Respect and Trust
Portia stresses the importance of Respect and Trust as agile values. Respect for people is one of the two core principles of Lean.
Trust and respect from leaders and managers is crucial to a great team.
But trust and respect is not a one-way street. It goes both ways.
Do you trust and respect your leaders and managers?
If not, why not?
They might take the wrong decision
A long, long time ago in a company far away from here, management asked the software development teams to come up with options and estimates to renew our product line and move to a different platform.
The senior architect presented a proposal with a ludicrously high number of features for a ludicrously low estimate. I couldn’t see how we could ever implement that much in so little time.
When I asked the architect about his estimate, he answered with a straight face “Oh, I know it will take 6 times as long as that estimate.”
If he knew this, why had he quoted such a low estimate?
“Well, if I tell them the real estimate, management will take the wrong decision.” Meaning: they would not go with his proposal.
Well, if management had known that this proposal would take 6 times as long to implement, they would have been worried. Was this project worth the investment? Wouldn’t customers become impatient if they had to wait so long? Would our current platform become obsolete before we could move to the new platform? They would have thought long and hard before launching this project. They still might not have taken the “right” decision, but at least they would have had better information.
As it turned out, the project did not take 6 times, but 10 times the original estimate to complete. If management would have known it would take so long, they would have worried that this project might bring the company down. As it nearly did…
A bit later, in another company I was in a similar situation. Only now I was on the “other side”. I learned that I had not gotten some information from the development team. They were afraid of giving me this information. I felt awful when I realized this. I couldn’t imagine what they could be afraid of, but I must have done something (or ommitted to do something) to earn that distrust.
I was out of my depth. I realized that now that I was a manager, I had started to do things that I hated in people who managed me. Luckily for me, there were some people who weren’t afraid of telling me the ugly truth.
I’m better at respecting and trusting than I was, but I’m still learning. Sometimes I still feel, as one of the participants of the “Mirror Mirror” session at SPA 2008 said, I need to “out-evil the Evil Queens”. Why do I see some people as Evil Queens? What can I do to understand their goals and motivations better?
If you’re a manager and/or a leader (and who isn’t?), what can we do to earn that respect and trust? Maybe we can start by investing a bit of respect and trust. Respect and Trust for everyone we work with.