CHOW #206 – The king who always worked

The situation

Vishnusharman said, “Mohammed, remember when we were previously talking about individual goals and team goals, you mentioned how conflicts can arise when a person’s personal, outside of work, goals conflict with team goals? Chitraa and I were just talking about the late-night working of people. Did this create some resentment in people?”

“Maybe in some. However, all teams and associates were told that personal life was as important or even more important than work, and people should take care of this aspect.”

Vishnusharman said, “I find in many organisations, that there is an expectation that Agile practices will improve efficiency and hence, will automatically allow people to concentrate on their personal lives without having to sacrifice work requirements.”

Mohammed said, “This was our thinking, too.”

The challenge: What Agile lesson do you learn here? What would you do?

Clue: Unstring your bow when you are not using it.

Suggested Solution

When we talk about individual goals and team goals, we need to keep in mind how conflicts can arise when a person’s personal, outside of work, goals conflict with team goals. One issue for example, is the late-night working of people. It can create some resentment in people. As part of the Agile journey, there should be an effort to spread the idea of work-life balance among the teams. It is not enough to tell the teams that work-life balance is important, but there has to a process to make them accept it.

In many organisations, that there is an expectation that Agile practices will improve efficiency and hence, will automatically bring about work-life balance. But just being Agile is not enough. As part of the Agile process, the concept of work-life balance has to be drilled into people’s heads. Over the long term this will pay off.

Illustrative Fable

Once, there was a large kingdom, whose king was a very conscientious man. He worked day and night to ensure that the people of his kingdom were happy. He defended his dominions against other invading kings and added new territories to his kingdom. But this hard work was taking its toll. People could see that the king was becoming more and more tired. And, when a neighbouring king attacked his kingdom, he lost the battle and had to cede some territory to the invading king.

Those days a warrior, who was also a wise man, came to the king’s palace. He was one of the warriors who had fought for the king in the battle they had lost. He had with him his large bow. He asked for an audience with the king. When the king came to meet him, he laid the bow on the ground and unstrung it. The bow relaxed. The king asked him, “Why are you doing this?” The warrior said, when its work is done the bow must be unstrung, otherwise it will lose all its tension.

The king understood what the warrior was telling him. It was important that he regularly took time off from his work and relaxed. Recreation was important.

What do you think?

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