Nearly every week I hear from an agile team member about them biting off more than they can chew. There are usually multiple culprits in this sad situation:
- Leadership – setting goals that aren’t realistic given their organizational (teams) capacity. Or making customer commitments without engaging their teams.
- Management – wanting to “please” management and not wanting to tell anyone no, they succumb to the pressure and pass it along to their teams.
- Technical Teams – under pressure, they simply comply. They try to deliver on goals, knowing that ultimately it will be a Death March. OR, who look at the world through rose-colored glasses and optimistically agree to all project requests.
What about Scotty?
Well, if you’re a Star Trek (the original series) fan, you’ve experienced the honesty and clarity that Scotty (Montgomery Scott) brought to the table.
Whenever Captain Kirk asked for too much, even in life and death battle situations, Scotty would push back with a…
She Canna Take Any More Captain…
She’s Gonna Blow!
It was truthful, but also incredibly risky given the need for more speed. However, you could count on Scotty to push the limits as far as possible, but no more.
It took courage for him to do it. But, he was Scottish and perhaps a wee dram here or there had something to do with it.
Awhile back I wrote an article about agility being a capacity acknowledgement play. How wishful thinking or incessant pushing or the clicking of ruby slippers didn’t make teams produce more.
Especially when we all know that it often causes teams to slow down.
You can read that article here: /blog/2015/04/28/agile-is-focused-oncapacity-equalization/
And after doing so, I want all of us to aspire to – Be More Like Scotty!
Stay agile my friends!