WWWA: #4 Fun is secretly frowned upon in most workplaces

WWWA = What’s Wrong With Agile


X: I have a great idea of doing it in a fun way.

Y: We aren’t getting paid for having fun. Get back on your slides.

A quick recap to the goal of this series, which will stay same on every following article – to make some space in our brains for this to stay in:


#1 – Agile is widespread, the Agile Manifesto isn’t

#2 – Harsh critics of Waterfall or Agile (or Bacon) are Awful Researchers

#3 – Experience in a Customer Service role is mandatory to understand Agile

#4 Fun is secretly frowned upon in most workplaces

A client requested me the other day to come and give an “Elevator Pitch” on Agile, to all their teams. They have a fun atmosphere they said, always making employees happy. So a counter request followed from my side – “Great, can I give the pitch on the park while we soak up the sun?” The client’s rep looked perplexed and said “I don’t think my manager would authorise me to arrange it or even pay for the arrangements”.

He is right, simply doing his job. A company asking for an “Agile” pitch obviously don’t know what Agile stands for or is capable of. That’s when we come in as Agile practitioners. We take the burden of making them realise what they are missing out. Work can be fun and most Agile related workshops, sessions and training rooms are full of such activities for that very reason.

When you are having fun, you take personal measures to do it right.

When was the last time you had fun?

Usual Stories – ***All events and characters are fictitious, no animals are harmed and any form of resemblance is a mere coincidence*** 😉

1) Over the weekend when I mixed few drinks for fun I pissed myself near the ATM, got proper wasted while bar hoping and woke up on a strangers bed.

2) That holiday in Prague, when I finally had a lie in for 7 days with no actual visit to any touristy spot ! Well, my wife do hate me for that. Hard to care when I was that relaxed.

3) Last year when we had that poolside BBQ, the whole neighborhood joined us without an invite and trashed our place. Ironically it turned to be a great fun overall.

What triggered these (un)fortunate events?

1) I hate my work, it’s full of miserable pathetic corporate bureaucrats. Finally the weekend is here, now I can pull my tongue out my manager’s arse.

2) I worked hard for months, so I deserve the lie in, even if I have to spend a fortune on hotel rooms and wasting the site-seeing opportunities with my family.

3) It’s fun to have distant family members come over for a BBQ. It changes our focus towards “the better side of life”. I need a work-life balance.

Am I getting through to you yet?

If you love your work, you won’t “schedule” a date to have fun

I love my job. Although the fact of life is, not everyone loves their job. In fact, some of us are even in the wrong job due to financial pressure. Because it’s a job, paying for the bills and letting us survive in the rat race.. or dare I say the rat wheel. Reason why in every CV there’s a section called Hobbies, Interests or Other Professional Activities.

Ever wondered why we have the hobbies section in our Resume/CV? That’s where our definition of “fun” lies.

Because it’s a notion in most workplaces that these “activities” are not permitted at work and are frowned upon as they are not considered as work you are getting paid for. Not saying that we should allow all employees to “Watch TV” or “play Counter Strike” at work everyday. But we can allow half a day every month on a chosen activity which is a popular demand. Make it a brown bag session and use it to know the people better. Use it to train and coach without a power point slide. Invest on personal relationship for a long term goal.

Fun breeds Creativity, Common Sense and Purpose – that’s what “Agile” is all about

If you can’t have fun, you can never be agile. Agile is not about software anymore, it used to be. The Agile Manifesto above basically states the obvious which we should know better anyway but in workplace we don’t as most of us are a different person at work than in real life. A classic depiction of that habit in 3mins from the popular show –

When we have a fun activity, it makes us happy.

When we are happy we take interest and learn faster like a child.

When we take interest and evolve, we tend to give our best at whatever job we are in, whether we like it or not.

When we do our best at the job we get recognition, satisfaction and the urge to do it better continuously.

When we do all this, Agility smiles standing on one corner for making you feel good about yourself, about your colleagues and your workplace. Suddenly, the weekend doesn’t interest you as much, you might already had a few drinks during the week. You see Monday mornings in a very different way and NOT posting a status update on social media saying “Mondays are Shit”. Be agile and see the difference, it’s on your best interest.

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