The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Advantages and disadvantages

When people embrace new methods they do so because of the perceived benefits. Often, this is also the only look one will give that method. What is less visible, is the impact of a chosen method on our other competencies.

When using a GPS still was more something for early adopters I stayed away from them. The reason was simple I enjoyed looking at maps and using them to figure out how to get from A to B. I wasn’t prepared to give that up. Eventually, I did get a GPS for driving as there were enough situations in which looking at a map and driving become inconvenient. One of the features I liked about using the GPS was how it helped me see if I would arrive on time. However, I started using it so often, that I didn’t do any effort anymore to memorize driving directions.

It taught me to pay attention to the things we give up when we take up something new.

Some time ago I started coaching a team that implemented a Scrum process. I’ve seen many benefits in them using it as the company culture became more open and less subject to blame. The team learned to see errors as a natural event that can’t be changed and embraced the dialogue as a way to catch problems early on.

However, now, the more the organization splits itself up into a variety of teams handling their projects their focus is switching.

People start to pay more attention to their given roles and respective tasks and embrace mastery of filling in this role. What they pay less attention to, is how each role has a specific contribution to their collaboration. The scrum master is there to do what is needed to support the process. The product owner pays attention to making the upcoming work transparent and accessible. The development team members on the other hand are there to decide how to accomplish the work as set forth by the Product Owner.

It is a permission to focus on their part of the work. It eases organizing their work. At the same time, it hides the work others have to do from them. It makes it important for them to master the skills required by their role. It permits them to let go of the skills needed in the other roles.

This has a great advantage to ease the learning of their skills. And the disadvantage to depend on other people having the complementary skills.

In the long term, this can become a challenge for them. Decision and prioritizing skills are left with the product owner. Self-organizing to implement the work is left with the development team members. And it is up to the scrum master to bring the relationship skills into the team.

All of these are skills needed to live together in a group. Shifting the emphasis to one of them establishes a dependency between team members.

Work then needs to happen as if on a production line.



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