Your team isn’t performing and these may be some reasons

Door Patrick Verheij

Dear Lionel,

Thanks for reaching out to me my dear friend. I have empathy for your feelings of frustration towards your team. You guys have been using Scrum for quite some time now, arriving at sprint 46 just last week. And yes, those tears during that retrospective were real. Jonathan will definitely not last much longer if the team keeps going like it does. He made that quite clear. Especially to you.

Can you see the value in everything that was hurled at you that hour, my friend? I know you haven’t heard much of it, though. Your mind was on fire after his second sentence. Your eyes followed suit. I’m just glad you restrained yourself and didn’t use those massive fists of yours. But I saw you. I saw you clench your teeth. Your inner rage was not to be missed.

I read the words you wrote me, Lionel. It is a relief to me that all that is now off your chest. Sally and Rick seem to have turned against you indeed. By the way, did you notice Rick’s massive attack on Jonathan? Despite it’s ferocity, I am sure you missed it. Jonathan is completely cornered now. For once, Theo didn’t defend him. He even got your back. But you didn’t notice that either, did you?

Theo seems to be in the same position as you. He too has a beautiful daughter. And his wife, like yours, has a highly demanding career. He shows up at work late as well, often arriving at least ten minutes after you do. While you still attend half that daily Scrum, he usually misses it completely. Sally doesn’t care anymore, you know. She just gave up rescheduling. It’s set at 10:00 now. Jonathan already has done 3 hours of work by the time the others drag him from his flow and beat his focus to death for 15 minutes of…what’s it that Rick calls it again? Ah yes, “endlessly puking dumb details”. That’s quite a rough thing he has to say there. I can imagine you feel offended.

Did you notice Sally lately by the way? She took up that Scrum Master role about three months ago and has been pushing away that agile coach ever since. The whole team seems to be glad she did that, especially you. The retrospectives are kept significantly shorter now. Under 30 minutes! It is just too bad that those darn feelings never emerged during an earlier time of reflection. Well, they did actually. You guys just didn’t seem to take the time to really dig in and get things sorted out. Time proves to be a jailer.

How much time do you guys actually spend together as a team each day? I believe Theo steps in at around 10:15. Jonathan usually leaves at around 16:00. That’s less than 6 hours straight! Oh wait, there’s that lunch walk that you and Dave insist on each day. That almost takes an hour, doesn’t it?

Oh by the way, how’s Lola doing? Isn’t she going to school for the first time after the summer? I am so glad to see you spending time with her every Friday. You picked a good day to be with her I guess. Nobody else seems to work on Fridays at the office. Do you still work from home on Wednesdays? I hope Lola won’t bother you too much on those afternoons once she’s at school. On Wednesday’s they’re out early, remember?

I am also so excited to hear more about that other project you’re doing. I know it eats up most of your Tuesday afternoons. I guess that might be the reason why Sally now refuses to speak to you. And yes, you’re completely right too. She’s now acting as a trainer for those new agile courses on Thurday. She’s just so proud of being asked to do that.

That reminds me of the thing Jonathan said about him ‘never being appreciated by you’. That kid is totally trying to be the best programmer in the company! He is completely scared out of his wits now Rachel left the team and isn’t being replaced. She was one helluva tester!

Now you see Rick stepping in by suggesting a full day of team building. And I know how you feel about that! At least that’s one thing you have in common with the rest of the bunch.

I just hope you will get your act together, Lionel. You volunteered to be the Product Owner of this team and nobody is willing to step into your shoes. Perhaps you could explain the team’s goals again. I bet you didn’t notice but I haven’t heard the team talk about these for some months now. Ah well, they won’t listen to you anymore anyway I guess.

Good luck with that annual review meeting tomorrow.


Patrick Verheij

06 59 443 447

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