This was a draft post I had here for a long time, it’s a rainy dark day here in berlin today. Looks like a nice day to release this post :).
The Deliver Crap Project
Sometimes people forget their purpose while creating products or services: to serve a need. I would go further and say: to satisfy a human need, because if you look closer to your business it all comes down to this: satisfying a human need – even if that only means to get a few old bats richer (educated folks call it shareholders)
While forgetting their purpose (to extinguish needs), some people (unfortunately not yet extincted as dinosaurs are, but quite similar to them) like to focus on other stuff like time, or number of “resources” they “control”.
To this unbalanced ecosystem of needs, purpose, resources, time, people, and whatever the late bring into it (emotions, motivation, anger, greed, aspirations, …) someone called Projects.
I like to see projects as a love triangle : Time, People and Scope.
When things “go wrong” (aka: expectations are not being achieved) then everyone thinks about messing up with our love-triangle..but:
If we mess up with time:
Team perspective: our sustainable pace will be endangered
Managers Perspective: I won’t ask my customer for more time or we’ll loose face
If we mess up people:
Team perspective: team pace will slowdown cause if more people (new to the project) join, we need to ramp them up. Nobody trust us to get our job done, all they care is money.
Managers perspective: I’ll have to pay more people (OMG, Thi OPEX monster returns)… plus, if this bunch can’t handle it why the hell would I just add more of the kind, let’s just whip them
If we mess up Scope:
Team perspective: ok, looks wise because it’s nonsense to change time or people now. Ah! We knew it was to much since they pushed this..
Managers: damn it! I’m loosing functionality, I can’t drop anything else… I want it all! Lazy bastards
Of course that, by now, you already understood the Manager in this post is not such a wise guy (nor the team I would add). Or, they are all just being pressured by all other non-scrum, non-agile, non-whatever entities around them who want sparky shiny neaty cheap new awesome blasting profitable stuff in the market.
Nevertheless all this, what actually happens is that most of times: nothing really changes- nor time, nor people nor scope (all we have are some small changes in this variables):
- Ok guys, so John from the other team will give you a hand 2 hours a day.
- Ok guys, so we will drop that feature where the customer can listen to Star Wars theme while writing emails.
(this is my favourite cause it really happened in one of my previous jobs- Oh OH I really really have to write a new post about it!) ..but it goes something like this:
- Ok guys, so we can release 1 week later then agreed, because as I know you are always late* I actually promised the customer the release 2 weeks after the date I requested you.
*It was worse than this but I’ll post it later.
So in the end what we do is keep on feeding our wishful thinking. We evolved from gods to god and from god to the It-all-will-be-ok-believers.
When nothing changes because people don’t want to listen and adapt, only one thing can happen:
Team delivers the functionality committed, on the day committed to their customer. Not bad hum? Specially because this is what we want in the first place. The catchy question is: what is being delivered? I tell you: crap.
We’ll sell low-quality functionalities, we’ll sell bugs and we’ll sell technical debt. Plus we’ll sell our public image to the devil when customers start talking to each other on how our company releases products and then sends dozens of engineers to work 24×7 in customer’s premises to fix their own..CRAP!
You know what we are doing here with this fake solutions? We are loosing time. The right time to do the right thing.
It’s amazingly hard to face problems, of course it is. But that is life. Just face it. Stop dreaming that it all will be perfect, cause it won’t.
You have the power to change things, and this silly thingy of quick feedback (even when it all looks bad) is good for you: it allows you to take decision before it’s too late. So talk, discuss, share concerns and solutions, focus on the customer needs, on real purpose. Focus on what you can do and not on what you can’t!
So, to all the managers who can take decisions I say:
Grab your balls mister. Do your job. Being manager can sometimes be a shit, but that’s why you are here: to help us not to send crap to our customers. And if you think you can solve things by pressuring the team and pushing the impossible scope, think twice- all you’ll get is double crap.
To all the managers who CAN’t take decisions I say:
Find a new job, we don’t need you. We already have enough cables to quietly lay around the room.
To all the teams I say:
You can say no and you can explain why. You are own the product as much as the manager does, you have the right and responsibility to fight for it.
And in the end, even after you speak your mind out no one listen, then… just make as much crap as you can. For sure you are in the right place to be rewarded for it.
Did you notice we spend more time at office than at home? what does this tell you?
Looking fwd for your answer :D!
Have a nice day,