The best way to grow your business is to grow your employees!
Starting to work with Agile gives your company an excellent opportunity to become a company where you continuously learn, a company where you continuously set the expectations high for your employees and your company, and your leaders work to support employees to learn, as Angela Duckworth write in her book “Grit”, you can give feedback in several ways:
You need leaders who can listen with empathy and respect, leaders who can create trust and at the same time set high expectations and support the learning phase to get there! This is not an easy task and it is far from a traditional manager who criticize and judge employees.
It is well known that people without self-control, they will produce symptoms of depression.
If you empower people and give them direction and expectations, people will grow, they will take your trust and deliver results far better than expected.
When you start to work with Scrum teams, you empower them and delegate responsibility – this is a great first step, but you have to remember that most Scrum teams have to learn how to handle this, most employees are used to work in an environment where they are told what to do, you can help the team a lot if you assign a coach who can help them to explore their new environment and guide them. You need to set high expectations to the team (they will soon also have high expectations) and you need to support them, one of the most important things for a team is TRUST, you need to create a healthy environment an environment where employees can fail! The team needs to trust the other team members and they need to trust the company!
Only when the team have trust, they can have a constructive conflict, they need both trust and constructive conflict to create the best possible solutions. A simple example is this:
A PO who have a user story like: “As a user, I want the web-site to remember me and my preferences, so that next time I return, the page will be customized to fit my needs”
When the Scrum team refine this story (Backlog grooming), one team member (A) may estimate this to 1 story point and another team member (B) may estimate it to 40 story points.
Both team members are right, team member-A suggest adding a cookie to the webpage to remember the user, where team member-B suggest that they create secure login with a Database that can scale if this should be needed.
The important thing at backlog refinement is not to get the story points (but it is nice to get it for later use), the important thing is the discussion and securing that the team (including the PO) have the same understanding of the requirement!
If there is not enough trust in the team, the team members will try to guess how many story points the most respected developer estimate and there will be no discussion, in the example above, the most experienced developer could be team member-B, the one who know that if this becomes a success, they will need to have knowledge about the users, but team member-A could be the junior developer who have been reading “The Lean Startup” and suggest to use a cookie to see if this really makes a difference and if it is what the user wants, a very cheap way to test the hypothesis 😊
You may sit and wonder why I don’t write about Retrospect? Retrospect is super important, but if you really want to make a difference, the company need to embrace continuously learning – Retrospect with support from coaches and leaders will then boost the learning process!
Nietzsche said, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, but according to Steve Maier’s research, it is finding a way out of the suffering is that does the strengthening.
Agile Konsulenten ApS - Phone +45 3132 3941