@#$% the Dip!

Photo by Thomas Hawk

Photo by Thomas Hawk

In working at various companies, I've come across a common concern from managers when we start talking about their teams learning something new:

"How long will we be in the Dip?"

"When will be out of the Dip?"

"How can we avoid the Dip?"

It seems that we've come to understand that learning something new involves an initial dip in productivity or results, and now managers are trying to decide when is the right time for the learning to happen.


In my experience, delaying learning is a bad choice. Clearly the status quo is not sufficient, which is why the subject came up at all. Typically it's around the technical practices learning needed to become a two-star team. It's often not as bad as we imagine it to be, and empirical methods help us evaluate progress along the way.

Promote learning when there is interest or need. Support it when it's difficult. The Dip was not meant to deter us from trying new things. It's about the journey to mastery.

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.