I learned some things over the past years about agile leading and decissions. Writing it down helps me to remember them better.
Accepting fundamental truths
In order to make leading and decission making easier you should accept some fundamental truths:
- We´re wrong more often than right
- Nobody knows what he/she wants until we see it
- A model might be wrong but can be usefull
If 1), 2) and 3) are true leading becomes much easier. Why you might ask?
Wrong more often than right
In most cases you won´t nail it on the first try. This doesn´t mean, you shouldn´t aim to be right but it´s very unlikely. This also doesn´t mean, you shouldn´t be using research, data and think problems through but your chances to be wrong are higher than to be right.
However: The chance to be so wrong, that you can´t correct later on are also very low. This means you can be right once you know where you´re wrong.
It all boils down to make a decission and go for it. Start exploring stuff early on.
Build and show
You can spent endless time in meetings arguing what is the right approach. You fight for the correct design, the best architecture, the optimal copy. How it should be. Or you build it and find out if you´re right.
There is no shortcut. You need to build what you want and let it hit reality. This mustn´t be perfect. Optimize for change. Build prototypes, mock features.
All models are wrong
You can´t replicate nature. You can try to find abstractions and reduce complexity and build a model. Will this model in each and every case be correct? Hell No. But it will spark discussion. It will help you to find the things where exploring might be usefull. People will challenge your model. That´s fine, now you have a starting point and might find the things to explore.
So if you´re wrong, nobody understands things until they see it and your models are wrong as well the best thing to do is: build something, see and move on.
Lateral leadership is to lead without formal power. If you´re in product or engineering your job isn´t designing the product, technology or architect software. Your job is to get the people to talk and decide what to build next.
You should set goals but not the way to get there. You should steer your team to make decissions fast. You should work hard on the vision and the strategy while being prepared to adapt to new patterns on the market (in your organisation, in your business).
What´s important as a leader: Own your mistakes. You might have to say sorry. You might need to write e-Mails explaining why something failed. As long as you learned on the way you will be fine.
If you make a decission you´re wrong (see above) if your team makes a decission they might be wrong as well. But we have the freedom to be wrong as long as we´re able to correct later.
It took me some time to understand this. Once understood I gained a lot of freedom and the ability to better choose which fights to pick and which can be settled with a “thing build”.