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05 March 2010



That is very lovely.

I have a question about it. One of the advantages of incremental development models (all of them) that I hear about is the ability to course correct sooner and to reveal team dysfunction so that it can be changed.

How do you bring up a suggestion for change and champion it without and focus on pain points or a reason TO change?

Jim Benson

Thank you Lanette,

The group should have a regular retrospective where conversations about improvement or change can happen. It's usually helpful when introducing change to focus on the value the change will bring first, the pain it's solving second, and the people it is involving a very very distant third.

One of the things that makes change hard is that people feel like they personally are being asked to change - which is an implication that something is wrong with them. Usually, it's not them, it's the system in which they are working that is breaking down.

When someone is seen to be breaking down, employ the "5 Whys." Ask why they are. Then get an answer. Then ask why that answer is happening. And get an answer. And ask why that...

Do that five times - you'll get much closer to the root cause of the problem and be much less likely to blame an individual. Then you can frame your change in a more non-threatening way.

Jon Bach

Agreed, and nice post, Jim. Do you know about Appreciate Inquiry?


I've tried it a few times in retrospectives and it works well for what you're recommending here.

Jim Benson

Hey Jon,

Yes, and from a manager's perspective AI does work well. I was thinking Lanette was coming from a team member point of view.

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