Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Making people do what we want...

Amitai Schlier and Ryan Ripley conducted a session at Big Apple Scrum Day entitled "the care and feeding of T-shaped people" which was essentially a panel discussion taking questions from the audience.

I have trouble shutting up. If you know me, you know what a struggle it is. Sometimes I have to sit on my hands to keep from over-participating in a conversation (metaphorically).

Here are the questions:

  1. How do we get a developer to try something new?
  2. How do you know if you've stopped growing?
  3. How do you convince management to agree with you?
  4. Is there a stigma against T-shaped people when it comes to hiring?
  5. How do you choose a subject to go in-depth on?
  6. How do you optimize your paint-brushed-ness?
  7. How do you get team members to share knowledge?
  8. How deep do you go before it's just self-serving?
  9. How do you get a whole team to work on something that's new to all of them?
  10. How do you convince people wide is as important as deep?
  11. How do you persuade someone to be on a team when they're not bought in?
  12. Who decides what people will go deep on?
  13. Is there still a role for job titles?
  14. How do we incorporate learning into a project?
  15. What to do when people don't appreciate T-ness?
  16. How to market oneself with T-shaped skills?

Notice the volume of "how do you make people do X" questions here.  Review 1, 3, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 15. Exactly half of the questions involve mechanisms for getting one's own way.

As I left this session, I was impressed with how well Ryan and Amitai handled the questions and the sincerity and authenticity involved across the board. 

But I was also a tad dismayed by the questions which were phrased in ways that implied argument, manipulation, or coercion. Think about that for a while. How many times have you heard accusations that coaches and Scrum Masters are manipulators and scammers?  I wonder if our concern with getting our way (for "their own good", of course) has created a group of people with more psychological tricks and traps than they should be trusted with?

I want to address the questions and give some answers in coming weeks. 

Stay tuned.