One my problems at work is that I know too much.
I’ve said before that I’m not the world’s strongest software developer. One of the attractions that a facilitative role like Scrum Master or Agile Coach has for me is that it lets me help people who are better developers than me become even better. When I focus on process and detach from outcomes, I really can help the team get more for itself.
The problem is that recently I’ve been working in areas where I am one of the more knowledgeable people on team. When I’m a subject matter expert at the same time I’m trying to be a process owner, I have hard time letting of my desire for particular results. That can compromise my neutrality as a facilitator, which is never good.
This week, for example, I got very frustrated with a team member for doing something different than we had decided.1 I was concerned with what I saw as a breach of our established procedures, but I think responded more strongly than I would have otherwise because I disagreed with the substance of the changes. I tried to stay neutral by only bringing up the procedural objection, but I don’t think that worked. Maybe I should have disclosed my technical objections as well. It’s still not clear to me what the right thing to do was.
This is something I’ve struggled with a lot at work, as I’ve been asked to wear technical contributor and coaching hats. I’m starting to see it change as the team matures, and I’ve been able to deliberately let other members overtake my knowledge in particular areas. That feels weird to do at times, but in the long run I think it’s the best choice for the team and for me.
Either way, it’s a lot easier to be a facilitator when I genuinely know nothing about what we’re dealing with.
UpdateFitness: Ran 5 miles
Sun, Moon, and Stars: 534 words, 201 seven-day average, 261 average, 35499 total, 501 go for the week; 3-day streak
1 I realized today, while working through The Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making, that this may have been caused by a lack of clear decision rules, which meant that I thought we had moved to action while he thought we were still deciding.