tisdag 6 december 2016

Don't Solve The Problems You See

Collaboration tools that are used to make the collaborations more agile, they will probably subtly teach you systems thinking. The collaboration techniques (synchronizing your work together standing in front of a value stream board on a daily basis, having clear definitions for when work is ready for the next step etc) seldom solve anything, but they point out the systemic causes to low agility so that you will be aware of them and find out solutions and workarounds.

It has happened numerous times that participants on my courses has returned to work with a much clearer view of what the problems are and how one can fix them, and then they have started to solve them.

Don't do that. Or: if you want to do it you must be prepared for what's coming next.

What almost always happens is that your peers, who haven't been on the same course and never had a chance of developing the same way of looking at things that you have now, they won't understand what you are trying to do and why.

Change in itself triggers fears, and change without seeing the need or understanding what the intentions are and how the change will affect them will trigger a sense of losing control. That normally brings people into an anxious defensive mode and they will do anything they can to block what you are trying to do. If they somehow have authority over you, like if they are your boss or something, the defensive actions they take may hurt you.

It is very frustrating seeing what needs to be done and then being blocked by others. That will probably bring you into an anxious defensive mode, which can manifest itself as anger or frustration with your fellow human beings, and sad things may follow.

Instead: realize that your sense of urgency and your new hypotheses of what's to be done are coming from new insight. Try to bring the insights to the common table. See what happens.

Show people that you are a safe person who won't start with turning everything upside down just because of a stupid course that they couldn't attend. Show people that you care. Listen to what they are saying. Help them to visualize how they all see the situation, creating a rich picture where everybody can recognize their own view of the problem while at the same time exploring other's. Insert your own view in that picture as one piece of the jigsaw puzzle together with all the rest.

Invite people to explore the situation together with you. State that everything are hypotheses, that you want to investigate, validate the ideas, and that you aren't about to do things, but to try things.

Help everybody to feel competent and valuable. State the common higher purpose you all share, and make sure everybody feel safe and listened to. Visualize and express things clearly. Take the time that the group needs, and seek mutual understanding first and results later.

This will probably feel as if it takes a slightly longer time. But since you increase the chance of making the change actually stick and change the culture permanently, the effects will actually come sooner than if the change is constantly shot down by the collective fears.

And you will also gain peers who are on the same board as you, and the ideas and insights you generate together will probably be far better than those you come up with after just one course with an agile teacher like me who don't know your situation as good as you all do.

4 kommentarer:

  1. This. This is excellent advice but something that can be really hard to follow when you have seen the light in the tunnel. Maybe classes should include a compulsory section of self restraint and consensus building?

    1. Actually, my classes do just that! No, not really but I am always mentioning how important this is.

  2. Thanks for this post!. It describes reality very clear, the problems and risks coming with a fixed picture of how to solve or change things. I agree with Peter in that there need to be a common set of "rules" for change within a team, and someone following actively monitoring and follow up practice.