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Here is my starting list of Agile things to do before you’re fired.  I would love people to comment and contribute and I will extend the list.

1) Call your boss a chicken and forbid him from speaking

Assume those outside the Scrum team are a chicken rather than a pig, and don’t have their bacon on the line.

2) Refuse to work on two projects at the same time

It’s not efficient, it’s not effective. So refuse to do it. After all, you are only looking after the company interest.

3) Draw a picture for the board instead of writing a plan or a paper

People understand pictures better anyway. Maybe even draw it on the back of a napkin to show that you read management books.

4) Suggest to your CEO they have a problem and maybe he want’s to pair through it

Two minds are better than one, we all know that. What better way than to progress a company problem than to work with the CEO himself. In fact, pair on everything, do no task by yourself.

5) Since the company hasn’t declared FedEx days institute them yourself

They are so valuable, without them, we would not have Gmail or even the Post-It note. From now on 20% of the time, you are just going to do your own thing and hope for inspiration.

6) Take over the windows to create a visual board

Facilities hate people using buildings. If they had their way, nobody would be allowed in during the 20 year lease. So cover all walls and windows with your latest plans for world domination.

7) Rearrange all the desks so the whole team can sit together

Cross functional teams, move everybody next to your desk. The product owner, the sponsor, the architect who likes to sit in the corner so nobody can see his screen. If you need somebody, just move them. Colocation is better when you are all next to each other.

8) Declare managers are no longer useful

What did they really do anyway, cluttered the world with pointless politics. We can self-organise and be more cost-effective.

9) Hand your boss your new job description “I create value for this company”

Refuse to be boxed, you are not a job, you are a person. A person capable of solving complex problems and creating value for the company.

10) Refuse to sign-off on your appraisal objectives because you believe there are better ways to motivate people

The surprising truth is that people aren’t motivated by these techniques. You signing on the dotted line merely confirms to the manager that it works. Without the correct feedback, he will never correct his ways. So refuse to sign.

11) Treat all targets as law and show how they lead to self-destruction

At all times, hit all targets, regardless of the consequences. Don’t think, act. If there is a target for on-time delivery, ship bad code. If there is a target for a low number of defects, don’t write too much code. If there is a target for velocity, make up the numbers if necessary by fixing the planning meeting.

12) Every time the Scrum Master acts like a Project Manager remind them they are a servant leader

You may end up saying this many times a day, but it’s important to get Scrum right.

13) Tell finance that you no longer wish to purchase their services

All they do is say No and make up pointless numbers. You know what needs to be done, and you have worked with the product owner and customers. So Finance aren’t adding value, so stop using them.

14) Declare hierarchy is dead and declare your boss’s office as a new Scrum meeting room

There are never enough meeting rooms, and at the same time collaboration is increasing, Facilities continue to remove well… facilities. So the nice office your boss has got, that would make a nice Scrum meeting room.

15) When your organisation announces that it is to do Scrum, constantly suggest Kanban. 

With an air of superior knowledge. Constantly challenge any attempt by the organisation to have just one way of solving problems.

16) Use Python because it allows you to code faster, ignore the .NET infrastructure

It was always a poor choice for your website anyway. What monkey went and chose .NET – one that doesn’t code, that’s for sure.

17) Use ORM because you don’t believe in stored procedures

This may not get you fired, since your architects might not know what ORM is. They only care about one acronym, SOA.

18) Every time somebody updates the complex, black-hole of a project tracking electronic tool, insist on this plans or board being printed on A0 paper (very large).

Visibility is very important, if they insist on a tool, don’t give up on your plan for visibility.

19) Pick your own tools

Would anyone tell a carpenter which saw to use. No! So stop letting some CIO who can’t code tell you.

20) Quantify the cost of delay whilst waiting for your boss to make a decision

Has your project been stuck on hold for weeks waiting for approval. Well start showing the boss just how much that is costing. Suggest this won’t go down well in his 360.

21) Declare projects dead, stop working on long range made up plans designed to convince management they really are in control

Work out a deliverable chunk of usable and beneficial stuff where the target audience can’t wait to get their hands on it and work on that. Ignore all plans, estimating, status updates, strategic transformational plans on anything but this. This may mean you ignoring many analysts, project planners, pie-in-the sky enterprise architects, rubber-stamping approvers. If they are not getting upset enough, then you are not doing it right.

22) Go around telling people how everything is incongruent or incoherent

Thanks for the suggestion Bob 🙂

23) Write a test for everything first, including the companies strategy plan

So how do we know that strategy is going to work Mr CEO? Maybe we should write some tests first?

24) Start ordering people to be less busy, don’t they know cycle time is more important

When they have abandoned the use of WIP limits for the 56th time, maybe you should just go around telling people not to work. Maybe even buy them a copy of slack.

25) When you can never give a definite answer (estimates for example), tell them all about Complexity Theory instead.

They will be grateful for the enlightenment. And when you see them banging their head against a wall that’s just their way of making the information stick.

26) Display all confidential information in the lobby

No information is really confidential, its all about power. You may as well have shouted at the top of your high pitched childish voice, “I know something you don’t”. Well end that behaviour by hanging that information up.

27) Bring a deck of planning poker cards to the annual budget meeting

For a start, you might be able to bluff your way to a higher budget. Failing that, the budget should be allocated using relative techniques rather than precise absolute amounts.


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Showing 18 comments
  • Kurt Häusler

    Heh did we work together at my last employer or something? Its almost like you replaced me, saw my todo list sitting on my desk, and made a blog post out of it. I totally did 15 of those!

    Apart from that its a great list of guidelines for any change agent.

  • Heidi

    20) could be expanded that to team member as well for being late for scrum meetings or dragging the process because they are looking for approval from a manager who is never around…… 🙂

  • Gareth evans

    Tell senior managers that optimising cycle time has greater economic impact than keeping people busy

    • Paul Dolman-Darrall

      Yeah great, I will put a version of that up around keeping people busy.

  • Bob Marshall

    -1 Incoherent

  • Joachim Hofer

    Always write tests first, even – or better: especially – if implementation won’t get done because of it.

  • Jaynee B Lafferty

    Have never done #15-18… but have done all the rest, and more than once, and will again. Never been fired yet. Don’t expect to, either.

  • Ben Buxton

    Give a presentation to the senior leadership team that delivering value is more important than budget and being adaptive is more important than plan.

  • Kai Sieveke

    Nice 😉

  • Kai Sieveke

    Nice things – never done all of ’em…need to try 😀

  • Nik Silver

    25) If ever you can’t give a definite answer to someone, tell them about Complexity Theory instead.

    They will be grateful for the enlightenment. And when you see them banging their head against a wall that’s just their way of making the information stick.

  • Sukibath

    26. Never attend Management meetings. Work out how much they cost in time and effort, and then deliver a feature to the customer instead. Follow up by sending your apologies and reason for your absence so it can be reported in the minutes.

  • Simon Brorson Fich

    Bring a deck of poker planning cards to the annual budget meeting.

    Randomly start knocking walls down between offices and meeting rooms.

    Remove tables and chairs in meeting rooms.

    Start hosting scrum meetings in the elevator. Keeps them short and sweet and people have nowhere to go. You can always hit the alarm button in case you face an impediment.

    Autoforward your email to everyone in the company in the name of transparency.

    Display all confidential information given to you in the lobby.

    • Paul

      Ooh, some good ones. Will update later

  • OzzieYuce

    Tell your employer that you will not be utilising your capacity 100% and that he should cut you some slack.

  • Erwin Verweij

    I love this. It just shows that there are more people in the world who believe that there are other and better ways to work, think and act. Keep the humor on top and work with stuff that does the job. Any way you can think of and always out of any box

  • Snarky

    A very fun list.  I’ve shared it with a number of developers.  I think they’re amused that a manager is giving it to them because they don’t know whether I just think it’s absurd or amusing or for real or all of the above (that last one is the right one). Thanks!

  • PM Hut

    Hi Paul,

    This list is hilarious, and I’m sure that many Project Managers/Agilists will find it hilarious as well. That’s why I would like to republish  it on PM Hut.

    Please either email me or contact me through the contact us form on the PM Hut website in case you’re OK with this.

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