Scott Seivwright asks: why join the navy when you can be pirate?

No, the title is not a joke. It is actually one of the topics we discuss in this episode. Think about it. Why would we want to be part of the stale, slow, burocratic navy when we can be a pirate and share the benefits of our work? This is a metaphor for many of our organizations where the team and we feel much more like in the navy instead of a self-directed, clearly organized, adaptable pirate ship. There’s only one problem: what happens if you start a small pirate ship in a large navy-like organization? That’s the Systems Thinking question we must answer for every Agile team will at some point be like that small Pirate ship surrounded by a large fleet of burocrats. How you tackle that situation will be critical for the survival of your team, and your own survival in that organization.

In this episode we refer to The New New Product Development Game by Takeuchi and Nonaka. We also refer to Jim Benson’s Why Plans Fail.

About Scott Seivwright

Scott works as  Scrum Master, transformation lead and Agile coach. He is passionate about building great teams and create great places to work. He is interested in Agile, Management 3.0 and constantly looking for  better ways of working. You can link with Scott Seivwright on LinkedIn and connect with Scott Seivwright on Twitter.

2 thoughts on “Scott Seivwright asks: why join the navy when you can be pirate?”

  1. I love the question. Was just encouraging a mutany of sorts the other day.
    I’ll give them your how to live like a pirate guide.

    Was expecting an attribution to Mr Steve Jobs and his Lisa team of pirates.

  2. Pirates? Or submariners? In 1901, Admiral Sir Arthur Wilson characterised submarine crews as ‘underhand, unfair, and damned un-English’ and proposed that we should ‘treat all submarines as pirates in wartime … and hang all crews’.

    Rather than working as pirates, which will never be accepted within the organisation, Agile teams can act as a submarine crew – integrated, reliant on each other to survive and supporting the general intent of the organisation.

    Submarines check-in with their superiors at agreed times – sounds like regular updates doesn’t it? Guidance and tasking can be communicated to the submarine and how it is successfully delivered is down to the everyone on the submarine.

    Supported by the wider organisation, or “the navy”, Agile teams acting as submarine crews can act autonomously and contribute to delivering the organisations aims.

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