When I finished my private pilot course a few years ago, I started flying a small plane to visit the surrounding airports. And it didn’t take long for me to start bringing my friends and colleagues with me. My confidence grew and after about a year I had the feeling, like many other novice pilots, that I was already flying great. My instructor noticed this at the time and showed me during a joint flight that my skills were only at the beginner level. Powerful experience. 🙂 I left sweaty and a little ashamed of myself.
To this day, however, I am grateful to him for doing so. Helping to find humility for what you do can save lives. And why am I telling you this? A similar loss of humility can often be found in the agile world.
Humility in an agile world
Whether you’re dealing with Scrum or Kanban, you’ll soon find that it’s not at all difficult to adjust the team’s process. After about a year, some of the agilists may succumb to the impression, as I did with flying, that they already know their craft perfectly. But appearances are deceiving. It can happen to individuals, entire teams, scrum masters and coaches, or even managers.
Courage, which is one of the Scrum values, is not the same as ego. And if you do not realize it in time, what can happen?
- You will lose the necessary context for decisions if you stop listening to colleagues
- You can move away from the place of approaching an agile way of working
- You will lose the willingness to learn from your mistakes
- You won’t be willing to get help from more senior agile coaches
- Changes in teams or the entire agile transformation will fail. As a result, people’s trust in the functionality of agile approaches will be shaken.
We all learn, so the problem of losing humility and ego growth does not avoid scrum masters or agile coaches. In this case, it leads, for example, to the promotion of meaningless changes that will not help the team. At other times, they show too strong emotions when discussing changes that need to be introduced. This then demotivates the team to engage in the changes.
What has worked for me
We are all different, and so is the culture in different companies. Therefore, each of us may have different experience, what works for him with building humility in agile teams. A few basic rules have proven themselves to me:
- With building humility, start with yourself and try to inspire others.
- To show people what it is possible to gradually educate themselves in the field of agility and how long the journey awaits them. Prepare and publish development plans for various agile roles. For example, our article Mindmap – What should a good scrum master/agile coach be able to do? can serve as an inspiration for scrum masters.
- Trying to create a transparent and safe environment – because without objective feedback and with the growth of the ego, the possibilities for people’s development disappear. People should be able to not only give feedback, but also accept it.
I will be glad if you share with us what works for you and what does not. And if, on the contrary, you would be looking for inspiration yourself, do not hesitate to contact us.