You might have guessed, but I’m talking about daughter who I love more than anything! But since she’s simply a resource, I can easily replace her with any 11 year old kid and it’ll work just fine. I get home, Vanessa has been replaced by…Sara and I give her a big hug, ask her about her day, play a game or two and prepare dinner. Since I know exactly what she likes and what she’s allergic to, it’ll be shrimp dumplings with peanut butter sauce. Mine you, I’ve never met Sara before, but a resource is a resource – It’s all the same. If I can easily replace my material resources, such as a printer, and expect the same results, why would it be any different with human resources? What so special about humans?
A small favour
To at least all you fellow ScrumMasters and Agile coaches out there, I’m asking you a tiny little favour: Please stop referring to individuals as resources. Just like my daughter, individuals working in a team are not interchangeable. Team members go through the classic evolution stages, learn to work together and strive to become highly efficient. If you pluck someone out and replace them like you would a memory chip, it will negatively affect the team.
Using the term “resources” does nothing to discourage this all too common practice in many organizations. Slowly help your organization to drop the term “resource” when referring to individuals and maybe, just maybe, it’ll change the way project teams are perceived – Not just as bunch interchangeable robots hacking away on a keyboard, but a group of motivated individuals who are determined to find that perfect synergy. In the corner over there, you have a true team (not to say a family) that is sharing a common vision with common goals and the unwavering belief that together they can deliver higher business value all the while lowering cost.
Now go home and hug your family. Hopefully, no one was replaced 😉