Thursday, October 13, 2016

Who is the Them that is blocking You?

Most people think they are better than average. (or so 'they' say...)

I ran a session yesterday - an introduction to Agile.

A group of people (managers, Scrum Masters, Analysts, you know - people...) was introduced to the Agile Manifesto.

The manifesto is basically a short belief system in the format of:

We value X over Y  (example: we value Responding to change over following a plan)


Hence, after a short discussion about the short value-set, I asked them to vote.
Q: For each of the four - do you agree
(1: I value the one on the right more, 3: I value both the same, 5: I value the one on the left more)

Summing the results, it sounded promising!

- Votes on all four values were in the 3-5 range. (example: we indeed value Responding to change over following a plan)
- Hence, everyone is aligned on the value-set! great news!

Perceived misalignment

Next question: Does your environment share these values? (to what extent do the entities you interact with value Responding to change over following a plan?)

And (as you might expect?) most results are in the 2-3 range (They value Following a plan over Responding to change!! )

And now, for the key question...
Who are these They?

Perceptional bias?

And then it hit me!

Assuming the people in the session represent the organization, how come everyone's surrounding values agility less than the people in the room?

Hence They, are the perceived We!

Could it be that everyone is reluctant to "go agile" because everyone is afraid of everyone's response? everyone wants to change but thinks the others will resist??

Think about it 'till nextime, will you?

Your Scrum'em Bear.


  1. I caught your article on the (but not now) Manifesto and thought it was a great read. It in fact pulled me into this article. I really do agree with a lot of what you are saying here, but I wanted to ask: What about people like me who are brought into an organization to help them change and face the all too familiar "yes but we are different," or any of the other "yes but..." scenarios? I am constantly facing these kinds of road blocks. Any advice?

  2. My best advice is to reflect what you see in a sharp (some people may say Cruel) and emphatic way.

    Everyone is different!
    -Think of an Average person... have a clear image.
    - And now, please tell me: is it a male or a female?

    So Advice #1: respect their difference.

    Advice #2: Eliminate the "But" in their sentence, make them say "Yes AND we are different"

    Advice #3: Use relevant humor (funny videos, caricature, jokes), since this helps people detach from their ego and laugh about something that reflects their situation.

    Advice #4: The All-Mighty WIIFM (I wrote about it here: )

    Let me know!