5 Whys is a blog about technical leadership in the software world.

Don’t despair in the face of nitpickers

as you start up your quest to get better, you’ll find lots of gentle souls who want to help you on your journey to become better. They wil try to help you by trying to point out all the places where you haven’t been 100% accurate, or the things that you forgot, or the fact that you said “9 AM” but the daily meeting started at 9.45 AM or the fact that your cool whiteboard  is not really what Scrum, or XP or Kanban boards are like, or many other things that just stand there and look you in the face every time to raise your head in pride over the things you’re trying to accomplish or what you’ve already accomplished.

Don’t despair in the face of nitpickers!

I’m here to tell you that there will always be nitpickers. It is absolutely necessary that you:

  1. stay away from any kind of confrontation with them – it will only frustrate you.
  2. suck it up and write down what they said and learn it. But do it later, when you have time, and are not busy driving home your original task.

The point is this:

There are two kinds of people in this world at any one point: Talkers and doers.

You are now a doer you are actually doing things which change the environment in which you work, change the behavior of people around you, change your own approach to things, and sticking your neck out to take risks. All the talkers int he company will have much to say about what you did – but just take it as a compliment. there is always something to talk about, but how often to they talk about something you did?

People nitpick because they either really care about the subject (so you need to learn from them) or they really wish they would have been involved with it in the first place (maybe you can find a way to involve them?)

but don’t let that distract you from your main task. whatever it is – getting a new task board up and running, or getting a daily meeting together  - keep focused on the task.

it’s OK if it’s not right on the money. You get better by trying, and repeatedly trying again.

Call for content – what do new team leads need to know on the first day?

Step #2 – Use a big visible board with post it notes