What managers need to know about safe discussions
Discussions at work can run into a problem called “the invisible gun effect”. I read about it early on when learning about Scrum (*).
People of power are often not aware of the effect that their sheer power has on conversations. When they are present, people shy away from speaking up about conflicts or bringing up risky topics regarding the organisation, because they fear they might get shot if the discussion gets too heated. …
Product Owner: Thanks for all being on time. Before we start, let’s agree on a common goal.
Manager: Well, I don’t know about you but I am ready to get completely wasted.
Scrum Master: Waste? That’s not good in the overall process! We try to minimize it.
Manager: (raises an eyebrow) What was the concept of a bar again?
Scrum Master: A bar is as good as any other place to hold a Sprint Retrospective! Why don’t we inspect our Definition of Done?
Manager: Well, my definition of “done” is simple: I am done when I have to take a…
If you have not heard about “Mob Programming”, have a look at Willem-Jan Ageling’s article “Mob Programming and Scrum” to get an idea. I originally wrote this as a comment to it until it grew into an article on its own.
“Mob Programming” is a very bad term, even worse than “Backlog Grooming”, and I am surprised that I have not read criticism about it yet.
The word “mob” as I know it in the English language has two very negative meanings:
Don’t fool yourself with words — and do not fool others or get fooled by them. Although even popular culture tells us that judging by size is wrong, people do it again and again, especially if it happens in an abstract context where real importance is hard to determine and to explain.
Typical phrases heard in the IT world: “Just a small change request”, “just a small script”, “just a small question”, “just a small bug”… “small” has become a signal word that someone is trying to downplay the relevance of something. My usual answer to this is:
Bragging about certifications is pointless — use your experience to help others. That said, now first comes the learning material that I used to learn and can recommend from my own experience, followed by my own story.
Multilingual IT guy and Leader of the Chocolate Guild. I can answer fluently in English, German and Esperanto — you can also contact me in Dutch and Italian.