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Whose fault is it? Who did this? Was it them or us? …


AUTHOR: Malene Marie Bendixen Jacobsen, Agile Coach

Whose fault is it? Who did this? Was it them or us? …

We all hear questions like these in our team when something goes wrong. It is part of our human nature to blame each other to protect ourselves, but is it suitable for an agile environment?

Agile is all about courage, commitment, making decisions, learning from our mistakes and so much more.

After living by the agile manifesto for many years, every time I hear a question like this I think to myself, does it really matter whose fault it is? Why do we want to blame somebody instead of solving the problem? What are we getting out of questions like these? I always come to the same conclusion. We do not get anything productive out by asking these questions. In fact, I think it causes a bigger risk for the team. For example:

In an agile environment, we want people to have the courage to make decisions so that the team can move forward and get the software developed. By blaming a person for their mistake we are risking taking the confidence from this person. Next time he/she will not have the courage to make a decision and by not making a decision we are risking not being able to continue our development of the software and therefore fail as a team.

In my opinion, all agile teams should have this sentence as their mantra:

Any decision is better than no decision!

In an agile environment, we need people to have the courage to make decisions so that we can continue and progress. If a decision turns out to be bad, it is important that we do not blame one another but learn from it, so that we get better at making the right decisions in the future.

So stop blaming each other by asking questions like these. Instead, embrace problems, learn from them and we will come closer to a successful agile environment.

Good luck on your agile journey.

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