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📣 Why you should communicate clearly
The power of good and bad communication.
Hey there 👋🏼
In today’s email:
Communicate Clearly: The dangers of miscommunication.
What problem are you trying to solve? Take a deep and honest look!
Cool stuff on the web: The best stuff on the web.
Post of the week: 5-star on social media.
This week I was talking to a friend that works in a very operational type of team: they’ve been working together for a long time, don’t do a lot of tracking of tasks or backlog, but have been working like this for a long time and their delivery rate is quite good.
Note that this is not a product team but more of an IT/Infra team.
They were surprised by the sudden arrival of agile coaches in the company and the idea that they were the answer to all of the problems.
Listen, I adore agile, and I think that agile coaches are fundamental at a certain point of growth of a company, but, like every big change, it needs to be supported by a vision, by a top-down decision of where we are and where we want to be.
In this scenario (and this is my interpretation), the top-level executives were led into the idea that by implementing agile, they will:
Increase productivity levels exponentially, delivering more initiatives than before
Increase overall happiness levels of the teams, and this way, retention levels
Reduce the amount of confusion and miss-communication cross-teams
All of that without having any initial impact on the company's current roadmap.
At the end of the day, implementing Agile is the silver bullet the company has been missing. Due to the lack of senior leadership communication, I think they will inadvertently create a pit between teams and the newly created Agile Coaches Dept.
Right now, there are either unrealistic expectations of those agile coaches or no idea who they are, why they’re here and why they will try to change how teams work.
Unless there is a shift in the communication style, teams will see them as outsiders, and the impact and change they end up creating in the company will be significantly lower than it could have been.
Let’s focus on your team or your cluster now.
If you are going to shake the waters, communicate. Explain your vision and share the reasoning behind your decisions. You might get some surprises like:
Your team might contribute with insights that will strengthen you even more, your idea.
The team might also contribute with a set of experiences that will prevent you from wasting time going through certain roads.
Independently of what will happen, your team will know that you trust them enough to share your vision with them before acting and that you value their opinions.
A quick note before I go. When doing this, ensure you add deadlines to the discussion to prevent going through a neverending rabbit hole.
WHAT PROBLEM ARE YOU TRYING TO SOLVE?
This is it. Full stop. End of the newsletter. If you only take one idea, one concept of this week’s issue is this question.
Talking to my friend, I reviewed some of the agile practices I’ve worked with for years. Like so many other frameworks or methodologies, these practices alone will not save the way your team works.
Agile doesn’t introduce or remove bugs from your system. Waterfall is not to blame if you add passwords in clear text and commit them to GitHub. These systems are not there to solve every single problem you have, but they’re there to improve the process.
One of the most productive and (honestly) incredible people I’ve worked with is an Agile Coach. She taught me so much that, to this day, has completely changed how I look at our work and how we do things.
Simple things like cycle time, lead time, team velocity, better ways to estimate tasks, understanding that our estimates absolutely suck, retros, and retros of the retros to improve the retros… It was a really cool time because I shifted part of my brain into making sure that the team, the organism, worked independently and as adults.
No, we’re not here to start and stop your sprint.
No, we’re not here to create, close and move tasks in a JIRA board.
As a team, we are responsible for all of us being in charge of this.
With that in mind, we always rotated responsibilities, with each member learning and practising their craft in running retros, hosting refinements, and managing sprints.
Throughout those months working with Inês Santos, my mindset changed to always ask the question, “What are we trying to solve here?”.
When I stared at a JIRA board, I was trying to understand where the tarpit was or how to “stop starting and start finishing”.
Going into retrospectives, I always tried to understand what we were trying to do a retro on and adjust it. The type of retro you use to discuss a sprint is different than the one you use to discuss how a team feels about their mission and is different from the one you use when you put together two teams that don’t get along.
So, whenever you’re faced with a new scenario, a new problem, or new people joining your company, turn your growth mindset into hyper mode and ask yourself:
What problem are we trying to solve?
(Thank you, Inês, for being such a positive influence in my work! 🚀)
COOL STUFF ON THE WEB
I’m sure you’ve heard of the great Andrew Huberman for those who like to focus on self-improvement. In this video, Huberman goes deep into his morning routine.
No way I can deal with the salty warm water first thing in the morning.
Are you following any specific morning routine?
I’ve been going more and more into Stoic principles, and this one gets me every single time.
Have a clear understanding of what you can and can’t control. Reflecting and reaching a clear conclusion gives me a better understanding of how and where to dedicate my energy.
I feel that I start as an immovable rock, but once I understand the intricacies of what I can control, I immediately become water.
Be water my friend.
Empty your mind. Be formless, shapeless, like water. You put water into a cup, it becomes the cup
For the past few weeks, I’ve been reading the Platformer.
So far, it’s a good source of tech news and has a lot of insights into Silicon Valley companies.
What other newsletters would you recommend?
POST OF THE WEEK
This survey is still going strong but wow! I thought we would see more people working from the Office 100%.