I’ve just finished the Agile CultureCon in Philadelphia and am on the train to the event in Boston, September 14. I find it rather amazing and very hopeful that the banner for healthy and effective organizations is being taken up by the Agile software development community.
I’ve been fighting this fight for over 20 years. We’ve been telling companies that a respected, empowered workforce is more effective, reduces costs, produces better products and services, but only a few have paid attention.
Strategically, speed and innovation require a culture that is open, honest, willing to learn and very, very committed. With all the positives you have to wonder why it has been such a hard sell.
Agile has actually addressed one of those underlying reasons, self-deception, but they don’t call it that and the processes they have created help bring the whole person into the room – and at the same time, leave their baggage behind. By taking personal accountability and by bringing their whole self to the task – that mind, body and emotions, reality has a chance.
Everyone wants to do good work. Those who don’t actually talk themselves out of it through rationalizations and stories that justify doing less. Using a process called ‘check in’ that bares a resemblance to one used in dialogue, participants own their emotional space. By claiming one of four ‘legal’ emotions; mad, sad, glad and anger, an accountability and clarity becomes a normal art of team experience.
As any teacher knows, what one person is feeling or wondering about will also be true for several others in the group. By being open damaging feelings and beliefs are brought to light and resolved instead of becoming hidden shoals that wreak unsuspecting projects.
We often seek to improve our companies, our teams, our cultures, but rarely do we start with ourselves. We point to the leaders and say that they must change, and we are right, but if we stop there we should not be surprised if the ‘change’ fails.
If you wish to explore this further here are some resources: Software for Your Head, Culture Games, and The Cathedral and the Bazaar (Thanks Venessa Miemis)