Monday, March 02, 2009

One bad apple spoils the barrel

Via Coding Horror:

"A recent episode of This American Life interviewed Will Felps, a professor who conducted a sociological experiment demonstrating the surprisingly powerful effect of bad apples."

This is not news. In fact it's something that I and other coaches have suspected for many years. But this study provides some more scientific backing for our suspicions. In short, even one misbehaving team member can upset the entire team and endanger delivery.

Getting the right people on the bus makes life much easier, massively reducing the risk of introducing agile thinking to a company and increasing the chance of successful delivery. OK, the study also suggests that a good facilitator can defuse the effect of the Bad Apple, but as the study shows, people capable of doing this are few and far between (only one team out of the entire study had a team lead capable of counteracting the problem).

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