Have you been put in charge of a development team but you don’t know what you’re doing? Do you want to get ahead in your organization and don’t care about the price others have to pay? If so, the Best Practice Carpet Bomb might be just the thing for you.
You only need two things to execute this Anti-Practice. First, you must to select a handful of time-intensive best practices. Second, you will need time – enough time to drop one best practice on your team each month.
Try checklists in the first month. They’re in fashion right now. Checklists save lives in the operating room. And anything that helps guys with starting salaries of three hundred thousand dollars has got to provide some boost to your team. Right? Pass the word down that over the next month every member of your team needs to compile five checklists. No, it doesn’t matter that we don’t have a plan for where to put them or how to use them. It doesn’t matter that a forty person department times five checklists equals two hundred new documents that need to be organized and maintained. They’re checklists and they save lives. The more the merrier. And, because this is the new best practice that everyone’s talking about, this just makes us more agile.
Try something completely different the second month.
How about frequent demos? No, not the end of sprint demos to present our shippable product. We DO need to do those, but they’re so 2002. What we need to start doing – because it’s an up-and-coming best practice – is demo to each other so we can show off how cool we are. Team to team. Individual to team. Team to office manager. Whatever audience we can get. And we need to consider our audience and our presentation posture. We don’t demo real applications because they can break during the demo and make us look bad. Screenshots, scripted talks, and multiple rehearsals – that’s the way to do it. No, it can’t be more relaxed just because you work daily with these people. This is about putting the time and effort into effective communication. And that is SO agile.
On to month three. How about mandatory and standardized incident reporting whenever anything breaks? Or let’s mandate that every new idea gets the A3 and paper prototyping treatment. Yes, every new idea. Wait wait I’ve got a better one. Let’s all start internal blogs and we can spend our evenings blogging at each other. Well, no, that’s not an established best practice. That’s ok. We’ve adopted enough best practices from other teams. It’s time to start making our own. We’re gonna be the next Google.
Now, remember, in month three your teams must also sustain the best practices from months one and two. Otherwise, what would be the point of adopting best practices? They are, after all, best practices, which makes them crucial to our success.
The same rules hold true for months four, five and thereafter … until your team crumbles into a pile of malfunctioning bits that have adapted to satisfy a succession of noisy organizational mandates in the place of quality delivery.
And you know the best part about using best practices to wreck teams? You can blame those very teams for their failure. Had they done as you had instructed them, and implemented the best practices correctly, they would have succeeded in their delivery goals. Time your exit right and you’ll be promoted because of your ability to lead and innovate using best practices. You’ll be off to bigger, better opportunities while some poor sap gets conscripted to clean up behind you.