Project Management

Quiet Quitting—and How Agile Can Help Combat It

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Categories: Agile

By Soma Bhattacharya

The phrase “quiet quitting” is all over the internet as the trend has gained in popularity over the last few years of the pandemic. The one thing you need to confront the temptation: motivation.

Motivation for today’s generation is something that’s in sync with purpose and autonomy. In one of his Instagram posts, Adam Grant—an organizational psychologist and best-selling author—says this about quiet quitting: “Doing (the) bare minimum is a common response to bull$#!* jobs, abusive bosses and low pay.”

While it may be true for some, for others it can be lack of alignment in seeing the purpose they serve within the organization. So, we might need to fix the flawed system and also highlight what’s in place.

In any agile team, most of the ceremonies always carry an inherent meaning (at least that’s what I have always stressed). Release planning or “big room planning” is about communicating the purpose, the big picture and how each team or individual comes together to contribute.

If done correctly, teams are happy to have the knowledge and prepare for it. It also allows team members to raise concerns and flex their mastery at what they are going to work for the next three months. It’s designed for social communication, bringing in multiple teams in one room or platform.

Encouraging teams to participate and normalize conflicts is a healthy practice—as long as it’s moderated and everyone is looking at the end goal. Conflicts can foster higher creativity and better solutions within teams. That in turn that will also engage individuals and negate the “quitting mentality.”

A small team brings in autonomy to a great extent and allows everyone to feel empowered, like they’re playing their part. The whole concept of limited size in scrum teams means better communication, stronger bonds and faster decision making. The bonhomie improves team harmony and creates its own culture, one that can only come together with openness and trust.

A simple initiative like buddying up, mentoring or pair programming is a common practice. Giving everyone a way to relate and connect to the big picture and to a team can also result in better learning, and an enhanced social life at work—leading to a sense of belonging, which is essential for growth and individual engagement.

Any team or organization that practices any of the above will tell you than when team participation is higher, so is the interest in coming back to the office—and that a better quality of work is a byproduct.

Often in any agile teams, we forget why we chose agile. Building a culture of trust, openness and empowerment can benefit everyone. Choosing wisely to see what needs to be changed or adapted can allow for better vision and a stronger roadmap for the team—not just for the product, but for team building. Choosing the right team imbibes a great attitude.

We must all be aware that with every generation, social change and work environments go through major shifts. So, what worked five years ago might not be the right environment post-pandemic. So, blaming the system or organizations for certain practices might not be the right choice. Understanding a team and what it wants out of work is equally important to confronting negativity. Maybe consider that change is a refreshing thing—not just for newcomers, but for management as well.

Posted by Soma Bhattacharya on: October 04, 2022 01:41 PM | Permalink

Comments (6)

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Luis Branco CEO| Business Insight, Consultores de Gestão, Ldª Carcavelos, Lisboa, Portugal
Dear Sum
The topic that you brought to our reflection and debate was very interesting.

Thanks for sharing and for your opinions.

Do you want to talk about what is happening with the people who make up your team(s)?

Are they "quiet quitting" or, on the contrary, are they highly motivated?

Eduin Fernando Valdes Alvarado Project Manager| F y F Fabricamos Futuro Villavicencio, Meta, Colombia
Very interesting thanks for sharing

Yasmina Khelifi Senior Project Manager| ORANGE Paris, France
Thank you Soma for sharing your perspective on quiet quitting

Smith Lee None United Kingdom
Soma, the writing is thoughtful and thought provoking. Many a business do not see this as an issue as there is always the next person to take your seat once your leave. You mentioned agile, yes, all the values need to be considered whenever it’s been use but it not the issue that causes quiet quitting. Is it?

Sarmad Azhar Managing Member| Azhar Consulting, LLC Aubrey, Tx, USA
I feel there are not enough providers acknowledge by PMI

Stéphane Parent Self Employed / Semi-retired| Leader Maker Prince Edward Island, Canada
Agile approaches foster supporting and encouraging work environments and experiences. I suspect this is not sufficient to fully resolve quiet quitting.

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