The justification problem

One person suggest that I needed to give them a tool.

A tool will make hill climbing a lot easier when even  dictionary was too steep.

I’ve seen the same thing come up recently with GitLab and GitBash. Typing at the command line is actually too steep a climb for people to engaging learning to master source control.

“In this day and age, if there isn’t a GUI for this, then it’s an epic fail from the start.”

And, even if it were easy, a  person could rightly ask, why do I care in the first place?

It’s a pretty good question.

Opening a dictionary isn’t hard, but it still requires some kind of justification, unless opening a dictionary is something you do for fun.

I’m suggesting that people do a lot more than open a dictionary. I contend that Scrum Masters need to spend a lot of time studying grammar, drama, and logic and putting that knowledge into practice.

Who has time for that?

People like a tool is better.

It’s a little like “give me a fish, I’ll have a raw fish; teach me to fish, I’ll wonder why you didn’t order us a pizza.”

I see people mucking about with ideas like Laloux’s teal organization or Snowden’s cynefin model, and I wonder how you can work with these things without curiosity.

Here’s a couple of questions:

  • If the visible spectrum is a useful metaphor to describe an organization development of enterprises moving from tyrannical toward self-organizing, why does Laloux have augment each discrete color on the scale with a ‘guiding metaphor?’
  • Why in the world, when creating a model to guide decision-making in a complex and changing world, did Snowden pick a Welsh word name? Until fairly recently, when we saw a national resurgence learning the Welsh tongue, even in  Wales, few Welsh spoke Welsh. It seems obscure and random, but is it?

We have a habit of using these models without thinking much about them in a critical way.

We’re not stupid. We’re just in a hurry.

Yet, these model need critical inquiry. As models, they’re wrong, since all models are wrong. We have to know where they are wrong, where they are misshapen, and where the creator of the model might just be nuts.

I admit that it might not matter all that much. If you don’t really understand the model, but the model helps you make useful choices, you’ve got a good case that you’re understanding of the model is just fine.

If you want to apply either Laloux’s or Snowden’s thinking to real world problems in a powerful way, however, you have to be able to critique them.

You have to be, borrowing from a friend, heretics. You have to understand how they are wrong, incomplete, fanciful, or even downright silly. You have to point out not where it does work, but where it doesn’t. You have to know it’s limits to work within them.

Still, I’m wondering if that doesn’t create something of a Dunning-Krueger effect.

If you’re in such a hurry to use one of these frameworks for decision-making that you’re not using it competently to make a decision, how would you know? You’d be too hurried and incompetent in using the model properly to know you weren’t using the model properly.

That’s the plateau for you.

So, I’m telling you that learning grammar and drama and logic is vital for Scrum Masters working with teams, but you’re not going to be able to appreciate that claim until you know enough about grammar and drama and logic to be able to judge that for yourself.

Only, you’re not likely to learn enough about grammar and drama and logic to get to make that kind of judgement, unless you have good reason to invest all of that time on it in the first place.

That’s the dilemma for you.

I’m not sure why I’m doing this. I should probably listen to Sancho Panza — google it, if you don’t already get it. Or, on the other don’t, if you not curious enough to pursue the joke.



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