When everyone is right 

 14 September 2021

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I like models. So especially models of the world. Because they are so different. And everyone has their own, based on a lifetime of experiences, values and beliefs. These pigeonholes and simplifications make it much easier for us to get through the complexity of the world. To go through everything again and again in epic depth leads to stagnation.

And all models have one thing in common: everyone is right in theirs. It's all logical and arguable why things are this way or that way. Until two world models collide. In the best case, both come out of the discourse smarter, have adjusted their models and happily go their separate ways. In the worst case - and the media and Facebook feeds are full of them right now - there is hating, ranting and shitstorming. You're stupid, I'm right.

Common perceptions

And sometimes the experiences and world models fit well together. We are in agreement. At least some of them. We agree on these commonalities and make standards and frameworks out of them. We put timeboxing, planning and retros into Scrum - that has proven itself. We like to paint a horizontal figure eight in DevOps - this shows the flow. The ISTQB test process gets seven activity groups. And we typecast our employees as sharks or dolphins or put them in colourful pigeonholes.
But not everyone likes that either. Some want to adapt models and try out new things. Yes, are they allowed to do that? Is that agile or can it go?

No rules

Reed Hastings, founder and CEO of Netflix, writes in his book "No Rules Why Netflix is So Successful" about how his company has successively abolished all internal rules. In combination with a high talent density and an intensive feedback culture, Netflix is in top form. Anyone who reads it will notice that there is agility everywhere. But my software QA heart is a bit triggered: So, no rules at all? Not at all? Pfff ... In the end, Reed untangles the knot in my head: if the focus is on innovation, that means: no rules, leading by context, a lot of freedom, self-responsibility, feedback, making mistakes.
If the focus is on avoiding mistakes, on the other hand, it means: processes and rules, leading through control, lots of guidelines.
Another model that I will think about for a few more loops.

Acceptance and diversity

I wonder if Reed Hastings is right. For Netflix, perhaps. Is agility something for every company and every troop? Probably not. Is it okay to do things differently? Absolutely.
Instead of believing that we've learned our lesson by the spoonful, and then loudly reciting it to ourselves, it would sometimes do us good to listen more carefully and just be quiet for a while.
Allowing everyone to have their own model of the world helps me personally and helps the companies I work with. I can tolerate much more quickly and in a more relaxed way when my counterpart doesn't want what I want. I often succeed. Not always by a long shot. After all, I'm only human.

But instead of swinging the "that's the way it's done" advice club, we can set out to find suitable solutions.

But that is also just my model ...

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