Archive for July, 2010

Driving for Self, Driving for Other

Agile & Lean, Coping and Communicating, Musings | Posted by Doc
Jul 18 2010

I spent the past weekend with my brother. We drove from Melbourne down to Aireys Inlet along the Great Ocean Road. The scenery is spectacular.

While driving, I began to notice some of my brother’s patterns, and it got me thinking about my own patterns.

I think there are two main categories of drivers: those who become one with the vehicle, and those for whom the vehicle is a mechanical conveyance that they manipulate. In either case, we generally drive for ourselves. That is, we react in advance, based on what we see and what we expect to do.

Unfortunately, as I experienced with my brother, this means that while the driver’s body is already moving into what’s happening, the passengers are caught by surprise and may feel bumped, bounced, and thrown around.

I think of myself as one of the people in the first category – the vehicle is an extension of my body, and so I move the vehicle almost unconsciously, and my core body is rarely taken by surprise. My wife and children and friends, on the other hand, may find themselves tossed about from time to time.

This got me thinking about Agile adoption. Those of us who feel that we really know Agile are the first kind of driver – we move unconsciously based on what we know or expect to happen next. This is just fine when we’re working on/with teams that already understand and practice Agile.

But what about when we’re working with teams that are new to Agile? Are we moving so unconsciously that they’re being emotionally tossed about? Are they finding themselves caught by surprise, confused, or frustrated because we’re jinking left when they expected us to go right?

The challenge for me is to figure out how to get the “passengers” in sync with the changes so that we reduce the frequency and amplitude of the surprises to the point where they’re no longer surprised.

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