Our prevailing system of management...
Edward Deming quoted on the ScrumDevelopment list by Jeff Sutherland.
It doesn't have to be this way.
"Poor management can increase software costs more rapidly than any other factor." (Barry Boehm)
"I was doing a retrospective with a team that's about 2 months / 3 sprints into scrum. Coming into the retrospective the team seemed to be feeling pretty low – they had yet to hit their sprint goals, and were seeing other unpleasant things -- and comments like "IF we keep using scrum" were coming up in their conversation.
Over the first hour or so of the retrospective the team came up with two lists: "what's working" and "what's not working". The "what's not working" list wound up being about 17 items, almost twice the length of the "what's working" list. Most of the discussion centered around the things that were not working; it was an imposing list, made all the more so by the fact that it was a lot longer than the other one, and we spent most of the time talking about it. Once the lists were complete, the group spent a moment or two staring quietly at them.
Then, I tried something I hadn't done before. I suggested the team go through both lists, and mark each item as either "C" (caused by Scrum), "V" (made visible by Scrum, ie would be happening with or without Scrum), or "N" (not related to Scrum, ie the weather, etc).
Then we tallied them up.
Under "what's working", the score was C=7, V=1, N=2.
Under "what's NOT working", the score was C=5, V=12, N=2.
We stared at the results for a minute. Then one of the junior members of the team volunteered, a little tentatively: "so it looks like Scrum is actually CAUSING the good stuff, but the bad stuff is mostly just things it's MAKING VISIBLE. [pause] That's exactly what we want, isn't it?". The rest of the team nodded and murmured in agreement. In an instant, the group's understanding of its situation went through what felt like a polar reversal.