Does the team(s) in your Scrum or Agile implementation or look like this?
Ok so ignore the first major alarm bell of the ‘Agile Project Manager, that’s a whole other blog. Read the titles again, have you hired for or do you have these positions for your agile implementation? Hang on though it isn’t working, we’ve recruited these guys and they’re all ‘agile’, so why is our Scrum so dysfunctional? Odd isn’t it. Why aren’t we going faster? Why are we plagued with bugs? Well lets do a little experiment with sort of improper fractions.
Lets, for the sake of it, do this.
Ok, so here we have the different job titles as the numerator, and the ‘agile’ part as the denominator. Don’t worry if it’s not exact maths, it’s a metaphor*. So the next step here for me would be simplifying the improper fractions here. So…
Erm, ok.. by cancelling out the Agile part of all those job titles, it’s actually clear to see that the job titles are from ‘back in the day‘ when ‘all this were
What does this mean? Well those roles are traditionally very silo-ed (they’re Nukes, not c***s). Developers develop, Testers test, Analysts analyse and guess what, Project Managers manage. Doesn’t quite look so Scrum or Agile now does it.
Here are a few questions to ask yourself.
- Are they still building software and communicating in the way they always did? especially contractually?
- Is the Scrum Master really an Agile Project Manager who is in fact in control?
- Is the testing still happening after the development?
- Are the testers and developers still disagreeing (politely put) over the analysis?
- Do the developers think that testing isn’t something they do?
- Does adding ”Agile’ to your job title or project somehow magically make that individual or the organisation more agile?
If you’ve answered YES to any of those.. you’re Agile implementation is broken. Now don’t get defensive, man up and face the facts that really, you’re only paying lip service to the terminology of agile and not actually investing in the substance, and it’s possibly because of the mental model of the roles above. Once you can own up to it, once you do you have a chance to change it and get your agile implementation back on the rails.
Here’s the thing with agile, it’s like a mirror. No one ever blames the mirror for their own ugliness.
Here’s a little thing I do with my teams to try to address the problems of ‘job title’.
- Get the team to individually write down the job title by which the describe themselves using their own mental mode.
- Get them to tear that paper up and shred it.
- Ask them to write a new mental model determined by the team as a whole.
This breaks with their traditional mental model and gives them a new identity and sense of equality and community**.
*if you’re picking holes in the metaphor then you’re missing the point altogether.
** The armed services do this, in basic training your identity is partially stripped. Same hair, same rank, same clothes, same routine. In it’s place a new team based mental picture of yourself is instilled.