It was Monday afternoon on her first day of work at a new company and Sarah was feeling anxious. Having studied Scrum over the last few months, Sarah had been hired to serve as a Scrum Master and she was eager to begin applying her new skills, however nothing she had been told today seemed congruent with her lessons. As Sarah listened to her new manager explain why the company’s software required the organization to field a “UI team,” “service team,” and “back-end team,” she felt especially troubled by the phrase she’d heard multiple times on this day: “No one does Scrum by the book.”
“If no one actually follows the design of Scrum,” she wondered to herself, “why did my Scrum trainer teach it to me?”
I’ve been measured as a 3.6 out of a possible 5 “performance” points. I’ve been measured on my sales volume per hour. I’ve even been measured on my percentage of overtime hours as a percentile representing “efficiency”. From salespeople, to service workers, to manual laborers, it’s nearly impossible to meet a worker that hasn’t been exposed to metrics as a form of management, motivation, or appraisal.
Deming, Drucker, and a host of wisdom spoke on the utility of metrics and, over time, business leaders have responded. An obsession with metrics is everywhere and there is no question that measurements of valuable business processes can help improve outcomes necessary for success. Enter the pursuit of (demand for?) “Agile metrics”. Continue reading
Earlier this month, Jason Kerney–a team member at Hunter Industries and practitioner of mob programming–wrote an article detailing the interview process his team uses for bringing new people into “the Mob”.
This post dives into Jason’s narrative covering the principles that challenge the convention of hiring and seemingly radical tactics that answer a simple question: what is the difference between hiring a person and filling a position? Continue reading
This is not a rant caused by a spell of unemployment, nor is it a cry for help or an invitation to a raging pity-party. This is a reminder of the convention of hiring knowledge workers, especially within the software industry, that we allow to coerce our decision making at the expense of our organizations.
In fact, the thoughts in this post have little to do with my present lack of an employer, even while knee-deep in wildly ineffective hiring conversations. Instead, this post primarily contains notes from past engagements where the hiring process felt like throwing darts blindfolded. Continue reading
I recently sat down to chat with a company looking for help with a Scrummy / traditional / Agile-to-us / status quo / project manager / ScrumMaster type position. One of those common positions that companies open up to see what Agile looks like without actually changing anything at all.
As I sat down to interview with the two directors, given the obvious inconsistencies with Agile principles in the job description, I was there to vet them just as much as they likely wanted to interrogate me.
I wanted to hear about culture and team-centric work systems. They wanted to hear about control and tactics. You can imagine how the conversation went and a quote from one of the directors stuck with me:
“In the absence of specific tactics that you will use here, all you have is theory. And our business doesn’t run on theory.”