"Ask For Help" Another Addition to your Working Agreement

March 2017 we shared a blog about adding “Admit when you’re wrong” to your working agreement. 2.5 years later, we have another one for you. It is by no means revolutionary and some of you probably already have it (either partially or wholly) as part of your working agreement.

Ask for help after 30 minutes”. Feel free to replace 30 with whatever makes sense in your context. So why is this important? It’s important because it makes it ok to ask for help. Many times we hesitate to request assistance because we don’t want to bother someone or we don’t want to admit we lack the necessary knowledge because it could make us appear weak. The truth is, asking for help is courageous and a sign of strength. In fact, it will most likely help to reduce stress. Asking for help acknowledges that no one has all the answers and we have the right to ask for help. Do we really need to identify a specific timebox? The timebox (in this case 30 minutes) helps because now team members are obligated to ask for help. This reduces the occurrences where team members are stuck for hours or days on a particular problem. Teams that adopt this item into their working agreement are likely to be more willing and have more success with XP practices such as pair programming. If you already have this is in your working agreement you may want to try reducing the timebox. What effect does it have on your team?

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