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RE: [scrumdevelopment] Yahoo bans working from home. Command and control, or reasonable constraint?

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  • Jean Richardson
    Michael, you re a braver man than I am-plopping that link into this group. I saw the story last weekend and thought about posting it but decided that life is
    Message 1 of 13 , Feb 27, 2013
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      Michael, you’re a braver man than I am—plopping that link into this group.  I saw the story last weekend and thought about posting it but decided that life is too short as it is.

       

      The whole telecommuting issue has been a hot one since well before agile teams became as prevalent as they are today.  Leading a distributed team takes different skills than leading a co-located team.  And, certainly, face-to-face is better than email—which begs the question of why this mailing list is not a Google Hangout, for instance.

       

      I’ve coached co-located and highly distributed teams.  They can be more or less effective depending on the team, their skills and discipline, and the technical infrastructure that supports them. 

       

      One client I spent all last summer with working with four virtual teams had such a shaky infrastructure that conference calls *routinely* went down every day.  Video calls were not even an option.  Sometimes whole sections of the network went down and whole teams would blacked out.  You can bet that caused a plethora of problems—especially on Planning Day.  The same set of four teams needed to come together to do a reset at the beginning of the engagement in order to build trust; many of them had never met each other.  People need to be able to see each other at least once to do some smelling and touching and relationship building.  (Okay, I’m being metaphorical about the smelling and touching part.)

       

      When things aren’t going well, we particularly need to see each other’s faces—at least in a video call.  But if we have already built a relationship that can stand the storms that occur during a sprint, then face-to-face is maybe not so important as long as we also have good virtual teaming skills.

       

      Remember that Benjamin Franklin was pretty darn effective in support of the revolution through letter writing, and Madison and Jefferson did pretty well in building the foundation we now elaborate on, as well.  Important work can be done when we are not face-to-face, but it does take other skills than we employ when we are face-to-face, and we do have to have a reliable infrastructure to support the process.

       

      Whether Yahoo’s VP of HR is making a command and control move, well, it DOES sound like a reasonable constraint to me in a struggling organization as long as it is appropriately nuanced.  I was amused to read in one article that there are some Yahooligans, or whatever they call themselves, working at home and getting paid that no one knows about.   Sounds to me like they have other problems at least as big as lack of face-to-face communication on teams.

       

      --- Jean

       

      From: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com [mailto:scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Charles Bradley - Professional Scrum Trainer and Coach
      Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 8:15 AM
      To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Yahoo bans working from home. Command and control, or reasonable constraint?

       

       

      Really, Agile is about supporting employees with nurseries and other child care benefits?

       

      I'm sorry, but that's a very far stretch IMO.  I don't think that is what the AM authors had in mind.  Is Agile a "nanny state" organization all of the sudden?

       

      -------
      Charles Bradley
      Scrum Coach-in-Chief
      ScrumCrazy.com

       

       


      From: Alex Chastinet <alexchastinet@...>
      To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
      Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 9:00 AM
      Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Yahoo bans working from home. Command and control, or reasonable constraint?

       

       

      Charles,

       

      Marisa has broken at least one principle of Agile Manifesto:

       

      "Build projects around motivated individuals. 
      Give them the environment and support they need, 
      and trust them to get the job done."

       

      She is not supporting the need of employees that gave birth, only hers.

       

       

       

       

       

       

    • Michael James
      ... Was Ken mistaken when he wrote The team is utterly self managing? My experience on a small self managing (and collocated) team is that there is no place
      Message 2 of 13 , Feb 27, 2013
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        Charles, you may be right about Marissa Mayer's decision at Yahoo, but I'm not following this:

        > Agile Teams are not self managing, they are self organizing.

        Was Ken mistaken when he wrote "The team is utterly self managing?"

        My experience on a small self managing (and collocated) team is that there is no place to hide out. If effective team self management were occurring at Yahoo, the (alleged) abuses would be pretty obvious to others on the teams.

        --mj
        (Michael)
      • Charles Bradley - Professional Scrum Trai
        MJ, I know you re not asking me to speak for Ken Schwaber or to try to explain why he said some random quote.  ;-)   I was speaking of Agile, not necessarily
        Message 3 of 13 , Feb 27, 2013
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          MJ,

          I know you're not asking me to speak for Ken Schwaber or to try to explain why he said some random quote.  ;-)
           
          I was speaking of Agile, not necessarily Scrum, but while we're on that topic...

          Ken is heavily involved in our Scrum.org courses(that I teach, as a PST), and in one of our courses we make the point (paraphrasing) that Scrum teams are always self organizing and rarely self managing.  (I'm not speaking for Ken or Scrum.org, obviously -- just myself)

          -------
          Charles Bradley
          Scrum Coach-in-Chief
          ScrumCrazy.com




          From: Michael James <mj4scrum@...>
          To: scrumdevelopment@yahoogroups.com
          Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2013 1:28 PM
          Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Yahoo bans working from home. Command and control, or reasonable constraint?

          Charles, you may be right about Marissa Mayer's decision at Yahoo, but I'm not following this:

          > Agile Teams are not self managing, they are self organizing. 

          Was Ken mistaken when he wrote "The team is utterly self managing?"

          My experience on a small self managing (and collocated) team is that there is no place to hide out.  If effective team self management were occurring at Yahoo, the (alleged) abuses would be pretty obvious to others on the teams.

          --mj
          (Michael)

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        • banshee858
          ... I d be careful going in this direction. IMO, it comes off as sexist, but that is me. Also, we do not know, but perhaps one of the commitments she has
          Message 4 of 13 , Feb 28, 2013
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            >
            > Marisa has broken at least one principle of Agile Manifesto:
            >
            > *"Build projects around motivated individuals.
            > Give them the environment and support they need,
            > and trust them to get the job done."*
            >
            > She is not supporting the need of employees that gave birth, only hers.
            >
            I'd be careful going in this direction. IMO, it comes off as sexist, but that is me. Also, we do not know, but perhaps one of the commitments she has made is to provide world-class daycare and nursery facilities at Yahoo? If she did that, that would show she was serious about making the Yahoo! the best place to work at.

            Carlton
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