Friday, June 24, 2011

Ask Him

I've been doing some agile training, and one of the first things that I did was an exercise I call Information Sources. Each member of the team fills in a questionnaire that describes various situations and says, "where do you go for information when this happens?". For example, one of the questions is "Congratulations. You've hired a new developer, and now he's standing by your desk wanting to learn about the system. Where do you tell him to go and what do you tell him to do?". Another is, "You just got a call from the implementation engineer, he's at a customer site, and he really needs to know how these two options interact with each other so he can finish the configuration. Where do you look to get him the information... before he's finished that 9th cup of coffee?"

Yesterday I did this exercise with a team, and for the first time ever, I got this response to one of the questions:

"Ask John"

Most of the time, people say things like, "I look on the wiki", or "I dig into the source code". This was the first time I'd heard someone say they'd ask another person.

I'm not really sure what to think about that. There are certainly many conclusions we could draw - from a refreshing honesty to someone who is really team-oriented to someone who doesn't know the group's tools. I did appreciate the response,though. After all, agile training is almost entirely about emphasizing human interactions.

I love asking questions: I never really know what the answer will be!

1 comment:

  1. In an agile perspective that answer might be a good one. When someone asks me about something that I don't know or not sure, but if I know of someone that knows the answer and can help, it is much better to say 'I don't know but I know who knows' than saying 'I don't Know'.
    On the other hand, it is a strange answer to a questionnaire, unless the question refers to something that is always the same person who solves it. People get used to it.

    Luisa Baldaia