I came upon a wonderful post entitled The Illusion of Managing People at Nucleus Insights. You can find it here: http://nucleusinsights.com/blog/?p=224
The focus of the article was away from “managing” and more towards “leading, inspiring, and focusing”.
There were three key points made:
- Nurture the culture, can the controls;
- Paint the big picture, skip the little instructions;
- Always ask, never tell.
They wrapped up the article with the following quote:
I was in a Backlog Refinement meeting the other day and you would have thought I was in divorce court where the parties were negotiating (fighting for) everything.
Each time the team asked clarifying questions around a user story, the Product Owner would begrudgingly answer. It felt like they thought they were wasting time trying to explore the story.
It was clear that what he really wanted was…an estimate.
So the team felt the pressure and stopped asking question. Instead they went immediately into Planning Poker for each story. And as you might expect, the estimates were sort of…all over the place.