The Scrum Guide doesn’t talk about the role of managers. So does that mean that one day we have managers, and then as soon as we begin an agile transformation, they suddenly disappear? Of course not. So what do we do with them? Many organizations use managers to direct the work of their reports so it could seem reasonable to assign these managers as Product Owners. I can see the logic in this, but a younger me would have opposed this with extreme prejudice. A younger me would use all my persuasive might emphasizing how this isn’t the right thing to do. But why? What’s wrong with it?
Who here just started a new job? Or maybe you’re about to start a new job? This is the situation I recently faced. It’s stressful, and it was important to me that I make a strong, lasting, and positive first impression. In fact, let’s talk about that today, but before we do, I’d like to give a big shout out to rands. A decade ago, I ran into his blog. It was the first blog I ever followed, and his advice in Ninety Days is something I reread before I start any new job. In it, he suggests that the interview continues through the first ninety days on the job. I agree, and I can relate with his piece of advice here:
- Can data help our teams improve? If so, what kind of data?
- How do we responsibly use this data?
- Can metrics help the teams and the organization embrace a culture of experimentation?
- Data isn’t enough. How can we tie it to the motivations and passions of our team members?
Words are hard. They shouldn’t be, but they are. We each internalize a definition of a word, and more oft than not, our internal definition conflicts with someone else’s. Even ancient Greek philosophers like Epictetus faced this problem offering this advice:
First learn the meaning of what you say, and then speak.
Today, let’s talk about two words I see organizations and individuals struggle with: process and efficiency.
In my experience, these are terrible words. Of course, they didn’t start as terrible. They began as respectable words. After all, wouldn’t we want efficient teams? And shouldn’t we manage our chaotic environments by adhering to some process? Perhaps. Unfortunately, their definitions vary so widely from one person to the next that I do my best to avoid them all together.