Vulnerability theory to build Agile teams

According to Brene Brown, Vulnerability is the birth place of Creativity, Innovation and Change. The rest of this blog is my own view on the implementation of Vulnerability in Agile teams.

Creativity is the ability of the team to create customer valued products.

Innovation is the ability of the team and product manager to come up with features which address the real pains of the customer and provide him gains which he hasn’t thought about.

A creative team may not be innovative. Its members can produce products which don’t have breakthrough features which delight the customer. Also, an innovative team might fail if it were not creative because of not able to deliver the innovative features at quality level which satisfy the customer.

Change is the transformation needed to enable the team to be creative and innovative.

We don’t like to be vulnerable because this might lead to shame. Assume defects were escaped to the customer, probably this can cause recalls and distortion of the whole company reputation. Probably the team will feel shame. But I would argue that implementing XP practices and test automation can not prevent defects with out having the team members being vulnerable.

Being vulnerable means having the courage as a team member to expose issues or potential risks in code even if they were from his make. Being vulnerable means even if the environment is not safe, I can talk in a way exposing issues I made.

In most stand-ups, reported impediments were attributed to dependencies and/or management.

Two scenarios for impediments reporting can be.

1) Vulnerable team members
– a tester says their should be additional automated tests for adequate coverage but I can’t write.
– a developer says, my code is brittle because I didn’t refactor enough.

2) Non vulnerable team members
– the tester would say all tests are complete based on the stories, if something is missing that means a requirement is missing.
– the developer will say, the code is refactored and complete according to Junit and stories.

Vulnerability is weakness in the eye of non-safe culture which has non articulated team values. The reality is that Vulnerability is strength because we got the courage to expose ourselves so that we can address the root cause.

Scenario 1 above can address the root cause by implementing meaningful process changes. Scenario 2 can lead to contention and lack of joint ownership on the work.

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