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Agile Notes (No. 61)
Collaborative Conflict Resolution
Welcome! Welcome! Welcome! Hello new subscribers! What topics are you looking for? How can we spark discussions in the comments? I hope you stick around to the end - I want to try something.
This week, we continue with Collaboration Explained by Jean Tabaka. We are moving on to Chapter 18: Managing Conflict.
This section starts off with a scenario that I have seen a few times. Tabaka writes:
So, if a consensus check reveals any votes of “one” (completely disagree) or “two” (have reservations about the recommendation), you have a responsibility to address the disagreement and concerns constructively.
At my last company, we were trying to adopt Scaled Agile. Some day, once the statute of limitations wears off on my separation agreement, I will post a picture of one of the dependency checks. I refer to the screen grab as a “Murder Board” with so many red lines criss-crossing the screen that you can’t see the story cards underneath.
But I digress. The quote above highlights a major [in my opinion] problem we had. At the end of the Program Increment Planning, there would be a confidence vote. Confidence that we could complete the work that was planned over the last few days. There was one lone soldier out there who would ALWAYS put up a vote of “one.” He did not have confidence that we could meet the goals of the Program Increment. And EVERY time he was brushed aside or outright steamrolled. He kept climbing out on that tree limb.
BECAUSE HE WAS RIGHT!
That scenario repeated itself a few times until we gave up on Scaled. The company was not interested in resolving the conflicts that were at the heart of the reasons why we couldn’t deliver.
However, as Tabaka writes, we had a RESPONSIBILITY to address the concerns. We tried. But we couldn’t. They were institutional problems. And the institution was not interested. (I want to emphasize this - it was the Company and NOT the people leading/running the PI.)
We should have used the guidance Tabaka provides in the screen grab. Those questions are a great starting point to dig into a conflict. Facts and data! (Facta et data! I might have to get t-shirts made.) I love that she recommends selecting champions for each “side” of the conflict. The questions will really help everyone involved understand the WHOLE picture. Leave emotion out of it.
How about you? Tell us how you have resolved conflict. What did you do to shepherd your group through it? What kind of tools have you implemented?
OK - now for an idea I am noodling around. I start a new job on Monday. I have been out of work since October. I know there are others out there that are looking. I’m thinking about using this platform to highlight people that are looking for work. Each week, we could share one person, a short bio and what kind of work they are looking for and then see if we can get them placed. Let me know what you think in the comments. And if you are looking, get me your info. I want to help. I completely understand the grind. It takes a toll.
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