Tuesday, March 17, 2009

How honest should you be in Scrum?

First answer: Completely.

Ah, if only the answer were that simple. Sorry, George, but Scrum and Agile provide no cookbook answer to this question.

Some people use "honesty" to mean they get a right to be brutal to others (and also to ignore their own imperfections).

Much more often, the de facto thinking is "honesty means I won't say anything obviously incorrect and I will speak up more than I did before." (Well, I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings. And I didn't say much before anyway.)

So, for most people, the operational answer is: Be a LOT more honest than you were before. Both with good news and with bad. And even about yourself.

It turns out that once there is trust on the team, this is not so hard.

Still, like most things: Easy for me to talk about here. Always challenging for a team to do at the highest level in the real world.


Sean Blanton said...

Bring up bad news immediately. Hiding bad news or hoping it will go away, being afraid or embarrassed will only chew up time that could be used to take corrective action and make the problem go away.

That said, you should make sure have a lot of facts about it and maybe have a few suggestions for resolution before reporting it. This will soften the blow and put the focus on next steps.

Joe Little said...

Sean, You are right of course. Still, on alternate Tuesdays, that 10th commandment item gets awfully tough for me. I know I was not honest enough.

I feel sometimes I want to say "please continue to be honest or even more honest, but say it in a way that does not hurt me so much".

I also repeat: "Bad news does not get better with age."

Anonymous said...

Sean - so true regarding the bad news. If you can't be honest and bring up the bad news, you could potentially exasperate a problem and have it even move through iterations getting bigger and more costly