Where Agile Starts

respect your work collegues by atomicjeep

In most enterprises, employees are referred to as resources. Heck, it’s even worse. There’s a whole department dealing with human resources. This, my friend, is bad. It’s bad because it kills the most basic ingredient for agile success: Respect. Respect for your employees. Let’s have a look and see how respect builds the foundation for your success with agile.

Team Members Aren’t Resources

If you treat your team members as resources you’ve got the basics wrong. Resources don’t have a soul. They don’t have needs, ideas, and feelings. Resources can be commanded at will. Neither is true for your team members. Treating your team members as resources will make them start acting like things instead of people. They’ll keep their great ideas to themselves. They’ll stop voicing their needs. Ultimately, they won’t even care anymore about what’s wrong and what’s right. Congratulations. You’ve created an army of zombies following your every command. But do you really think an army of zombies can create great, enriching products?

Respect makes people human

If you treat your team members with respect, you’ll see the exact opposite: They will be glad to share their great ideas and insights with you. They’ll talk about their needs and wants. And they’ll care about the product they build. They might even fight with you about the best way to to things. That’s engagement. That’s passion. Those are the ingredients needed to build great products and a healthy work environment.

The 6 Ways to show respect

If you want to respect your team, make sure you take care of these six points:

    • Respect their time
    • Respect their goals
    • Respect their needs
    • Respect their feelings
    • Respect their contributions
    • Respect their judgement

Only if you respect them in each of these 6 ways will your team be ready to do great work and improve every day!

What are your experiences with showing respect to your team? Please let us know in the comments below.

4 thoughts on “Where Agile Starts

  1. Nailed it! It’s so easy to get into the habit of calling people ‘resources’ and thats a battle worth fighting. Highgroove Studios had a story on our blog in August about Respect: http://highgroove.com/articles/2012/08/09/rowe-all-about-respect.html

    What should HR end up getting called? Our internal team of non-developers is the ‘Powerpuff Superfriends’ but a more ‘traditional’ sounding name would probably be needed most places.


  2. One more thing: It’s not only essential for a company to show respect to its employees. It’s as important that everyone shows respect to his co-workers as well. Respect builds trust. And trust builds high performing teams!

    Make sure you fight against any sign of disrespect shown by any of your team mates!


  3. For a lot of companies, their employees are their biggest asset and differentiator from their competition. I have seen a lot of companies not take very good care of their employees. I’ve also seen companies who refuse to fire people who don’t do a good job. Sadly also hiring a couple bad people can destroy a good team. It is always important for the executive and management teams to ensure a good culture and eliminate people who aren’t pulling their weight. Developers are in high demand and go find a job anywhere these days. They almost call the shots, so take care of them!

    Matt Watson


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