Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bottlenecks for knowledge sharing within agile teams (India centric)

Performers Vs Non performers 

Whenever I conduct the SCRUM workshops within India, one regular 
question I have to address consistently is about 'What to do with non- 
performers within the team?'. For me, the whole corporate system or as 
a country itself, everything is tuned to protect the weak. Thanks to 
the democrats and the communists. The entire system is built around 
protecting the weak. Hence I am able to empathize with the project 
managers when he is more worried about the non performers in the team 
rather than the performers. We must understand the fact that SCRUM 
teams must comprise of performers (mentally and physically fit). 
Marcus Buckingham in his book 'First break all rules' says very 
clearly that the best of the managers worldwide are biased towards 
performers and in fact they spend more time with the performers rather 
than non-performers. It does not mean that non-performers must be 
ignored. They must get the support and the consideration they deserve, 
and it must not be at the expense of performers. Let us all admit the 
fact that corporate life is all about capitalism and capitalists not 

Individualists Vs Team players 

Since most of the management wisdom within India is borrowed from the 
west, 'Team work is always promoted'. An Indian Psyche is always 
'Individualistic' while whatever is promoted within the corporates is 
'Team work'. So every Indian acts like a team player to gain 
acceptance, while actually he is not. In India, even to get a seat in 
a bus, we have to struggle, rather we have to compete. Naturally we 
are tuned to compete with others, where as the organizational cultures 
within India are blind copies from the west, which promotes team work. 
What must be really promoted within teams in India is 'Team work of 
the Individually competent'. First of all everyone has to prove their 
mettle individually, and after that we can talk about team work. 

Parenting attitude of the managers 

Most of the Indians like to go to beaches, and at the same time 
majority of the Indians do not swim in the sea. Thanks to the highly 
protective parenting prevailing within India. The highly protective 
parent do not allow the kid to experiment, rather they are driven 
through the least risky- proven paths. This leads to lack of 
innovation, poor risk taking and underdevelopment of potential and 
skills. Once these kids graduate as managers, they also start 
exhibiting the 'parental traits' while managing the teams, leading to 
under development of skill sets. Actually they are damaging the teams 
and at the same time they believe that they are building the teams. 
This is very dangerous. 

These are some of the burning points coming to my mind while thinking 
of the cultural issues in agile teams within India. India is the 
country where the maximum lines of software code is written, and at 
the same time not many killer products have come from India ... may be 
these could be some of the real root causes.

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