Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The great persuader is....you

Last night I was speaking to the Metrolina PMI chapter. Good discussion; lots of interest in Agile. My topic was: Winning With Scrum.

So, on that quickly. My experience and my hypothesis (still not disproved...per the scientific method ), is that Scrum can be more fun and can enable your team(s) to be much more productive. It is designed to allow you to be 5x to 10x more productive that you were. And, on average, 5x-10x more than average. (Yes, logically, if you were already well above average, for whatever reason, the bang might not be that great.)

At the same time, I do not wish to infer that Scrum (or Agile) is a silver bullet or magic pill. It is hard work, painful in terms of change, to do well. Some people don't have the intestinal fortitude. And some people might be in one of the few "wrong" Myers-Briggs boxes to be comfortable using it.

So, we are in for a short, tough economic time.
Scrum can help you team and firm.
Scrum can preserve your career.
If you put your heart into doing it reasonably well.

Enough of that.

One person asked me: "Well, I'd like to do it, but who is going to persuade my boss and my comrades and my company to let me do it?"

The short answer is: You.

Yes, I know this can be tough. Yes, even if you are very good, sometimes you will not succeed.

But usually, where there's a will, there's a way. (It's a cliche because it is usually true.) And nobody else is as well positioned.

A couple of things:
* It is not one conversation, but a series of conversations.
* The influencing does not have to come out of your mouth or even be thought of as (all) coming from you. But you have to organize it and energize it.
* It is not just facts, it's emotion also (yours and his). The most effective emotion is often "quiet" emotion. The other guy gets a sense that you really are determined to make this happen; it gives him confidence that you *will* make this happen. (Often a "him"; your situation may vary of course.)
* Stay yourself. People will not believe professional salesmen. But if you are true to yourself, they will believe you.

Welcome to the most important business skill you will ever develop. Getting someone to buy-in to your good ideas.

Two suggestions:
A Sense of Urgency by John Kotter.
Fearless Change by Manns and Rising.

Go get 'em.

2 comments:

David said...

Hi Joe,

I think one thing to be conscious of when trying to convince people to adopt agile methodologies is to feel out the project manager. PM's will generally be either very for, or quite markedly against agile.

You may find the business (or customer) will be all for agile methodologies, and by bringing them on board with your suggestions, it may help your persuasions.

Regards,
David
http://www.jacksguides.com

Joe Little said...

Hi David,

I agree. And even more broadly. From a distance, any one person (or group of people) could sink things. Or at least we must influence them.

And it starts with one person ("you" in my post), but that person should be recruiting others who support the new idea (Agile/Scrum or whatever).

While it might seem daunting, all you have to do is have them give it a real try. You need permission (or forgiveness) to do
a real experiment. Almost always a decent experiement proves that it "works" (in your place). Then the convincing gets easier (and harder too, in some ways and in some places).

I find we need to be careful not to assume that the problems we had in the last place will be the problems we will have in the next place (or with the next team). It will always be less than perfect, but it still can be much different.

Regards, Joe