Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Do you suffer from DID? Part 3

I was once on a project where the PMO and Architecture team were boasting how they were using extreme programming and that they were going to be the first team to ever meet their deadlines. When the project ramped up however it was anything but agile, we spent weeks performing wasteful activities, the user stories where all "technical", there was not continuous integration, we were prohibited from speaking to external teams/customers, etc...

The PMO/Architects continued to boast about our great success and how all of the other teams were using an inferior SLDC. We were able to deliver these "technical stories", at the expense of our free time in the summer and when it came time to deploy to production we found that the other teams that relied on our features did not deliver on time. The PMO/Architects where pleased because they were able to say, "hey its not our fault your team is not using XP", but those smiles where immediately wiped off of their faces when they learned that the product sponsor perceived this project as a failure. This made it even more difficult for our team to evangelize the goodness of XP, because others viewed it as the Same ole' Stuff.

In my experience this is the most common manifestation of project DID:

Does your team say they practice...
... agile but run projects using waterfall techniques (analysis-design-build-test; 7 layer cake; technical user stories)?
When a person claims that they are running a project using "agile methodologies", I am convinced that they are being genuine. No one actually believes themselves to be practicing waterfall techniques! The problem with this personality is that it is counter productive to the agile adoption process.

In a previous post, I asserted that addressing solvable problems with small process improvements will help reduce stress, which then decreases the probability of future DID episodes. This technique although excellent for mitigating outbreaks, it does not actually treat the disorder. According to the Psychology Today website...
The primary treatment for DID is long-term psychotherapy with the goal of deconstructing the different personalities and uniting them into one. Other treatments include cognitive and creative therapies.
Does this mean that you need a psychologist to treat your teams? Probably not, but your team might benefit from bringing in a "coach" or attend a training to learn how to conduct creative therapy exercises. Just keep in mind that, "the scope of creative therapy is as limitless as the imagination in finding appropriate modes of expression", so feel free to explore some ideas or even come up with a few yourself.

Once you have learned a few techniques, I recommend executing them during both project kickoffs and retrospectives. If these venues are not appropriate then create an atmosphere (and block off some time of course) that affords your project team the opportunity to confront their various "personalities".

1 comment:

Tim Myer said...

Perhaps the team does need a psychologist. There is an entire industry and there are many graduate programs devoted specifically to this type of Business Psychology. I am personally very curious to see how the accreditation process for an Agile coach, such as a Certified Scrum Trainer, compares to getting a Ph.D. in Business Psychology.