Time to Think Together

Photo by Michael Yat Kit Chung

Photo by Michael Yat Kit Chung

Sometimes I find myself stuck over-analyzing a situation and wondering what to do next. If the system or situation I'm considering is understood well-enough, the next step should be clear. Or so I tell myself. When it is not clear, I am often reminded that others need to be involved in creating the next step--I only have a fraction of the information available to me. Inviting others to reflect and plan based on what we collectively know typically yields a better result too.

The benefits of inviting others to create and support change has been on my mind. I've been reading Margaret Wheatley's articles on organizational change, leadership, and relationships, and there are a lot of science references in her work. It's intriguing. And this passage stood out to me:

A simple means to support and develop relationships is to create time to think together as staff. Time to think together has disappeared in most organizations. This loss has devastated relationships and led to increasing distrust and disengagement. Yet when a regular forum exists where staff can share their work challenges, everything improves. People learn from each other, find support, create solutions, and gradually discover new capabilities from this web of trusting relationships.

Having worked in a number of organizations, I have seen how pressed people can be for time during the work day--it can feel like there's not enough time to meaningfully engage in conversations for regular events like sprint planning or retrospectives. I have yet to meet a team who can have a real retrospective of a 2-week sprint in under 30 minutes, although many have tried. It can be even more challenging to have time with those outside of the scrum team. When calendars are full and only small time slots are available with everyone, it is easy to feel defeated. Create the regular forum for thinking together, and over time, it may grow. And everything will improve.

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.