Willing To Change

From Kent Beck in XpMailingList on working as a consultant for a company in order to help them...

I ask two questions before starting with a team:

I'm amazed how often the answer to one or the other of these questions is "no", even in obviously screwed up situations.

(WillingToChange is an example of an XP analogy to AlcoholicsAnonymous. You have to admit you have a drinking problem, and be willing to try to overcome it, before the program can help you. See also: TwelveStepProgram.)

A possible paraphrase for that may be:

If a team do not realize there are problems and/or do not want to change then it is really hard or impossible to have them change their process.

Or: someone can not really help another one if that help was not really asked for and if the person are not willing to change.

I couldn't agree more emphatically. On a related note, when interviewing a team candidate I always ask What would you do differently? in reference to their most recent project or the project they were most happy with. If they respond that they wouldn't do a thing differently, I end up loosing interest right there as it indicates an unwillingness to change or, just as bad, they didn't learn anything on that project. --RobertDiFalco
I have erred in the consultant role by trying to take too direct an approach to problems when the client was unable to do likewise. "Forget it?" Too bad I failed to find a workable middle ground. Others perhaps would succeed. Conclusion: Be gentle and stick around for a while if you can afford to, even if that's a change for you. --WaldenMathews

This is a mistake I have also made. Well put. -- RichardDrake
This is a mistake I am still making, I am willing to change. --PaulCaswell

I am still trying to highlight the need for change by gently raising dissatisfaction with the current situation. I am inspired by the declaration of independence (and I'm English!), it builds the conflict to a point where the people want to change.

How long do you stick around?

I haven't a clue. But I think if you say you're willing to change, that means you are willing to be patient and accepting, in which case you're not looking to set time limits. I could be wrong.
See also: LearningReadiness

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