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Tom discovered Agile Development in 2003 and spent the next 8 years, together with his team at, improving their process and blogging about his discoveries. He has a particular interest in the psychology of keeping Agile agile and not letting it slip back into the evil old ways! He believes a Scrummaster should also be a developer and codes ASP.NET and C# most of the time. Tom is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 44 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

Fear Causes Us to Build the Wrong Thing

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The classic tale of a year-long project finally being delivered only to discover it doesn’t meet the needs of the customer sounds ridiculous in the days of short iterations and customer collaboration but I’m guessing we are still a long way from delivering what’s really needed effectively. So what’s stopping us?

  1. Is it the fear of feedback that stops us showing work in progress
  2. Is it the fear of admitting that we need to abandon the plan when we discover something new
  3. Is it the fear of throwing away work done when people tell us it’s not what they need
  4. Is it the fear of what others will say when we admit our assumptions were wrong
  5. Is it the fear of embarrassment when we discover what was really needed was much simpler
  6. Is it the fear of punishment when our boss discovers the work we did will not be useful to the customer (even though it created insight into what was needed)
  7. Is it the fear of people questioning our competence
  8. Is it the fear of what people say if we don’t look busy, when we are thinking about a different approach
  9. Is it the fear of what people say if we don’t look busy when discussing ideas with others
  10. Or are we just conditioned (by fear) not to think differently and to take the safest path

Finding the best solution to the problem takes courage, courage needs support – support through collaboration which needs openness. We are fearful because we are not open and openness takes courage.

Fear creates fear.

If we want to build the right thing we must start with a workplace without fear.

Building the right thing requires listening, patience, empathy and imagination

(resources that are scarce in the prevalent business mindset)

Published at DZone with permission of Tom Howlett, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)


Nikolas Lotz replied on Mon, 2013/05/13 - 10:41am

I fear you could be right... o_0

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