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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Team Tips - 7 {I, Robot}


Here's a challenge from some who have heard about, but not fully experienced, the Core Protocols in action:
Using protocols of behaviour turns us into robots.
Sure.
And the use of best practices in our work puts us in process hell, building quality into our results is expensive, rules inhibit creativity, great results require huge effort, and the earth is flat.

Just in case you haven't guessed yet, I have a bias. Yes, I am a fan of the Simple Rules and Tools for great teams – the Core Protocols from McCarthy Technologies.

And my bias is toward action, getting the best results with the least effort, being clear and explicit in communications, using standards of process to provide consistency of quality wherever possible, and promoting creativity and excellence.

If you have an uncontrollable urge to “roll your own” and be as free as bird with no constraints in developing and providing your particular product or service, then fill your boots.

I trust you won't be offended if I don't get into your car for the next trip across town, or get into the aircraft your company provides for travel. I'm just not that comfortable in blowing through stop signs and red lights because they are too constraining. Nor would I be thrilled if the pilots for my next flight didn't care to check the aircraft, do any pre-flight cockpit work, ignore air traffic control, and attempt the take-off from the taxiway with only fumes in the fuel tanks.

Yup; those dang protocols do inhibit things.

Like:
  • using all the comfortable legacy behaviours that aren't productive and deliver low quality results
  • having low bandwidth communication full of blather and unspoken assumptions
  • spending more time on project management than on producing product
  • getting tangled up in whining, complaining, and the Drama Triangle
  • producing mediocre products or services so we don't achieve too much revenue

So if you are getting your very best results already, if you are sure there is nothing you can gain by trying a different approach, if you are completely, outrageously happy, financially secure, and have absolutely nothing else to offer the world, then please ignore the Core Protocols. Instead, please send me your own protocols.

The commitments from the Simple Rules and Tools include using the Tools – the Protocols – or something better. So I'm serious. If you have something better I need to know.

But in the meantime give the Simple Rules and Tools a try. How does any idea become a reality except by eventually trying it out and looking at the results?

Mainframe computers, became mini computers, became personal computers, became laptops, became hand held devices, etc. Computer assembly languages fostered compilers and interpreters, etc. Waterfall project management became more agile with – you know.

If you feel that protocols would turn you into a robot, then perhaps you need to be the one to show how they don't have to.

Of course you can also persist in ignoring the success of the Simple Rules and Tools, and sail your boat off the edge of the world.

Your call. :-)

1 comment:

Christophe Thibaut said...

When I first read about the Core Protocols I wondered if the formality should kill all spontaneity in team interactions. Then one of my colleague attended the training course so I could check that theory. Not only my teammate conversation was still thought provoking, generous, and funny as ever, but it was also much clearer and effective. In fact that alone decided me to attend the training course myself!

The core protocols as a discipline remind me about a piano teacher who once told me: "you don't train your hands, so you always repeat old, unstrained patterns, and have much less freedom of expression. Jazz is freedom". In my experience the simple rules and tools do not limit team interactions, they leverage team interactions, in fact to a point of liveliness you seldom find in standard work groups playing the old patterns.