Posts Tagged ‘risk’


Dysfunctional Delusions

November 28, 2016

If you want high performing teams, they have to be built first and foremost on a foundation of trust.  Patrick Lencioni cites the lack of trust as the first (of five) dysfunctions of a team.  The team members must feel that their other teammates will “have their back” when things get rough.  And as a manager or leader, that includes you too.  In fact, if you want to shift your organizational culture to a more empowered, trust-based culture, management must lead the way by demonstrating (not just talking about) the values and behavioral norms you want for the organization.

One key factor that trust is built on is consistency.  Are you consistent in your behavior?  Are you complimentary one moment and then arrogant or dismissive the next?  Are you puerile?  Vindictive?  People trust their leadership when the feel they know how you will react in various situations.  With trust they will feel they can bring issues to you for help when necessary without risking their positions.  If your behavior varies significantly, your teams realize they cannot understand what your reaction to any given problem will be.  They won’t feel safe to be honest with you.   In other words, they won’t trust you.

And if you think you can behave one way in front of your teams and another in private, you are deluding yourself.  When it comes to sensing duplicities, people seem to have x-ray vision.  They are very good at detecting such contrary behavior.  And when they do, trust may never develop.

To be a true leader you must build trust.  Otherwise your teams won’t progress and you’ll remain simply a taskmaster.


The Agile Scorpion

August 16, 2013


A frog approaches a stream and sees a scorpion by the bank.  The scorpion cannot cross the stream alone, so he asks the frog to carry him across the stream on its back.  The frog is wary of the scorpion and says “You might sting me and I will die.”  The scorpion assures the frog he wouldn’t do that because then they both would die.  The frog agrees.  Then halfway across the stream the scorpion stings the frog.  The frog begins to sink.  Before they both drown the frog asks “Why?”  The scorpion replies: “It’s my nature.”

This Aesop’s fable proclaims a warning for all of those who are on their agile journey.  Agile transformation is difficult enough.  You must also watch out for scorpions.  While change is hard for many people, the scorpions you may find, as in the story, have no intention of changing – but they won’t tell you that.  They could take the form of a team member, a manager, someone from another department that “supports” your team, an external business partner, and so forth.

It is truly unfortunate that the agile change “paralyzes” some people, but it does.  The level of change is significant.  So if you detect a scorpion among those on the agile journey with you, you can’t afford to tolerate their dangerous nature.  You will put your project and your agile transformation at significant risk.  Let them go be productive somewhere else.  You can’t afford to take the chance.

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Come One, Come All!

June 1, 2010

If you’d like to enjoy some fun in the sun AND learn about pragmatic modeling techniques (those two things always go together, right?), then you are in luck. For the 11th year in a row, I have the privilege to be speaking at the IBM Rational Innovate 2010 conference (previously know as the Rational Software Development Conference and the Rational Users Conference).
On Wed. June 9th, 2010 I’ll be presenting “Practical Visual Modeling – Lessons From the Trenches”. Beginning and experienced modelers often wonder why modeling isn’t working well for them. This is because there are many snares and traps to fall into. This presentation, based on lessons learned from real-world projects, approaches visual modeling pragmatically. Visual modeling essentials are discussed augmented with practical, experiential advice, best practices, and heuristics for modelers. Common project failure points, SOA, agility, how to avoid typical modeling pitfalls, and simple risk-based planning techniques are just some of the topics covered.
We will discuss:
• Where the most costly and common project mistakes are made
• What parts of the UML to use and which to ignore
• Business modeling and system modeling via use cases and how to use them
• Avoiding common modeling pitfalls during analysis and design
• Project planning, prioritization, and risk
• Career shortening red flags that indicate when you should get out of Dodge.
• Numerous practical modeling techniques and practices.
So if you are going to be in the Orlando area for the conference, please drop into my session, say hello, sit back, and have some fun!