Thursday, 9 February 2017

Roles and Responsibilities

Be aware when you are asked to prepare a description of Roles and Responsibilities for a certain title. You might find out more if you ask "Why?"
In my case, it was to be used to solve the conflict between two team members that just didn't know how to work together and had different expectations from their managers. There was very little ask from the organization (found from surveys we did) on clarifying roles and responsibilities. It looked like everyone had a good sense of their role and the role of the people around them. Expect for these two individuals. And because of that, the managers blamed the new roles that Agile brought in the organization.

Managers asked to clarify very well the roles for these two other people and make sure they know what is expected from them. These two team members couldn't step into each-other areas and collaborate without letting each-other feel like they are taking credit for their job. They took their job description from online sites and pointed out the details about what each should do. That was not helping to create the environment we were looking for, a Collaborative one. So there was a conflict.
I did not create a job description initially. I knew I was going to put a lot of effort and get low return. It was not about the job description, it was about the expectations and personalities that the managers had to understand and improve. I spoke with the managers, I pointed out on this gap between ask, expectations, measurement of success and understanding what motivates them. Managers spoke with these team members. When they ran out of patience, they presented the possible consequences (!) to both of them if they do not find a way to work things out. Somehow the situation took a turn for better and these two team members found a way to work together for a while. Not collaborate, only work without creating trouble.
There were some tougher actions that the managers could have taken and some more patience to put into the conversations. They didn't. It required managers to have tough conversations, to set better expectations, to work closer to help these people grow comfortable in a collaborative environment. Managers didn't have a good example on how to do that and so the system created started tolerating behaviors that were not going to help the future.

Maybe next time!

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