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Changing Software Development: Learning to Become Agile by Allan Kelly

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10.4. That Difficult Individual

From time to time, someone disagrees with the change programme or actively doesn't want to change. You may come to see such a person as 'that difficult individual', but this is an over-simplification.

Start by asking yourself if the person really is a difficult individual, or whether you're just labelling them as such? Once you label someone and start thinking of that person in a particular way, it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. You come to see that person's actions and comments as being difficult, no matter what they say or do. Perhaps the problem isn't with the individual but with yourself: may be if you approach the situation with an open mind, you'll see it differently.

Next, consider what other assumptions you may be making: Is this really an individual? Or is there a wider group of people? Before assuming that this individual is an isolated case, look to see if others feel the same way.

Consider also whether your learning and changing initiatives have reached this individual or group of people. Perhaps it isn't resistance that you're seeing, but simply some people who haven't been included. Maybe their work keeps them away from your initiatives, maybe they're too overworked to change or maybe you've done something to deter them from engaging or changing.

Nor should you overlook the possibility that the person, or people, in question are actually right. They may have seen something that you missed, they may have good reason for not ...

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