A lot of conflicting thoughts on this subject in my head at the moment. Let’s see if trying to put it in writing helps 🙂
There’s a big difference between asking and demanding, right? If that’s correct why so many people are not seeing that difference?
I was reminded recently that a role of a scrum master is to remove blockers. In this case, a story was not progressing as the person lacked technical knowledge. There are people in other teams that have that knowledge and they have been asked to help if they can spare the time. Funny thing is the people with knowledge are on my other team so with the other objective of scrum master – minimise disruption, all I can do is ask (maybe they need a break in their task or wait for deployment), I cannot just tell them to drop what they are doing and run over to the other task.
But scrum master headaches aside, should you ever get blocked by “I don’t know how to do it”. There’s no permissions, access, tools or process stopping the learning and filling in the gap. Surely, relying purely on other teams and stating at the stand up that “I sat all day waiting for help” isn’t the best approach to take. Granted sending another experienced person to help would have accelerated the learning but maybe that would have been another shortcut?
“Develop competence” is one of the eyes of the management 3.0 alien and so is “Energise people”. So with the remove blockers and prevent disruption hats on I had to find a way towards these goals and to get that task done. The best one I found was being honest in the planning sessions and even more conservative in estimates of the unknowns. This will in time be working towards developing people by giving them room to learn and grow … if they want to commit to that. The challenge that I think is much harder how do you inspire (Energise as stated above) to learn, drop their fears of saying “I do not know” and see that as an opportunity rather than a threat. I think that is harder because that is not just my attitude, that is mainly defined by other people around the learner and the environment and office atmosphere. Back to Jurgen’s book on changing the world for more ideas 🙂