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    Improving Leadership ROI through daily leadership and team development practices. Mark McCatty, Inc - Leadership & Team Advisor

    SCRUM Team Leaders Learn from Failure

    by Mark McCatty, Leadership & Team Advisor
    “To err is human.” The reality is that humans err. We all make mistakes. Some errors go by hardly noticed while other errors people make cause catastrophic consequences. So, the issue is not whether errors will occur; they will. The issue is what do we do with the tendency to make mistakes, and how do we benefit when they occur. There are some pretty interesting results from research about why we make these annoying errors. Some of the more commonly known causes of errors are:

    ·         Stress. Mental stress increases as familiarity the decreases. When under stress we tend to operate emotionally and not cognitively.

    ·         Fatigue. Fatigue is affected by on-the-job demands, and off-the-job life style. Trying to do complex tasks while recovering from a late night out can create errors.

    ·         Difficulty seeing one’s own error. We all think that what we do is good. People may fail to detect abnormalities when working closely to a task, especially when preoccupied. How many times has someone pointed out a needed edit [to a document] that you failed to see?

    Some of the more interesting ones are:

    Failure is not a permanent break. It's just a temporary bruise..jpg

    ·         Avoidance of mental strain. Seems we are all a little bit lazy. John Maxwell says that few people really think. Turns out, people tend to look for familiar patterns and apply the-way-we’ve-always-done-it solutions to problems. They may use short cuts because it’s easier and faster.

    ·         Limited working memory. The limitations of short term memory are at the root of forgetfulness. We are learning that we are not good at multi-tasking.

    ·         Limited attention resource. Attention is a limited commodity. Many times, we operate on auto-pilot. Our ability to concentrate depends greatly on the intrinsic value of the current object of attention.

    SCRUM project management is growing, yet it is mostly new for many project teams. If SCRUM leaders know that people will make mistakes, then they should be able to predict, mitigate, and learn from these events. Ah, that would take farsightedness and patience, though. True leaders have farsightedness; they see tomorrow’s possibilities in today’s reality. True leaders have patience; they see the potential in the erring human. Allowing people to make [and learn from their] mistakes is part of what increases competence, trust, and motivation in the performer. The wise leader manages the size of the mistake so that nothing catastrophic [damage to life, limb, asset, or customer] comes from the mistake.

    Boiling it down: Learning within the SCRUM organization requires an acknowledgement that errors will occur, and a process that enables everyone to learn from them. [Of course, this is different from willful violations and sabotage.] Leaders lead learning organizations that can allow the team the right to make mistakes, admit them, and share their learning with others. Or, the leaders can punish mistakes, and push them below the surface. Oh, the mistakes are still there, though. Errors still occur. Only in this instance, we find them when they are catastrophic.

    Many times, I am called to work with a project team that is suffering from a recent catastrophic failure [a failed project deliverable or significant customer problem]. The signs were there. Apparently, people did not want to look at them. Get your people and your team involved early. Make learning easy, acceptable, and profitable. Don’t be that project team! 

    Mark McCatty, Leadership & Team Advisor


    Improving Leadership ROI – MMcOnlineTraining.com

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    As a leadership and team advisor, I have helped numerous organizations, through speaker presentations, group training, and individual coaching, to meet the challenge of creating engaging and purposeful work environments. 

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