Values

Sharing common values with people in organisations help to build and implement good practice. Without shared common values it can be impossible to agree on many things and this is one of the biggest obstacles to climb when forming a team or joining an organisation.

In my experience, common values can take a lot of time to align. One method to align them is build rapport and trust but this often takes time, perhaps a more rapid approach might be to find a mutually respected source where values can be justified and interpreted by a third party.

Industrial XP tells us that our team should discuss their values and come to a consensus. I believe that this is achievable in an environment where a foundation of trust and rapport exist.

When an organisation is growing or the structure is changing, trust and respect take time to be built. I have noticed, that discussing values at this time can fuel argument over interpretation of various personal values and distract from the objective. Getting all parties singing from the same hymn sheet.

I believe that by using carefully selected prescribed values it can be possible for a team to embrace those values and build rapport through them.

The following is an example of values as defined in Extreme Programming Explained by Kent Beck.

  • Communication
  • Simplicity
  • Feedback
  • Courage
  • Respect

This particular set of value are very general and leave lots of room for interpretation. I believe in most circumstances this is a good thing. When complimented with Lean and Agile philosophy the chances of misinterpretation or negative outcome are significantly reduced.

Once these values are accepted as useful guidance and not laws the real improvements can begin, and we are ready to embrace change..

Further reading about how to interpret these values can be found here and a helpful criticism and and look at alternatives to XP can be found here

We all find it difficult to communicate our feelings, more so when working with complex problems everyday. Bottling up these feelings takes immense mental strength and patience, burdening other aspects of your life. I have found that by developing your courage you can focus those efforts more effectively. If, like me, you identify with this problem read this

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