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Agile, the Adult Educator and Ethical Considerations

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  • Mishkin Berteig
    A new regular contributor to the Agile Advice blog has written an excellent article regarding the learning organization that I think everyone who is coaching
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 11, 2005
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      A new regular contributor to the Agile Advice blog has written an
      excellent article regarding the "learning organization" that I think
      everyone who is coaching or facilitating agile should read:

      http://www.agileadvice.com/archives/2005/10/agile_the_adult.html

      Basic summary: the current learning organization model has severe limits
      that may prevent agile from being fully and appropriately adopted and
      looking at this model from the perspective of adult education may
      suggest ways to improve agile adoption and success, while at the same
      time changing the definition of success.

      Given some of my recent experiences coaching, I find this particularly
      apropos. Many coaching and facilitating opportunities are foiled by a
      over-zealous focus on the bottom line. I recently was given the book
      "The Answer to How is Yes: Acting On What Matters" by Peter Block. In
      the book Block encourages the asking of the question "why?" and
      attempting to come up with deep answers. This is what agile ultimately
      encourages and what organizational learning tends to ignore due conflict
      of interest between shareholders/owners and employees.

      Warning: requires _thought_ ... and I may not be getting it right! :-)

      Mishkin Berteig
      mishkin@...
      http://www.agileadvice.com/
    • Jeff Sutherland
      The learning organization critique mentioned below is focused on a conflict of interest between shareholders and developers. Shareholders may use developers as
      Message 2 of 2 , Oct 11, 2005
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        The learning organization critique mentioned below is focused on a
        conflict of interest between shareholders and developers. Shareholders
        may use developers as a tool for profit. I think the critique is
        flawed in several aspects. Ignoring the fact that developers are only
        there to generate a product for profit and in the best companies they
        are also shareholders, I think Scrum has some built in mechanisms that
        counterbalance this apparent conflict of interest.

        The original design for Scrum was to create a team environment that
        improved the quality of life for developers and led to excellence in
        the form of winning teams. In the most successful cases, the teams
        generated more product and value than the organization and customers
        could absorb, putting developers into a leading/driving position in
        the corporation, rather than the traditional whipping post role.

        In return for superlative performance, the deal with management is
        that they must back off and change their style into a facilitative,
        coaching, leadership style which further improves the quality of life
        for the team. And they must allow the team to self manage and self
        organize.

        This fundamental dynamic, which the critique author does not fully
        understand, is that management must change it's style or the teams
        will not self-organize. It is impossible to get the business benefit
        without doing the right thing. As the Japanese fully understand and
        Toyota continually articulates, team performance is based on trust,
        love, and commitment to making the world a better place. Lack of these
        fundamentals undermines team performance and results in a second rate
        company.

        The special sauce of Scrum is this inherent necessity for all parties
        to give in order to get, and the continuous self-improvement process
        that throws up impediments in the face of management and shareholders.
        If shareholders or management insist on hierarchical behavior, they
        automatically disrupt self-organization and kill the golden goose. In
        today's world this results in quickly becoming the walking dead on the
        way to road kill. Even outsourcing can't save them.

        Jeff Sutherland

        On 10/11/05, Mishkin Berteig <mishkin@...> wrote:
        > A new regular contributor to the Agile Advice blog has written an
        > excellent article regarding the "learning organization" that I think
        > everyone who is coaching or facilitating agile should read:
        >
        > http://www.agileadvice.com/archives/2005/10/agile_the_adult.html
        >
        > Basic summary: the current learning organization model has severe limits
        > that may prevent agile from being fully and appropriately adopted and
        > looking at this model from the perspective of adult education may
        > suggest ways to improve agile adoption and success, while at the same
        > time changing the definition of success.
        >
        > Given some of my recent experiences coaching, I find this particularly
        > apropos. Many coaching and facilitating opportunities are foiled by a
        > over-zealous focus on the bottom line. I recently was given the book
        > "The Answer to How is Yes: Acting On What Matters" by Peter Block. In
        > the book Block encourages the asking of the question "why?" and
        > attempting to come up with deep answers. This is what agile ultimately
        > encourages and what organizational learning tends to ignore due conflict
        > of interest between shareholders/owners and employees.
        >
        > Warning: requires _thought_ ... and I may not be getting it right! :-)
        >
        > Mishkin Berteig
        > mishkin@...
        > http://www.agileadvice.com/
        >
        >
        >
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        >
        >
        >


        --
        Jeff Sutherland, Ph.D.
        Chief Technology Officer
        PatientKeeper Inc.
        20 Guest Street, Suite 500
        Brighton, MA 02135

        Certified ScrumMaster Training and Inventor of the Agile Scrum Process
        Microsoft Business Framework Advisory Council
        Object Management Group/HL7 Liaison Committee
        Co-Chair, HL7 Orders and Observations Technical Committee
        Co-Investigator, Operating Room of the Future, Univ. of Maryland Medical System
        (508) 644-8298
        jeff.sutherland@...
        ___________________________________
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