I taught a Geographically Distributed Agile Teams workshop in Israel this week. During the simulation, the “tester” led the “developer”: as in “Let’s do this,” “Here’s what done means,” “ We should do it this way.”
Someone commented that this was “Test(er)-Driven Development.” I laughed.
Then I realized. Aside from “back seat drivers,” this happens all over our organizations. The people at the “end” of the process might drive the front of the process. Here are two more examples.
- Who decides where people sit in your organization? Do the managers, the teams, or the facilities people? Who decides the desks or the cube configurations? This is Facilities-Led Architectural Decisions. Why? because you will get Conway’s Law: The architecture/design of the product will follow where people sit.
- Who decides what to work on? Is it the product owner or the product manager? Or, do you have emergency projects/fixes because no one manages the project portfolio? Or, does everyone decide what to do on their own, because of the rampant multitasking? If no manager makes a decision which project is #1, and says, “Every project is #1, then every person decides him or herself. That means you decide. I decide. It doesn’t matter what our job titles are. We decide. We decide the strategy for the organization. This is Bottom-Up Strategic Decision Making.
We can decide we want to do this. Is Tester-Driven Development wrong? I was a tester like that, many years ago. I made the product better when I asked questions. I didn’t tell that developer what to do or how to do it. But the developer was stuck in his vision of the product. When I asked questions and said things such as, “It doesn’t pass the commercial acceptance tests. I cannot imagine our customers will be happy. Let’s decide on our release criteria as an organization,” I made the conversation involve more than just the developer and me. We ended up with a product that was much better than the one we started with.
My dear adaptable problem solvers, the question of the week this week is “Who is driving your bus?” It might not be the person you think it is.
- Are You Solving Problems MacGyver-Style?
- Who Have You Connected With Today?