Viewing Posts by Soma Bhattacharya
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.
By Soma Bhattacharya
In discussions I’ve heard within Scrum teams over the years, three common concerns often come up:
I think this often originates from general discomfort people have when problems surface; but for me,
By Soma Bhattacharya
Sometimes I read an article where someone mentions that “agile is dead,” or that it doesn’t work anymore. I have to pause and think where this comes from. Honestly, I don’t know. What I do know is that agile never said it would work for everyone.
Most teams and organizations working in agile either step into it by accident or want to try the “trend” to figure out it works for them, then continue working with it. I reached out to my friends who are certified trainers in agile, and they mentioned that they are busier than ever. That world has opened up because trainings are now online, which means you don’t have to travel anymore to take classes or get certified. In addition, the 15th Annual State of Agile Report notes a growth in agile adoption from 37% in 2020 to 86% in 2021. So it looks like agile is still very much alive.
Certification or not, agile is always the most natural way of working. At least, that’s what I think. Why?
So, what’s not to like about it? Not everyone agrees; in reality, things can seem more challenging for some.
Here’s why teams don’t want to go agile:
I don’t know about your experiences, but from what I have seen, agile is usually welcomed by the teams—the problems creep in later, as it’s not something management buys into (and it’s not just me: the Annual State of Agile Report also mentions challenges in adoption like “not enough leadership participation” or “inadequate management support and sponsorship”).
I know those who are happy being agile are aligned at all levels and are working on being a better team every day. It’s all about individuals and interactions over processes and tools, right?
What have you heard from colleagues about why agile isn’t always embraced?
By Soma Bhattacharya
Never fear challenging the norm.
A standup seems like the norm for any agile team, part of the identity associated with being agile. As many of us all now work remotely, it seems that the right way to start the day is by attending the standup and getting the status items, questioning team members—and dealing with interruptions from multiple stakeholders.
Whether you like it or not, there’s no one rule for getting the standup done. It’s about connecting with the team and being there for each other without ruthless questioning.
So, if you are not answering the standard three questions (What have you completed? What will you do next? What is getting in your way?), what else can you do? Here are what I call the three acts:
Changing the norms to ensure things are working for you—and keeping it that way—is agile. No one shoe fits all, so find what your team needs and try it out!
by Soma Bhattacharya
Agile has become ubiquitous in project management, with teams using it to spark out-of-the-box thinking and drive countless projects across the finish line. Yet almost as quickly as the approach popped up, companies and project leaders began to oversell it—and what seemed to be a radical way of thinking has become mired in repetition and monotony.
Agile was about being open and transparent, and people having the utmost importance in the process. Now, if you ask anyone about agile, it’s all about the three questions: What have you completed since the last meeting? What do you plan to complete by the next meeting? What’s getting in your way? There’s also the fear of being constantly monitored and the fact your performance is measured by your team’s velocity.
Breaking out of this mold can prove difficult—who has the time? But with much of the world working from home, now might be the best chance to rethink agile as bold, kind and human.
Let’s look at how that might work.
Agile is bold: Challenge the process. Question what’s right for your team and be open to experiment. To get everyone engaged, encourage team members to ask questions. And try incorporating at least one fun icebreaker in each team standup to get people to open up and spark discussion.
Agile is kind: Just because the data seems all over the place or you don’t achieve a desired project outcome, the team is not always wrong. Look for insights, do anonymous retrospectives, dig deeper and listen more. Avoid making assumptions. Instead, remain empathetic and open as you talk through challenges and navigate team members to arrive at a solution.
Agile is human: Agile won’t work if the team can’t work together and it’s up to leaders to foster a sense of camaraderie. One way to build this spirit of collaboration and rapport is through simple exercises, like using a sticky note or sharable spreadsheet where team members anonymously write one thing they’re good at or that they’re proud of outside of work. Then allow other team members to guess that person’s identity. This isn’t about who wins, but it gets the entire team to communicate in a low-stakes environment.
What are the biggest challenges your team has come across with agile—and how have you overcome them?