Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Appreciative Inquiry

a colleague of mine has suggested a new approach towards getting delivery teams to improve the way that they do their work.

It's called appreciative inquiry, the basic idea is that organizations should spend more time focusing on what works, and expanding those practices, rather than focusing on the negative.

It's pitched as as being the opposite of problem solving, the following is a good writeup from Wikipedia.

AI focuses on how to create more of the occasional exceptional performance that is occurring because a core of strengths is aligned. The approach acknowledges the contribution of individuals, in order to increase trust and organizational alignment. The method aims to create meaning by drawing from stories of concrete successes and lends itself to cross-industrial social activities. It can be enjoyable and natural to many managers, who are often sociable people.

One thing that can be said about agile/lean practices is there is a huge focus on what's broken. Not on what is currently working, i.e. requirements up front or back, unfinished code leads to waste, untested code leads to fertility, etc. A different tactic using the AI approach would be a focus on the benefits of software in the first place, i.e. software leads to good agility abstraction for businesses in general, and use that as a metaphor to expand how we should be approaching delivery software for organizations in general.

Our team plans to use this approach on our next retrospective, I'll make sure to share the results here.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jeff,
    Interesting articles. Just wondering if you would be interesting contributing to our new initiative, focussing on Java, but also with a large interest in Agile/Scrum. Feel free to create an account and post anything you would find interesting. You can link back to your original article if you want as well. Hope to see you there, cheers.