Agile is about Commitment (Not Time) Management
Agile commitment is different from time management which just fills in the request and schedule to deliver the request in a certain timeframe.
What is Agile commitment management? When product owner makes requests based on shared meaning, development team negotiates the request through planning and then keeps their commitment during execution. To keep their commitment, the development team continues negotiating their promises throughout the process until product owner acceptance the promise. It seems easy, but it is difficult to implement the Agile commitment model as shown in the graph. Some people have difficulties to make the right requests, so the wrong behavior simply goes on and on. Most people have difficulties to say NO. Therefore, they take risks not to keep their promises due to over- commitment.
When product owner can’t make good requests, in most cases, it must do with languages (or speech acts). There are three kinds of speech acts: assertion, assessments, and declarations. The product owner will determine when to use which speech act based on context which may include individual preference, relationships, or organizational culture. For example, the image is 600 pixels (assertion). Or the image is as clear as crystal (assessment). Or I like to have no image on all subpages (declaration).
People are afraid of saying “NO” for many reasons. It may be related job security (can’t say “NO” to the boss) or dignity (fear of losing personal power), or relationship (rejecting people). In fact, when we say No (or close the door) to one thing, it may say “YES” (or open the door) to many things. For example, if we say “NO” to many meaningful tasks, we can focus on the most valuable one.
(Note: The Agile Commitment Model is adopted from Source: SOAR training)
Outline/structure of the Session
- Opening – (5 minutes)
- Activity to set up a SAFE environment
- Agenda Introduction – (2 minutes)
- Commitment Formula and exercise – How we make our commitments (10 Minutes)
- Agile Commitment Model – How we could make better commitment (10 Minutes)
- Case Studies – What would you do to help the situations? (10 Minutes)
- Takeaways (3 Minutes)
The purpose of Agile Commitment Model is to establish trusts, relationships, successes, and self-esteem. It is a win-win proposition to make both parties (requesters and committers) engaged. When the promise is unfilled, it is recommended using an effective tool called responsible complaint to seek minimizes resentment, to keep healthy relationships and to sustain collaboration. The following are steps to make a responsible complaint.
- Set up a SAFE context to ensure the conversation is for keeping moving on the completion of the request, not to blame.
- Start with the fact that refers to the previous promise.
- Share constructive feedback and find root causes
- Modify the request to make a new one if the old one is unsanctionable
- Assess the level of complaint
It is not possible for us to keep 100% of the promises that we make, but it is possible to manage 100% of the commitments. The Agile Commitment Model is moving away from punishments, but effectively builds a culture of accountability by making effective requests and productive commitments.