Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Keeping Your Job Against The Odds/Evidence

It is quite possible that an Agile process will yield genuine improvements in productivity. It's possible that the team just needed a change of scene. Alternatively, the extra strain that your Agilista-mentoralista-ism will put the team under may inspire a sort of Blitz-spirit and get them to perform despite the odds. These successes, though only incidentally related to your work, must be seized upon and claimed as proof of everything you have ever said or may ever say.

However, the chances are that your changes will not result in the massive turnaround of the company's actual fortunes that inspired the management to hire you in the first place. As there is an art to getting management to part with enough money to give all their junior staff decent pay rises (in order to pay you and keep them in penury) so there is an art to keeping your position. A lot of these tricks are discussed elsewhere on this site. Here are the tricks:
  • Reduce the evidence - if something is not clear, then you should be given the benefit of the doubt, since you already told management what they wanted to hear. You have already promised the world, ensured the placebo-effect with information radiators and destroyed the documentation.
  • Intimidate management - ensure that management feel that they would be stupid to avoid following your advice, despite the fact that it may not be working yet. You simply explain that they're not following ALL of your advice. So long as you can constantly think of new things to advise, you can continue to feed their need for the results you promised and feed their desire not to look foolish. See also I am not shouting
  • Drug dealer methodology - this is how you ensure a perpetual need. You feed them a bit of the drug at the start, a faked success here or there, or strategic use of the placebo-effect or illusory progress and the sort of manager most effective for protecting you. Once they've started playing your game, they will be unable to reverse their decision. This method is called jumanji
So, despite the fact that you've added nothing except a consultancy fee to the bottom line of the company, you have to keep your job. That's how human nature and your manipulative methods naturally interact.


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