Like a preacher without a parish

Today I’ve attended a conference by Rally software. Driving there from Wales together with the development manager formally known as P provided me with plenty of opportunities to discuss the good, the bad and the ugly aspects of the way things are done in our company.

The conference is part of the Agile Success Tour which Rally are organizing. I will leave ‘is agile a good thing or just a hype” to another post. Promise.

But I will say that I really like Rally Software. They sell a software to manage agile projects and consultancy. But they do it in a very smart way, I think. They realise there are impediments that prevent them from selling these. Reluctance to adopt agile I assume is the biggest one. So how do they go about it? Brilliantly if you ask me, though only the future will tell. They support a community, the encourage it and they provide free seminars, with good food. If you want to learn – you just need to either attend or go to their website. If you’re not converted, they’ll talk and help and coach. So if I weren’t clear so far – I like their proactive approach.

So why do I go on about Rally? Well, this takes me back to the 3 hour car journey in each direction, and me preaching. It’s not that P is not a good audience. Actually he is good. Too good. We agreed about too many things. Well, that is not entirely correct; we’ve agreed about everything.Church of snail

I only feel that I have all that preaching to do… but no one to preach to. Occasional victim aside, no parish.

It is not that I always right. Lord knows I am extremely smart, as my mother once told me, but I can’t be always right. Can I? Every time I preach that we are doing something wrong I never get someone telling me that I am wrong. Which makes me wander if this is how it feels to be a woman.

It is not that I want to be a preacher. Quite the contrary. I want to have nothing to say, though if you know me it is unlikely. I want to look around and maybe just be able to comment on a few things. Not on everything. If someone would give me a parish to lead to salvation then I’d do it. Preaching the gospel of my vast knowledge and ability. And good looks. And flowing hair. Ahh, you get the point. Or at least let me try to not fail.

I want management to lead. I want to look up and say “wow”. I want to feel I can follow them through think and thin. I want them to look me in the eye and have a spark, a testament to the fact they are no plodders. I want development managers to actively manage. Not just give tasks. I want them to develop their people. I want team leaders to lead. To show the way. To push, to pull to shout “follow me, I know the way”. To coach.

I want the tendency to gold-plate everything to disappear. To get some sense of humility. Just because something can be done on paper doesn’t mean it should be done. Let alone by us. If it is not our company’s business, we should avoid doing it. If it doesn’t promote our business – let someone else do it. If we write a server and all our clients have their own web-screens, then it is ok to write several neat web-screens to showcase our genius server. We don’t need to write the most advance infrastructure that would enable my mother to add screens. My mother isn’t going to. And frankly, I don’t want her to as she lacks knowledge of our business. Let’s put some pretty screens in three months and not develop an infrastructure for two years.

By the way, my mother, even if she wanted, still cannot add screens as the result was, aham, complicated. And no one needed it.

I want our company to start learning from one another. The silo culture is killing us. No need for everybody to bang their heads on the very same bumps. A thousands times. My team – we scream and shout about these bumps. But no one listens. Heck, our managers ignore us instead of making sure knowledge cascades. We show by example and not just state claims.

In our team we believe that an Agile approach is good for our company. We turned a client that hated us to one that loves us. We adopted Agile concepts. We did it under the radar gritting our teeth to adhere to ‘protocol’. It worked for us, and it saved money and the client is happy after god-knows how long. So why is everyone so happy to ignore us?

I want to shake a rattle stuff and people. To take the group of extremely capable people and throw them out of their comfort zones. To take the comfortable sofa they’ve been sitting in and burn it. Make them stretch their limbs.


Feel better? A little. Another session of preaching is over.

’till next time.


About snailonabike
I cycle, I run, I live, I have a family, I write code for a living, I have an opinion

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