Lean Principle #6 – Respect People

Principle number 6 of the 7 key principles of lean software development is Respect People.

It’s yet another principle that should really be common sense.  But unfortunately too many people sometimes forget this basic human courtesy, especially in the workplace.  And all too often it’s the most senior people that are the worst offenders.

Personally I think it’s important to treat everyone with the same respect, whatever their job.  It doesn’t matter whether they’re the CEO, a developer, project manager, the receptionist or the cleaner, respect everyone equally.

So, what does this actually mean in practice?

First of all, it means responding to people promptly, listening attentively, hearing their opinions and not dismissing them even when they are different to your own.  It means encouraging people to have their say.  Having empathy for their point of view and trying to see things from their perspective.

But, of course, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should always agree with them!  That would be a very unhealthy situation.  So one of the arts of respecting people is learning how to be assertive and disagree with a point of view, without sounding aggressive or threatening or just plain argumentative.

Another important part of respecting people is giving people the responsibility to make decisions about their work.  To achieve this, it’s important to build knowledge and develop people who can think for themselves.  People who can think for themselves and  are experts in their area often need to be empowered to feel respected.

But this in itself is a tricky area for many managers.  How do you empower people enough, without losing control of the outcome?

One way is to make sure that the empowered person still communicates about their intended approach, and why they think it’s the best approach.  Then there is a chance to discuss pros and cons and understand why the person wants to take that particular decision.  Questions can be asked to challenge whether or not someone has thought something all the way through, but can be asked in such a way to establish and maybe extend their own thinking, not to take over the solution or take the decision away from them, leaving them feeling disempowered and not in control.

Empowerment is particularly important with agile development methods.  I wrote about this in ‘Agile teams must be empowered‘ – one of the 10 key principles of agile software development.

I think sometimes in the workplace this is easier said than done, which is why it isn’t really just about common sense.  Nevertheless, I think this principle is possibly one of the most important of all.  Because the only way to be respected yourself, is to first respect others.

Kelly.

7 Key Principles of Lean Software Development:

1. Eliminate Waste
2. Build Quality In
3. Create Knowledge
4. Defer Commitment
5. Deliver Fast
6. Respect People
7. Optimise The Whole

 

One Response to “Lean Principle #6 – Respect People”

  1. master choo says:

    dear allaboutagile,

    what if we need to place order of importance in respecting people…who will be on the top 5 list…thank you…

    my selection is 1-self 2-parent 3-teachers, 4-elders, 4-family (members)

Leave a Reply

What is 7 + 2 ?
Please leave these two fields as-is:
Please do this simple sum so I know you are human:)

There are 101 ways to approach anything.
To find the best way, sometimes you need expert help

What People Say

“I worked with Kelly whilst at Thoughtworks and found him to be a most inspiring individual, his common-sense approach coupled with a deep understanding of Agile and business makes him an invaluable asset to any organisation. I can't recommend Kelly enough.”

PETER THATCHER, SENIOR ACCOUNT DIRECTOR
ThoughtWorks

“Kelly revolutionised the way our digital department operated. A true advocate of agile principles, he quickly improved internal communication within our teams and our internal clients by aligning our business and creating a much enhanced sense of transparency in the decisions the business was making. Kelly also introduced a higher sense of empowerment to the development teams...”

PETER SILVA-JANKOWSKI
IPC MEDIA

“Kelly’s a leading program director with the ability to take charge from day one and keep strong momentum at both a program and project level driving prioritisation, resourcing and budgeting agendas. Kelly operates with an easy-going style and possesses a strong facilitation skill set. From my 5 months experience working with Kelly, I would recommend Kelly to program manage large scale, complex, cross company change programs both from a business and IT perspective.”

LUKE SHARKEY /STRATEGY & IMPLEMENTATION LEADER
SUNCORP

“Kelly was a brilliant CTO and a great support to me in the time we worked together. I owe Kelly a great deal in terms of direction and how to get things done under sometimes difficult circumstances. Thanks Kelly.”

JULIE PEEL
GLASS'S INFORMATION SERVICES

“Kelly was engaged as a Program Director on a complex business and technology transformation program for Suncorp Commercial Insurance. Kelly drew on his key capabilities and depth of experience to bring together disparate parties in a harmonised way, ensuring the initiate and concept phases of the program were understood and well formulated. Excellent outcome in a very short time frame. ”

BRUCE WEIR/EGM
SUNCORP

“Kelly is an extremely talented and visionary leader. As such he manages to inspire all around him to achieve their best. He is passionate about agile and has a wealth of experience to bring to bear in this area. If you're 'lucky' he might even tell you all about his agile blog. Above all this, Kelly is great fun to work with. He is always relaxed and never gets stressed - and trust me, he had plenty of opportunity here! If you get the chance to work with Kelly, don't pass it up.”

GILES BENTLEY, DEVELOPMENT & OPERATIONS DIRECTOR
TIME INC

“I worked with Kelly on many projects at IPC and I was always impressed with his approach to all of them, always ensuring the most commercially viable route was taken. He is great at managing relationships and it was always a pleasure working with him.”

BEATRIZ MONTOYA/CONSUMER MARKETING DIRECTOR
IPC MEDIA

“Kelly and I worked together on a very large project trying to secure a new Insurer client. Kelly had fantastic commercial awareness as well as his technical expertise. Without him I would never had secured this client so I owe a lot to him. He is also a really great guy!”

GINA MILLARD
GLASS'S INFORMATION SERVICES

“Kelly came to the department and has really made a huge impact on how the department communicates, collaborates and generally gets things done. We were already developing in an agile way, but Kelly has brought us even more into alignment with agile and scrum best practices, being eager to share information and willing to work with us to change our processes rather than dictate how things must be done. He is highly knowledgable about agile development (as his active blog proves) but his blog won't show what a friendly and knowledgeable guy he is. I highly recommend Kelly to anyone looking for a CTO or a seminar on agile/scrum practices - you won't be disappointed!”

ANDY JEFFRIES/TECHNICAL LEAD
IPC MEDIA

“Kelly is an Agile heavy-weight. He came in to assess my multi-million $ Agile development program which wasn’t delivering the right throughput. He interviewed most of the team and made some key recommendations that, when implemented, showed immediate results. I couldn’t ask for more than that except he’s a really nice guy as well.”

DAN PULHAM, DIGITAL DIRECTOR
TELSTRA

“Kelly was a great colleague to work with - highly competent, trustworthy and generally a nice bloke.”

HANNAH JOYCE
GLASS'S INFORMATION SERVICES