David and Goliath

March 31, 2010

What if we uncover impediments, we make their impact visible to the organization, but we don’t have the authority to make any changes to alter the state of affairs ourselves? How does it make you feel?

It can make you feel very, very, small.

This feeling is especially acute the larger the organization you are part of is. You feel like a lone voice in the wilderness. It’s tempting to give up. That’s when we need to switch gears and put on our change agent hats (in my case: a pith helmet). There are some great guides for effecting change in large organizations (e.g. Linda Rising’s Fearless Change). It requires building a long term adoption strategy, getting a mentor, obtaining sponsors, and generally girding ones loins for a long term effort.

Taking on the corporate Goliath is real work. It requires a stubborn streak of truly epic proportions. It ain’t easy being David, but the rewards, for you, the organization, and ultimately your customers, are worth it.

Impediments are the Measure of a Good Team Leader

March 22, 2010

Overcoming impediments is not for the timid. It requires a single minded purpose, a completely uncompromising attitude, in order to overcome the obstacles that face your team. For the scrum master, it is the impediments that you face that will define your skill and ability as a team leader. Every impediment that you fail to address reduces your value to the team. Every impediment you are able to remove increases your value to the team. It’s really that simple. Remember that the next time you face a daunting impediment that blocks the team’s progress.

The only use of an obstacle is to be overcome. All that an obstacle does with brave men is, not to frighten them, but to challenge them.
– Woodrow Wilson