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Posted on: Friday, 19 February 2010 by Rajiv Popat

Early Monday morning you see Fred approaching your cubical with a usual highly depressed Marvin like look on his face.

You can read his body language and why he is approaching your cubical.

You cringe.

You secretly wish there was something that would make him go away.

Within moments you find yourself listening to sentences which begin with words like we-do-not-have or we-need-to. Every single one of those sentences seems like gibberish to you.

We do not have documentation for all the development scenarios. We need more use-cases. We need a detail design document. We do not have a detailed process. Fred continues and if you spend enough time with Fred you actually start getting convinced about how pathetic both you and your organization are. Fred is depressed and much like Marvin he tends to spread his depression through constant whining, bitching and moaning.

Then it dawns unto you. The realization that Fred is not a bad guy after all. He means no harm. He has just realized that he is not very competent and is having a problem reconciling himself with that fact.  When this happens, it is usually easier to criticize an organization or a 'process' because, well at-lease you are not criticizing a particular human being capable of defending himself.

This, dear reader, is precisely what Fred is doing by criticizing the process or the organization. 

Put simply, Fred, has freaked out. Like a cornered cat, Fred is not looking for a convenient excuse full of complicated jargon where he can burry his incompetence.

Allow him to do that or get away with it and you are setting your precedents loud and clear.

Go ahead, take a deep breadth. Look Fred in the eye and ask him to discuss specific problems connected to the process or people and how to fix them rather than making wide generic statements on a truck load of universal problems. Put simply, ask  Fred to stop whining and start delivering.

I wish you good luck.