Read the latest #WeAreWhyers interview to find why Humble is so proud of his job!
It is a mixture of experiences in both Hong Kong and overseas, together with a lot of good colleagues and bosses I have met with during my career, which makes who I am today.
2. What’s the most exciting, as well as non-exciting, part of your job?
I think the most exciting thing about being an Agile coach is to have a positive influence on the people we work with. Our work is all about unlocking the potential of each individual and help them find a better way of working. Nothing is more exciting than this!
As for the non-exciting part, I would say the ‘waiting moments’. Very often, bringing change to a large organization is like turning a gear without much oil. Because every part of the business is inter-connected, it is sometimes hard even to move a small gear. It really takes a lot of time and effort to even find the right places to oil, in order to make things move.
When you are in-house, sooner or later you will learn the working style of that company. Although you can contribute and add good value, it is hard to change the working culture in the company due to structure and ‘norms. Most often, people start with the ambition to make changes, however ending up to only adapt themselves and fit in.
As a consultant, I usually have a shorter-term relationship with my clients, which makes it possible to stick to my ambition. Also, being a consultant enables me to view the entire organization from a third-party perspective, where I can objectively have a broader view on the problems and think about what works the best for the organization.
It was a Monday morning, when I was planning to facilitate a Sprint Planning session for a team, I saw a guy whom I haven’t met before; he was not part of the team nor one of the stakeholders. He came in, said hello to the team, and sat on a cabinet (because all seats had been taken). He sat there, quietly and made notes without disturbing the session. After the session he approached the Product Owners, explained to them what could be done better in that session, and shared with them a feature in the management tool that could help them better visualize and forecast the team’s work. After that he came to me and shared some insight in Agile management and how to play my role well in the team (I was a Scrum Master then). We eventually both went our separate ways and a few months later, I was surfing LinkedIn and I saw a job opening for why innovation! - I remembered that guy worked there and tried contacting him back.
Thank you for asking me this question, and I hope to take this opportunity and say thank you to that great guy I met back then. Thank you very much, Daryl Chan!
5. Based in Hong Kong, what do you think will be the next big change in your industry in the next 3 to 5 years?
To be honest it’s difficult to tell what will happen in three to five years’ time, because the world is changing faster than we can imagine. Thus, it is particularly important for Agile and innovation experts to help organizations to equip themselves with the skills required to adapt to any changes in the market and any new technologies that arise.
“A common disease that afflicts management and government administration the world over is the impression that “Our problems are different.” They are different, to be sure, but the principles that will help to improve quality of product and of service are universal in nature.” - W. Edwards Deming
Different people might have different interpretation to this quote. To me, it inspired my thoughts that when we have problems, try not thinking of any non-prescriptive ways to resolve it. Instead, start simple and small; focus on the most basic principles, communications, interactions, working product, collaboration, etc. and we will find our solution.
7. If you had a list of ‘best-kept secrets’ [websites, books, coaches] you’d recommend, which would you include and why?
There is a book I like very much, called ‘班底’ – translated as the “Team”. It has a powerful subtitle that reads “最难管理的是部下，不必管理的是班底” - translated as ‘The most difficult people to be managed are called ‘subordinates’, while those do not need to be managed are called ‘teams’”. The book explains what it takes to be a leader, and to run a company. This book not only provides lots of scenarios the writer had faced in the past, but also the takeaways he had learnt. These takeaways are valuable and useful for team management.
- Value each individual that you have come across - you can learn so much more from them than you will from a book
- Change is inevitable. Face it and handle it with care
- Be a servant leader - the best product emerges from self-organizing teams