My topic this week is the fall of a company I (still) have a great deal of affection for, one that I continue to support. To me this company “was” the internet and their rise and past prominence represented what was best of Silicon Valley. More troubling is their subsequent lack of direction and downfall represents what can be thought of as the worst of Silicon Valley. I am not the first (and will not be the last) to weigh in on the tragedy that goes by the name of Yahoo!
Once we understand that the grief stages are in response to the loss of an idea, it is not a great leap to apply this to any company transformation. It is well known that there are some who will readily embrace change, but there are a great number that see any change as a threat.
This applies to my work of transforming companies from waterfall to agile approach. While I may be 100% correct and it may make me feel good to be right, by presenting my viewpoint as THE way, I will not meet my objective. If I choose to be successful then I must take a different approach. I need to get to know the people involved, understand their concerns, not threaten their ideas, but allow their defenses to be lowered by listening to their ideas and then, and only then, if my ideas are truly right will I have the chance to convince them of or, better yet, guide them to the truth.
In the case of annual reviews we have such a wealth of evidence they do not work it is amazing so few companies have actually done away with them.
When someone mentions “waterfall has always worked for us”, I believe this is an example of Type Three error. The real question – has waterfall been optimal? The example I always give is that the covered wagon was successful for transportation, but when I look out the window of a plane, I don’t see any crossing the prairie. In the case of those applying the values and principles of agile properly there is little doubt as to which is the airplane and which is the covered wagon.
Patterns, Anti-Patterns and Pilots. Not only does this option have alliterative qualities, but it also allows for a much greater environment for teams to self-organize and experiment. The process is simple. There are certain things that we know to generally work well for teams. One example is Behavior Driven Development (BDD). This would be considered a pattern.