May 11, 2018

Changing is slow: patience

Changing is slow: patience

In an agile transformation process you start seeing changes pretty fast. You change the structure, the game rules, the roles ... and if you are a little careful, things start to go visibly better. This is the part where the most superficial changes, start happening and being visible very fast. But of course ... they are just high level changes. They are surprising, but we are not still don´t imply shaking the foundations.

The next steps are, according to my view, more complicated. People, for example, already starts understanding what Scrum is about but is still something really mechanic. You can still smell from miles away the old costumes of people and see that the agility is not yet in the DNA of the team.

Then is the time to work in another level and because the changes are then deeper, they are also slower. In this phase is time to work on the nuances, explaining why Scrum says what it say and what it doesn´t say, and what is there behind the guidelines of the framework. And here you start crashing against old convictions, egos who don't want to accept that can do things in a better way, some skepticism ...

There can also start happening other things like teams understanding better what the orientation towards business means, the need to adapt daily, or Product Owners that start leaving the Development Team take their own technical decisions without intervention.

But at this point you do not have to sit down because there is still a world to be done. There is still work to be done so that stakeholders and teams are able to talk to each other about deep business matters, that development teams claim their space and respect even though it may be uncomfortable or frustrating for others. It will still be necessary for the organization to open up creative space for the Scrum teams, gain real authority and security for those who have the Product Owner role ...

And from there ... even more patience, my friends, because for all this we do not have to change just how we write the code. We have to change from coding practices to how we write the PBIs, going through how we relate, the concept we have of what our work is about or how much responsibility we really assume.

For the change to be profound and the evolution real, changing only the methods is useless. We are talking about changing as people, as professionals, to mature, to be clearer and more sincere with ourselves. To have more courage and not to tremble before the challenges, to be able to look at the navel and not feel attacked when we know that something is not being done well, tolerance to frustration and submerge to the bottom in the continuous improvement of absolutely everything .

It is hard, yes, a lot. Difficult. But also satisfying. My advice is to be able to look back from time to time to see how much we have improved and not lose perspective.

But changing the mentality of people is slow. It's not like installing a new software. We can not ignore that the success of what we do depends, to a very high degree, on the success of our human relationships. People change slowly and step by step always. And also each one at their own pace.

If you want to work in a similar environment and you can not understand and accept all this with patience ... in my opinion you will have a bad time. The hurry and the real and sustainable improvement are bad companions.