Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Fragile Managerfesto Patterns: Bad Boss Behaviors

This is a video in draft form of what I want to become a launching pad for demonstrating many "Bad Boss Behaviors" and the remedies for them that agile practices bring.

So far in this one we have:
  1. Barge In Boss: Manager, unaware of what an employee is working on, interrupts him.
    1. Agile Remedy: Visible Workspace and Tools
  2. Belittler Boss: Denigrates the employee's desire to improve the customer experience
    1. Agile Remedy: clear values and an outward, customer focus
  3. Pinheaded Policy Pushing Boss: Imposes strict, top-down, and very draconian policy requirements on the employee.
    1. Agile Remedy: living standards and openness to modern and changing realities
  4. I'm Louder = More Power Boss: the boss, when his thinking is challenged, responds by speaking louder, emphasizing he has more power than the employee.
    1. Agile Remedy: a flatter structure, managers who are not bosses, but service-oriented leaders and hands-on
  5. Priorities Ping Pong Boss: this boss exercises his control by shifting employees from one priority project to another at will, often leaving a trail of unfinished work behind.
    1. Agile Remedy: singluar focus until completion on tasks and projects, not rapid reassignment based on a "fighting fires" approach.
  6. Everything's Easy and Instant Boss: this boss assures you that your new assignment is simple, will not take long, and must be done instantly, no matter what. These bosses continually assign a fixed, non-negotiable amount of work to someone and require that it be completed by a fixed, non-negotiable, and arbitrary deadline. In software development, this is a typical "waterfall" or "big bang all at once" approach.
 This list is a simple draft too. But, I really like having short-hand names for these bad behavior patterns, so it would also be nice to have short-hand names for the good behaviors.

We're going to record the results of what happens with an Everything's Easy and Instant Boss does push his a arbitrary deadline onto a much smaller scale: that of reading a couple of paragraphs. It's kind of an obvious failure case, isn't it? But, if a human being cannot predict with any accuracy how long a couple of paragraphs will take to read aloud, then why do they keep getting away with telling customers that a project can be "complete with high quality and correctness" by an arbitrary deadline?

Things that make you go Hmmmmmm.