Yes, I stole this title from a popular book in the 80ties. I think this is one of the books I heard my parents recommend most to other people.

Over the years I came to realise this is one of the major mindsets of agile. Think positive of everyone involved.

When we give feedback, it’s about the actions of people and not about the people. Same thing goes for receiving feedback, when people criticize me, I know they are actually criticize my actions. (Even if they tell it in a personal attack.)
There are multiple techniques that help in creating feedback. I prefer my own improvement game(which is an adaptation of the perfection game).

Let’s do a little exercise:

Think back about your work. Do you think that most of the time you do the best work you can, considering your knowledge and the circumstances?
When I ask this at a conference, between 80 and 90% of my audience puts up their hand to say they do.

Now think about the people around you. Do you think they are doing the same? From these same audiences, about 50% of the people who raised their hands, drop it. Statistically that is not possible.
You can be all (of the 80%) doing the best you can and at the same time 50% else is not doing that.

I see a few reasons why there is this difference.
– only great people come to my talks. 😉

This reminds me about a question Dr Covey asks in his workshops: “Who thinks her boss should be here in the workshop instead of you?” At the workshop I was, 80% raised a hand. Just like Dr Covey I think I have a the right people in the room.

– people are lying about their own performance.
I don’t believe this.

– people overestimate their own enthusiasm. If that is true, it won’t be for 40% of the people
– people underestimate their colleagues performance.
I think the chances are much higher that people underestimate what others do (and overestimate what these people can do considering the circumstances), they over estimate their own work.
Part of that is because we value other people based on our own situation. Now neither the knowledge and the situation of the other person are like ours. So we think that the other person is misbehaving/ underachieving based on assumptions. (Called fundamental attribution error.)

The prime directive is about this difference. It wants us to see people with respect.

Yes I am aware that 1% of the population are psychopaths. I might even have met one. As long as I wanted to work with there, I took the responsibility to think as much as possible positive about him (I could not do this the days he asked me to lie to customers.)
Learning about transactional analysis helped me to understand difference between the dynamics I see in a good agile team and those of a bad agile team.
I learned that in good agile team at least one person is able to cross transactions and not stay stuck in a paralel transaction.

The whole TA also helps to see how people are talking. If they are acting as a child, a parent or an adult. (I’m using the TA meaning of P,A,C. All these terms are positive terms. )

Remember next time someone does something you don’t understand (or agree with): I’m OK, you’re OK.