|Easy to say hard to earn.|
According to the agile manifesto, we should value “Customer Collaboration over contract negotiation.” It is easy in business to get caught up in contracts and legal mumbo jumbo. Often something which requires four hours of work and a conference bridge requires weeks of negotiation and a signed piece of paper explaining who is going to pay for the four hours of work. It is annoying for the people doing the job, but from the perspective of the people paying the bills, it is a necessary process. The reason for this necessity is a lack of trust.
The absence of trust is a toxic condition in most business environments. It happens because people make promises in business, which they cannot keep. It also occurs when people do not pay for the services they have received. Since technology and software are labor-intensive, everyone is paying attention to the money. It creates conditions that undermine trust.
Kim Scott, in her book, “Radical Candor,” talks about successful leaders being able to care personally and communicate honestly. It seems like a common-sense approach, but it is surprising how many people are will to hide the truth to win favor from others. Scott refers to this as manipulative insincerity because you are not telling the truth to manipulate the emotions and perceptions of a client. Once a client discovers manipulation, they will rarely show trust.
It is why the first job of a scrum master or agile coach is to build trust. It means turning your camera on so people can see your face during all video conferences because others need to know that you are paying attention and involved in their problems. You need to over-communicate with clients telling them all of the relevant news, both good and bad, which affect their project. It is painful at first, but constant communication and telling the truth over time builds trust. Eventually, instead of a client-vendor relationship, you will have a partnership where both of you are working together to reach a common goal.
Openness and trust are mandatory for any business relationship. You earn trust from others by being honest and communicating often. It is why I want to help spread agile and create environments of trust.
Until next time.