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InfoQ Homepage News Interview with Pollyanna Pixton at Agile 2008

Interview with Pollyanna Pixton at Agile 2008


Pollyanna Pixton is well known in the Agile community, especially for her work on leadership.  In this interview with Deborah Hartmann at Agile 2008, she discusses what must be present for successful Agile adoption.  In response to a question about what parts of the environment must be present for a culture of trust Pollyanna says:

Safety is always a big one. Being able to count on what people say, when people say "I will do this" you know they will do it. And that is very important. It has to eliminate fear, you have to eliminate as much as debilitating fear as possible so sometimes I find in organizations that some leaders are indiscriminate about how they manage conflict in the teams or they manage the behavior, if you want to call it managing behavior however you may look at that but they may see people and think they are not productive and they will reprimand them and it will be indiscriminant and that creates fear and it takes a while to work with a team, usually takes about a day before they will finally start talking about the fear and what it is, you have to build up the trust in the seminar, until they finally tell you and it is always instant like it is a switch, as soon as they say it, it happens and one organization I worked in somebody had abused the Internet, so everybody was not allowed to work on the Internet.

This interview is full of sage advice to Agile leaders, such as this answer to the question "what advice would you leave with project leaders right now?":

Well, I think that the advice is not just for project leaders but I will talk about that. It's about project leaders, middle management leaders and executives including it. It's like the book that we are writing called "Stand back and deliver". You have to let your teams to become creative and innovative. You have to let them do their work and choose their work and decide how to do it. So you essentially have to stop micro managing. So you don't get to tell people what to do anymore. You help them stay focused by asking questions.

This is an informative and enjoyable interview on an important topic today.


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