Thesis: Asking basic questions is often a valuable way to get insightful answers. However, if I ask questions about basic things, people often conclude that I don't understand basic things. If people assume I am a novice because I ask basic questions, I will not be considered and trusted for advanced work.
This effect is pervasive and appears to be part of human nature for a long time, as evidenced by the proverb in the picture. (Picture credit biblepic.com)
If you want to experience the anit-question effect yourself, ask a team to define the term "defect." After you get past the eyerolls and puzzled looks, an interesting discussion of clarification will ensue. So much confusion about what this term means exists in almost any team. Yet, we don't talk about it because, well, everybody knows what a defect is, right?
Teams without work agreements, requirements that are missing acceptance criteria and strategic misalignment in the organization are other evidence things we don't ask about because we are supposed to already know the answers.
A way to find new paths to value and solutions is to ask a broader or more general question. For example: Instead of asking how a user would do something we can ask why a user wants to do that thing. Broader and more general questions often are also more basic and simple.
Questions are doors to learning and growing. We need to build a learning organizations.
"The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else." -- Eric Ries
We cannot create learning unless the stigma associated with asking questions is removed and reversed.
How do you become Agile, with short iterations, continuous delivery, emergent solutions and value seeking efforts if questions are held as a sign of weakness?
Specialization is important, and we need some people to take those deep dives. If you want to be someone who's a machine learning expert, great. That's useful to a new emerging segment of the population. But at the same time, you'll still need a larger picture of what's going on to communicate with other people in the team. We all need overlap in the Ven diagram of our skills to talk to one another, and understand each other. If you're narrowly defined, you're an island.
What are some ways that you help your organization shift thinking so that we don't commit to the end state while we still know very little about what we need?
They are in the lower floor of that three story house(?). Had a few indoor seats and a nice back patio.
Here is my presentation from the 2016 Global Scrum Gathering in Orlando and the new Personal Agility Canvas. Thanks to everyone who showed up for the session. Presentation Canvas
Great post by Ron Jeffries on the damage metrics of the wrong sort can do to your efforts toward Agile working. He also points out the sad state of metric use in general.
What metrics are you using? Are they useful to you? How do you decide when to stop using a metric?
It's one of those things where I think the person putting it together meant well, and the rest of us took a bit of a cheap shot at them.
Having said that, you can't let something like that stand. Otherwise you'll just continue the insanity of people having pointless meetings, confusing little graphs with actual team execution. It's an indication of a really bad trend, and we need to continue addressing it.
There is rampant misunderstanding of the role of a ScrumMaster. Even among certified and experienced ScrumMasters, the role is not well understood.
There are reasons for this misunderstanding. Companies expect ScrumMasters to be another flavor of Project Manager, tracking stats and reporting things. The newly minted ScrumMasters go through a class all about the framework, ceremonies, flow and so on. People expect processes to improve us. There is often little emphasis on the people side of things, where it should be. (That value that says "Individuals and interactions over processes and tools" applies to Scrum as a tool.)
If I may quote myself: Agile is about leveraging human capability as strengths instead of compensating for human capability as weaknesses. Scrum is about people. The work of the ScrumMaster is about improving people. Improving people is hard, subtle and complex work.
These questions are not intended to be addressed solely by the ScrumMaster. They are questions that can help the ScrumMaster see work to be done. Most of the time the ScrumMaster will need help or will be the guide, not the one doing the work.
I don't drink alcoholic beverages but often find myself in pubs or other places and events where such are served. Since I like the flavor of ginger, my go-to beverage at such affairs is ginger beer. Like root beer, it is non-alcoholic. Unlike root beer, it usually has a memorable zing of spiciness that I like.
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- Arizona State University
- BigVisible SolutionsAgile Coach, present
- Dayley Agile, LLCPrincipal Agile Coach, 2010 - 2012
- Smart Storage SystemsSenior Customer Engineer, 2009 - 2012
- Adtron CorporationStaff Software Engineer, 2000 - 2009
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