In my world there are two different kind of problems, problems we actively choose to address and problems that are pushed upon us. Let’s say you have some habits that you know are really bad for the environment. If you decide on your own to address this, then it’s a chosen problem. On the other hand, if the government decides it for you, and you have to deal with it, then it’s a pushed problem.
Problems that are pushed upon us are usually a lot harder to handle. It’s not uncommon that we feel overwhelmed, unmotivated and get a feeling that we’re not in control. A lot of the times we believe these problems are someone else’s problems and we won’t get committed.
The problems that we choose to address we also tend to handle as something we own, we get committed. Since we chose to address the problem, it’s more likely that we feel that we are in control and we actively search for solutions with passion and creativity.
In the real working world out there, unfortunately, a lot of people feel that someone else are making the decisions about what problems they should solve and what they should care for and be passionate about. The deciding people can be managers, groups of people or similar.
What does this have to do with agile? Maybe nothing, or maybe everything!
Many organizations are still running projects or similar where teams are told what problems to solve and to often also how to solve them. This does not foster a never ending improving organization that will have great success in the future. This will only foster an organization with people that do what they are told. Innovation and creativity dies with a command and control management style.
Organizations would be much better of handing over the steering wheel to people that actually have the know how. Include them as early as possible and as much as possible. If they get the possibility to decide what, how and when to solve problems, they will take ownership and they will solve those problems with passion. They will put in the effort that is necessary and they will do it with joy.
If you think that this might work in other organizations but it impossible in yours, here’s a challenge for you. What do you have to lose? Give it a go and let the teams take ownership, I can promise you that you will have happier and more productive teams. Let go of the command and control and free the power of your teams.