There’s no one right way

And you know it!

Why is this obvious, for instance when we are travelling and choosing between different routes? We know there are multiple ways to go to work or home. One is probably the fastest, one is the quietest and another one is the most beautiful. Why then do I often get questions like: “what is the right way to compose my team?”, “what is the right way to do Product Backlog refinement?” and “what is the right way to do a retrospective?”?

A simple answer – or assumption that is – could be that a lot of people don’t want to spend time thinking about how to solve their question and don’t want to take time to explore multiple options. They assume that there is only one right way to go and just want to go to the optimal solution at once. That’s being efficient and productive right?

This would be a bit simplistic from my side. I think that the people asking me this question are perfectly willing to think about their questions. Except that they don’t. Maybe they are primed or even schooled to think that there is a right way to do things. Maybe they are not confident enough in their own abilities and want to get some validation.

When answering the question “what is the right way?” I often refer to the Cynefin framework. Does it relate to the obvious quadrant (simple, straightforward work)? If so, there is a best practice, a right way to go. Does it relate to one of the other quadrants? Then the answer is: there is no one right way. Though I can give you some advice, practices that worked in my experience and some useful hints to pursue. Take that and discover a way that works for you.

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