Different shades of Yes

Training and coaching are important when implementing any new paradigm. Scrum is no exception. But beyond formal assistance, enthusiasm is required, belief, trust, support. After all, it is… change.

Scrum makes enterprises find fun in being competitive again by re-uniting people beyond organizational borders around corporate objectives. But it cannot be forced onto people in an downward way only, nor in an exclusive upward way. Although downstream adoption might seem obvious, it is not always. It can make the real source of improvements unclear. And upstream adoption is surely a lot harder, you can’t do without. Scrum done well, no matter how simple the framework, will transform the way of work so deeply that it will not happen unidirectional only. Because there is more to Agile than meets the eye

Even confirming a transformation may hold various forms of Yes:

It is very clear that the most desirable attitude is the “Yes, and” form. The minimal form within it is that people mean that they will go for it and will resolve possible impediments. Yes, and we will fix whatever comes in our way. Even better is people saying Yes while thinking ahead, about emerging options and how to already further exploit the adoption. Yes, and we will try x and y as well.

Most commonly people will act from a “Yes, but” attitude. Primary reluctant. Doubting. A tendency to raise objections. Yes, but what about z. This is in general not insurmountable, but it might take time to answer or remove the objections. Wanting to do so requires empowerment, may be time-consuming and is therefore to be observed carefully for real progress. 

Dangerous is the “Yes, but no” response. It represents a political “Yes”, that is at the same time a factual “No”. The promise of a firm decision takes away the conversation. Working results are doubted and blocked again and again. If reviewed at all. Variants include “Yes, but not now“, “Yes, but not all at once“, “Yes, but not too much at the same time“. And new variants will pop up as you try to move forward.

A hideous sub-form is the “Yes, but reality” disguise. Reality can probably not be denied, but is also a very flat generalization. A small dissection will show that ‘Reality’ refers to the existing status quo, where the core idea of change is to challenge that, to build a new reality. This is a very bad case of “Yes, but no” answer.

But, don’t be distracted or discouraged. After all, it is just… change.

Popo Emotions Icons by Rokey.

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