The term self-management has become popular recently, often replacing self-organization as the default term for describing agile teams. I don’t like it, and I don’t believe it carries the same meaning—at all.
There are lots of frameworks and suggestions these days for how to scale Agile to the enterprise. They all miss the point, because the proponents of these methods use the wrong definition for scaling. I have a perfect method for scaling Agile. To describe it I’ll use a fish metaphor. A fishmonger scales fish in just the same way we should be scaling Agile. I actually call this method Scaling and Filleting Agile, or SaFA for short (pronounced “safer”).
I don’t like feedback. I’ve never liked feedback. Not liking feedback has been problematic as people take it to mean that I don’t want to learn and grow. This mindset is so prevalent that I began to believe it myself. What’s wrong with me, I wondered, that I can’t hear critical feedback? Am I so arrogant as to believe I have nothing to learn from others? Intuitively, I know this isn’t true, and yet I balk every time someone offers me feedback. I’ve come to realize that my desire to learn through listening and reflection is misaligned with the primary technique we have to drive that learning. Feedback fails us.
"Let’s organize this thing and take all the fun out of it" — Ashleigh Brilliant
I’m aware that some folk think I like to dismiss project/program managers as unnecessary overhead in organizations, so I’ll start by saying I know some wonderful people who work under these titles. This post is not about people, it is about roles. I strongly believe the PM/PgM role is a cop out. It is an excuse for poor collaboration, and a necessary role only as long as developers and customers refuse to talk to one another in healthy, collaborative ways.*
My upcoming talk at Scrum Day San Diego—
Scrum is a paradigm-shifting ideology. Trouble is, most leaders and managers don’t want to be shifted. They’d rather have their existing beliefs endorsed, and so they look to Scrum as a methodology to put a better face on existing ways of working. They look to Scrum consultants the same way they may look to beauticians or plastic surgeons.
A few years ago I wrote
The longer I teach and coach scrum, the more I become convinced that the physical workflow board is the heart of scrum. Without the workflow board, a team has no center, no focus, no hub.
More recent experience has shown me that this heart has no beat.
[Originally published on ThePeoplesForum 8/5/13]
The previous post Scrum: a 5-step guide for managers was (quite rightly) criticized for not describing Scrum. It was never intended to. In the text I describe the five steps as being for “managers and executives for starting a new Scrum process”. The title was intended to challenge, to have people ask, so what is Scrum?
I’m invariably surprised how often I get contacted by project management organizations, who want to guest post on my blog, or engage me in some other way to help promote their tools and techniques. Even after twenty years of Scrum in our industry, where the project manager role is noticeably missing, there is somehow a perception that a scrum master and a project manager are the same role. Or that there is still a place for project managers in an agile process. There isn’t. Here, verbatim, is a recent exchange with a tool vendor. Names have been changed to protect the misguided:
I haven’t written much on this blog recently. In those rare spare hours between my full-time job, working on my second book, contributing to my local community, building a studio extension to our tiny house, and raising our wonderful baby (now nine months old) I’ve been building AgileLib.Net as a community platform for sharing agile resources with your fellow travelers.