I'm So Smart: An Agile Antipattern

Project Practitioners > I'm So Smart: An Agile Antipattern
By Brandon Carlson

It never ceases to amaze me that, while I've been "Agile" for so many years now, I still find myself occasionally falling back to old habits. What bad habit? The one where I think I know how to solve the team's problems better than the team. It happened recently, we were faced with a tough situation where I proposed the correct solution to the problem and we prepared to implement it. The trouble is that it wasn't really the correct solution at all, I was too far removed from the problem to have the correct answer. Fortunately, some team members called me out on the decision, suggested another (more appropriate) solution, and we went ahead and implemented it. The entire incident reminded me of one the core Agile principles that is easy to overlook. Next time you are solving the team's problem for them, step back and remember you're not that smart.



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....And thank goodness multiple people on the team were comfortable calling you out on it. I assume that's a principle of agile too. But it should be a goal for any PM to make sure their team members know they should speak up if they see something "wrong" going on. That it's part of their responsibility as team members to do so. And of course the PM has to make sure the environment - the PMs or Management's reaction to such a challenge truly backs up that invitation to speak freely...


Cinda,

Absolutely! Building trust from the team is critical for all projects, not just Agile. It kills me that this area is taken so lightly in day to day business.


I agree wholeheartedly. I tell new Project Managers that, to be successful, they have to be able to speak many "languages" (learn the terminology unique to each discipline represented on the project team) but remember, you aren't totally "fluent" in those languages(you're not a subject matter expert in those disciplines). Your skill, as a Project Manager, is to bring those different disciplines together to get them moving in the same direction for the common good.


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