I might be the first one to complain about bad managers. Heck, throughout my career, I’ve had more than my share of incompetent, self-centered, and poor-intentioned leaders. So, it would be easy for me to jump on the bandwagon in the agile community that lambastes managers on a daily basis.
No, you say. This doesn’t happen. We in the agile world embrace and respect all roles and all people.
Well here’s an example from the Larman & Bodde – Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS) book. The reference is from Anton Zotin, an agile coach, and it was published on LinkedIn. And no, I’m not picking on Anton or the LeSS guys. I’m just using this as an example. There are countless others.
Giving feedback is one of the things I like most about agile methods. There’s this thing about it though. It’s not that easy to give effective feedback. Lately, I’ve been hearing agile team members start their feedback with the following statements:
- I don’t want to rain on your parade, but...
- I don’t mean to be negative, but...
- I don’t mean to criticize, but...
- I don’t mean for you to take this the wrong way, but...
And then there’s the Ricky Bobby quote from the movie Talladega Nights regarding – “With all due respect…”
I was working with a colleague the other day and we were talking about speakers for a possible local agile conference.
I brought up a few people that I respected in the national agile community and, almost to a person, they discounted them as being “the same old…same old” presenters. From their perspective, they were looking for more:
- Fresh meat or new blood
- Novel or breakthrough ideas
- Something “different”
- Out of the Box thinkers
- More modern and energetic
And I think I understood the point. We can certainly get repetitious in our industry. Following the same old pundits with the same old messages. But at the same time, something bothered me and for quite awhile…and I couldn’t put my finger on it.