The idea of ‘reporting’ is disgusting and pervasive. I hate it.
That’s not to say that there isn’t a place for governance and oversight. I’m not about to argue against that. I’m talking about the idea of reporting driven development, the idea of a ‘status meeting’. I’m talking about the idea that you are being watched.
Now, if you’re on a project where your development, targets, and daily work are driven by reporting your status something is, in my humble opinion, wrong. It’s an indicator to me that you are concentrating decision making authority for too much to too few. It’s an indicator that your team feels ‘watched’. It tells me that at a fundamental level the communication on that project is broken.
I hate the phrase ‘Continuous Improvement’. It conjures in my mind the image of innovation days, innovation champions, written feedback, suggestion boxes. It makes me think of all of the organisations I’ve worked with who see that they are stagnating but fail to grasp the basic concept behind their stagnation: the desire to adapt and change is a state of mind, not a question of process rigour.
Go read the wikipedia entry on Kaizen and come back if you don’t know the term. That’s what I’m talking about. Everyone feeling a sense of ownership, everyone empowered to speak up to suggest improvements (big or small). If you are relying on enforced ‘innovation days’ then I fear the boat has sailed for you. Stop doing that, and think about it a little differently. Here are my suggestions for how you could go about making a big change with a slow burn (nb. slow burn = high buy in).
Our project is lucky enough to have the holy trinity of analysis, namely dedicated business analysis, user research, and graphic design specialists. It’s amazing! Every two weeks we run user research sessions to gather feedback and try out new ideas, either with the working version of the application we’re building or with decent mockups.
Our user researcher goes. Our graphic designer goes. Heck, most times the majority of the team goes. I do not.
It’s not something I’ve really talked about here with people on the project, or publicised, but it came up today because I’ll be leaving the project soon and the Product Owner realised I hadn’t been to any of the sessions. So, here’s my thinking.
There are some cool things going on at ThoughtWorks right now in the LGBTQI space, both here in Europe and in the US. We’re amazingly fortunate to have had separate groups of people start to push for the same things at the same time, and on Friday last week we got our heads together to talk for the first time.
In that meeting something fabulous happened, and selfishly, this post is all about me. Something fabulous happened to me, and it’s this. At the start of the meeting, during the introductions, someone asked me, “Which pronouns do you use?”
I’ll be honest, I’ve never been asked that question before. To my various language teachers’ disgust, my first thought was, QUICK! Remember what a pronoun is! What are the options?, swiftly followed by the response that I use he and him (and variations thereon) day to day.
The meeting was great, and that question stuck with me in my mind for literally days afterwards. It made me think about a lot of things. I thought about how little I’ve been involved with the trans community before, how little thought I’ve given generally to considering gender, and how that one little question actually exhibits how considerate and respectful the person who asked it was.
Leena is ill/skiving this week, so it is my duty to blog the project chocolate experiment for this week. The theme was caramel, and the competition was fierce.
A few notes before I share the winners and photos, folks