Two Steps Forward
I’m old enough that I spend some time looking back at a distant and immutable past. Forget the sundry poor personal decisions I’ve made; no one could get older without accumulating a sack of those. I wonder more about the large amounts of time I spent doing things at work that didn’t work.
Why would I do that? I was getting paid, after all, and I was reputed to be smarter than the average bear. But more often than not, I found myself falling into one (or both) of two traps:
- Doing what I was told to do
- Thinking I couldn’t do what I knew was right
Wait, you’re saying – that’s what you’re supposed to do at work. So I used to think, and who could blame me? We get taught the first from birth, and learn the second sometime before entering the working world, or soon after.
But now that I’ve spent nearly a decade immersed in agile, I realize that there’s no way that I can do a good job for my employer or client unless I ignore my upbringing. And that’s a problem since I can’t always do that, and I’m sure I’m not alone.
No matter what role you’re playing in an agile process, you need to do at least two things:
- Listen to what others are saying.
- Decide, along with your teammates, what’s the right thing to do.
It doesn’t hurt a bit to work for people who can deal with, or even welcome this kind of behavior.
As luck would have it, agile methods depend on this kind of behavior and others like it.
But this kind of behavior requires large amounts of something that not all of us, and perhaps for the reasons noted above, bring to work with us every day.
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