations insist on having different roles and even a hierarchy? What should an ideal or even utopian organization look like? Practically, even the most agile companies like Rally software have roles, and even a hierarchy.

        --Aleksey

        -



        -- 
        Peter Stevens, CSM, CSPO, CSP
        www.scrum-breakfast.com
        tel: +41 44 586 6450 
        
      • Ted Young
        I d like to correct Peter s out-of-date information. Guidewire may have been Scrum-like but as of Feb. 2007 when I joined, they were not Scrum, nor were they
        Message 4 of 11 , Nov 26, 2009
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          I'd like to correct Peter's out-of-date information. Guidewire may have been "Scrum-like" but as of Feb. 2007 when I joined, they were not Scrum, nor were they doing Scrum. They were doing some of the practices, but it was not Scrum. Also, as to be expected, Guidewire has had people leave (including very early employees), mainly because they've been doing it for many years and wanted a change.

          It is very true that titles are not at all important to the folks that work at Guidewire -- there's no "ladder" to climb, just more challenging work and responsibility, if that's what you want.

          ;ted
          --
          Dev Mgr and Agile Coach
          BillingCenter Team, Guidewire Software

          On Thu, Nov 26, 2009 at 10:30 AM, Peter Stevens (calendar) <peterstev@...> wrote:


          Hi Aleksey,

          A hierarchy is not the most effective organizational form, just the easiest to establish and maintain.  We see forms of it in among animals. It's been with humans for thousands of years. Think of the hierarchy of Armies, Nobility or modern corporations. Think dynamic stability. A hierarchy is a dynamically stable organizational form.

          Agile can/should be higher performance, but is not dynamically stable. It needs active feedback, drive, vision and energy from the people driving the company to remain active and viable. Think spinning plates on stick. They'll stay up there, as long as someone keeps the plates rotating.

          A side effect of heirachy is the concept of climbing the ladder. Agile does not define a hierarchal structure, so there is no career path.

          An example of agile company, is Guidewire, the supplier of standard software for the insurance industry. They did Scrum from word go. Only the 5 Product Owners were stable. Every other role could rotate, and did every sprint. Interesting side effect: the people who worked there loved the place, and never left.

          Cheers,

          Peter




          On 24.11.09 17:02, Aleksey Dmitriyev wrote:
           

          What if we reverse your question and ask why the corporations insist on having different roles and even a hierarchy? What should an ideal or even utopian organization look like? Practically, even the most agile companies like Rally software have roles, and even a hierarchy.

          --Aleksey

          -



          -- 
          Peter Stevens, CSM, CSPO, CSP
          www.scrum-breakfast.com
          tel: +41 44 586 6450 
          



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