The intersection of technology and leadership

Consequences of Hiding Information

Last week reminded me how hard communication is to get right. Last week reminded me of how important it is to be visible with information as early as possible. Last week reminded me of what happens with the people involved don’t have access to information early.

Successful teams applying agile principles quickly involve those impacted by the situation, equipping them with as much information as early as possible. These teams call upon agile practices such as daily stand up meetings, retrospectives, and frequent showcases to achieve this. Better and earlier access to information helps all parties involved come up with more options. More options creates more opportunities to have better conversations, and more opportunities to collaborate to meet everyone’s needs, and ultimately end up with a solution that everyone is more likely to feel committed to.

Compare this to those teams who hoard information, selecting and filtering the information others hear. Filtering and transforming information limits the number of options, often adding additional stress because the team now how to come up with the perfect option. Even with contributions from others, the pool of options will often be tainted by solutions not entirely appropriate or relevant. More importantly, if the people affected by a decision aren’t involved, they will end up less committed to the solution and often, cause more problems because of resentment.

No one likes to be handed decisions. That’s why the Agile Manifesto emphasises “Individuals and Interactions”, and a key principle of Lean Thinking is “Respect for People”.

The moral? Remember to involve the appropriate people in the decision making process as early as possible. Even if you suspect there is only going to be one solution, be transparent with the information you do have in the hope you may end up with more options, or at least, the outcome is no surprise.

1 Comment

  1. Cobus

    I agree 100%! This does not mean however that information sharing happens automatically in an agile environment. The team lead / scrum master plays a vital part in assimilating the information and putting it to work in the right places. Great post!

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