Be a Get Things Done Guy

WRITTEN BY Mike Cottmeyer

I don’t want to be a Scrum guy. I don’t want to be an XP guy. I don’t want to be a Lean guy… or a Kanban guy… or a DSDM guy… or a RUP guy… or a PMI guy. For that matter… I don’t even want to be an Agile guy.

As my experience has broadened over the past few years… as I have worked with more and more teams… it seems that most any process can be successful… even Waterfall… with a great team of engaged human beings… passionate… and working toward a common goal.

It seems that most of the time… when we start comparing one way of doing things with another… we tend to compare our best process implementation with the other side’s worst. My last waterfall project came in exactly on time… within one percent of budget… with all the scope originally asked for.

And yes… the product was very successful in the marketplace.

Can I please just be a ‘get things done’ guy? To the extent I can use Scrum or XP or Lean or Kanban or DSDM or RUP or PMI to be a ‘get things done’ guy… that’s what I really want do. To the extent that these labels… or even the processes themselves… get in the way of delivery… we’ll figure something else out.

The bigger the tent… the more tools we have at our disposal… the better chance we have to be successful. At the end of the day… it’s about delivery.

leave a comment

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

10 comments on “Be a Get Things Done Guy”

  1. Scott Bellware

    How about wanting to be a 'get things done guy' in an environment that wants you to be a 'work within the confines of the bureaucracy of our big tools vendor to the detriment of your ability to get things done guy'?

    The only way that you can be a get things done guy is if you're free to do so. If you're not free to do so, then you ight become a 'make the necessary changes to get things done guy', and that effort can be enlivened by dipping into the bag of 'best practices' tricks.

    You can be a get things done guy as long as you're permitted to do so by the context you find yourself in.

    Reply
  2. Mike Cottmeyer

    "The only way that you can be a get things done guy is if you're free to do so"

    I am not sure I agree with this comment…

    Personally… I have pissed a lot of people off along the way doing things the way I thought they needed to be done. I've delivered a lot of successful projects… but have not been so great at getting promoted and climbing the corporate ladder.

    It depends on how you define success… and to what extend you are going to allow others to control your ability to be successful. I have always taken the approach that I am empowered to do what is right… and that my success is not dependent on others giving me permission.

    Mike

    Reply
  3. Scott Bellware

    That's my approach as well. Nonetheless, there are some forces that gather that are stronger than our ability to be empowered as individuals – especially collective forces. No matter how empowered you are, you won't likely stand to be empowered for too long as an individual in the face of a strong, united front – especially one defending entitlements that your empowerment threatens.

    Reply
  4. Mike Cottmeyer

    Okay… so I totally agree… but the continued pissing contests over Lean, Agile, Scrum, XP, RUP, DSDM, PMI etc… don't really change anything.

    If there is an entrenched incumbent… with powerful allies… then I just have to decide if that is a place I want to work.

    To be honest… my last employer was just that… we had a great agile thing going for a while… then the forces of darkness came along and messed things up. I ended up leaving.

    The fact still remains that Scrum thinking, Lean thinking, Traditional thinking… all have a place where they conceptually work. They have a context. Talking about which methodology is better without establishing context is meaningless.

    My point is really… that when I hit the ground with a client… once I learn the context… I don't want to be a one trick pony… I don't want to be the guy with a hammer that thinks everything is a nail. I want to be able to assess the situation… have a big, full bag of tricks… and choose the right tool for the job.

    Sorry for all the mixing metaphors ;-)

    Reply
  5. Guilherme Fernandes

    Awesome post and comments!

    I agree that is not easy to get things done the way we want working with bureaucratic people, but also in this case, the project managers have to act fast and give a clear direction: the delivery.

    Reply
  6. Scott Bellware

    I'm with you on the one-trick pony thing. Nonetheless, there's no shortage of one-trick pony herds who've got no qualms tripping you up. It's not enough to just make yourself the best one of you that can be. There's an equal imperative to see to the defense of your gifts from entitlement committees.

    Reply
  7. Kevin E. Schlabach

    I'm also with you Mike! "So Say We All!"

    At first I was annoyed that I couldn't get my company to be a formal Agile shop… but I've come to learn that it's really about being successful. This means it is okay mixing and matching stuff to make it happen, even if the purists don't like it.

    Reply
  8. Denis

    Interesting post, and I completely agree. The goal is for the organization to be successful. Full stop. How we achieve that (Agile etc) is simply a means to an end.

    I like you have seen multiple projects delivered on time using multiple methodologies. In my view, at least as important as the methodology is the team using it. Without a good team you have little chance of succeeding.

    Denis

    Reply
  9. Tiago Fernandez

    I totally agree. Altough one methodology might be most suited over another in a certain environment, we should primarily focus on getting things done.

    Reply
  10. Scott Gilbert

    A good read to provide the inspiration for becoming the get it done guy is "Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done" by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan. Like the Jim Collins books it refers to big, old, profitable companies who flat out perform. You'll find phrases and passages that sound very familiar to us in the Big Tent, United Nations version of the Agile community. Enjoy.

    Reply