Talk About What Matters: Content, Pattern, Relationship

[This is a follow-up to my post about three crucial books.]

“I talked to him, about his lapse. But he had a valid reason. Just like last time.”

Sounds familiar? Do you keep talking to someone about the same rule violations? Or worse, did you stop, because nothing ever changed?

Cover: Crucial Confrontation “Crucial Confrontations” suggests that you may have held the wrong conversation. After the first violation, that incident – the content – is the right thing to talk about.

“Yesterday you’ve made changes in the live branch, that you did not discuss with anyone. We have rules against this. Live changes are always risky and we want to minimize risk by requiring two sets of eyes to check for errors.”

If violations happened before, you can get you sidetracked, if you talk about the individual incidents. People tend to come up with good reasons for the single occurrences. “Sure, you’re right, but I had little choice, because of $extenuating_circumstance.” One of our scrum trainers used to counter strings of extenuating circumstances with “Excuses, excuses, excuses.” And he’s right. You’ve seen this before, multiple times. It’s about a pattern. Continue reading

Eliminate Waste: Caretaker of the Week

Apparently I’m stuck on the topic of decisions, but whereas the last post was about manifesting decisions, this one is about avoiding them. Well, at least a certain kind of decisions: The kind where teams need to do something regularly, but it doesn’t matter which team member does it, as long as it gets done. Let me give you some examples:

  • Who takes care of ad-hoc support requests in a team of admins doing kanban
  • Which scrum master writes the weekly “What are the scrum masters doing, anyway”-email
  • Which team member attends the SoS. (In my workplace the SoS is a stand up of team members, not the scrum masters.)

Because each of these decisions is tiny and not very significant on its own, people are sometimes reluctant to agree on a long-term arrangement that eliminates the string of tiny decisions. They figure, they’ll just take them each time they present themselves, because, hey, tiny, right? What ill could possibly happen?

Turns out, a variety of ills: Continue reading