Perfection Vision

Mar 11, 2013

When explaining scrum / agile concepts / lean to teams, I often wish to establish the perfection vision as an agreement on where we want to be. Someday.

Once we agree on where we want to be, then we back off as little as possible to a point the organization thinks it can swallow today. The gap between perfection and today suggests impediments that should be exposed. Work with the team to find out why we cannot do everything we need to do to be at the perfection vision state. That list of impediments should be added to the organizational impediments backlog. This backlog is rarely discussed, but incredibly valuable as another “learning” feedback loop. The management team is responsible for working through these backlog items so the whole organization can continue to improve over time.

The understanding has to be that we are constantly, relentlessly trying to improve, to reach the perfection vision. I’ve seen teams that accept the impediments without even recognizing them and remain statically stuck in an inherently inferior state. With learning, there is hope. No matter where you are on the continuum of improving, as long as you are able to learn and improve, you can become great. Without learning there is no hope.

An interesting thing that commonly happens with teams is, if I’m not careful, they mistakenly assume that my discussion of perfection vision is a sign of intolerance, ignorance or worse. I have to remind myself to explain “perfection vision” and where it fits in the larger discussion, or I frequently find minds closing quite rapidly.

When discussing perfection vision with teams, slow down and explain more so they don’t mistakenly assume your perfection vision means you are advocating some unworkable solution as the next step.