Monday, May 2, 2011
I have a book by Rollo May that I have barely started to read: The Courage to Create.
This seems to me an important topic, creativity, because it is what I am (hopefully) training teams to do. To be more creative. And what he says is that it takes courage.
It seems that one aspect of this is loneliness.
Each human being is unique, and so perhaps naturally because of that fact, we each feel alone sometimes. We feel we do not understand the other person. We feel they do not understand us. No doubt, this often indeed is true (ie, not 'just' a feeling, as we sometimes say). (Note: I am guessing that 'feel' is not considered a 4-letter "F" word in your local culture. If it is, you have my sympathy.)
Lean-agile-scrum offers some remedies for this problem. Not full solutions, but, I think, improvements.
First, it says to management: Don't just do something, stand there (ie, leave us alone). More than just a chuckle, this is a good thing. Although perhaps it still, even today, needs more explaining (but in another post).
Second, it tells us as a team: Don't just stand there, create something. In the form of working product by the end of the Sprint.
And while the product may be crappy, or not what the customer really wanted, at least we have broken through our loneliness and our fear, and started to do something. And enabled some feedback.
And we are doing this as a team. So, in that way we are also no longer alone.
And, finally, we are doing it for "the customer", and so we have broken through our isolation, our loneliness, that way. It is wisely said "it is more blessed to give than to receive", and in the daily acts of lean-agile-scrum the team, with grace, may start to feel whole again as they start to fulfill that prophesy, that idea. They are willing, they are wanting, they are waiting to see if they have given the customer what he/she/they truly want.
EM Forster said: Only connect! And lean-agile-scrum is enabling at least some kinds of connection. Some collaboration. And even if it starts with mistrust and awkwardness, usually we can get both the teenage boys and the teenage girls dancing with each other by and by. It is a bit painful to watch, but by and by they start to even smile at each other. If you follow my metaphor.
Loneliness, perhaps with both the introverts and the extroverts, comes up in many ways as we do our work. As a reminder: Of course some of us need some alone-time. This is not loneliness. But any of us, on a given day, can feel, in our work, lonely and defeated.
ScrumMasters: please consider loneliness more as you strive to help them team remove its impediments.
It is probably not necessary to say this to most ScrumMasters, but for others I will say this. John Lennon said that life is what happens while you're busy making other plans. Which is to say here: One need not make loneliness, or at least the pain of loneliness, an explicit topic in the team room. One should just get the kids off their butts and get them to dance together. Sometimes talking too much does not help. You just have to act quietly. And get them acting.
A wise person taught me that again recently. (Thanks!)