Here are some of our recent publications. If you would like advance notice about our new books and articles, please send an email to andrea (at) williamstechnical (dot) cz
The READ, RATT, AART requirements methodology. Published 2015, Methods and Tools Magazine.
The Workplace Sabotage Handbook
Part 1. Introduction to sabotage:
Since proto-humans were competing for cave space, we’ve been sabotaging each other. Wherever there is a power relationship, with the subservient abused by the ones with influence, resources, and connections, at least a few of the underclass will be ready to take action. Without the means to fight back openly, other ways must be found.
Strategic Services, forerunners to the CIA, wrote the key principles for successful sabotage during WWII, distributing The Simple Sabotage Field Manual to Allied sympathizers resisting German occupation. Declasified in 2008, its remarkable how many of the Sabotage Field Manuals recommendations are applicable to the modern workplace.
Your motivation as a saboteur can come from any source. Does your boss treat you like dirt? Is your work disrespected, while you toil long hours. Are you underpaid, under stress, and underclass? Expressing your feelings with a gun at the workplace is too extreme, especially given the inevitable consequences. But there are many opportuntities to both ruin your boss’s day and have a bit of fun while not breaking any laws at all.
And if you do it right, for all the harrassment and demoralization you delivery, you could even get promoted.
The Workplace Sabotage Handbook
Part 2. Don’t get caught…get promoted instead
Your priority is to not be caught.
Always use techniques that appear to be innocent. Do nothing illegal. Carry no special tools or equipment, and certainly you should never hack into secure systems or attempt to cause any harm to people. Any of these amateur, obvious, or illegal methods will be discovered sooner or later, and you’ll be found and punished. Even in circumstances where your destruction could be blamed on large numbers of people, there’s no reason to risk being caught or seeing the whole group punished. Besides, its more effective and infuriating for your targets when everything you do is apparently innocent.
The Simple Sabotage Field Manual was aimed at workers who might set fires, short circuits, derail trains, and otherwise harrass the German army during war time. But the authors (who remain secret to this day) included a timeless chapter on General Interference with Organizations and Production. This is the starting place for practical and lawful sabotage.
The recommendations here are legal, so even if you are detected the very worst that can happen is you get fired. Deliciously these techniques are so common in our offices, logistics centers, and factories that you likely won’t be noticed as a troublemaker…and you will be surprised how often you will be praise, power, and promotions for sabotaging productivity.
No one has spent much time in the modern workplace without noticing that the most incompetent are frequently promoted. One of the reasons for this is that they’re actually quite good at sabotaging the work of others, thereby making themselves look good. At organizations with stack ranking, where a certain percentage are identified as stars and promoted while simultaneously an equal number are named losers and fired, sabotage is rife. Teams select weak members specifically so they can be blamed and let go, while the most talented seek out situations where only they can be productive, at the expense of everyone else, so they’ll survive. If someone else begins looking too good, ways are found to ensure their failure, and engaging in political engineering is rewarded over any real engineering.
In such an environment, sabotage isn’t an option. You must use it to keep your job and get ahead. With the advice in this handbook, you’ll have the tools needed to succeed.
This short handbook is organized into sections. We start with a review of the classic techniques which were offered to the partisans of the Second World War, followed by a section of suggestions for the office workers of today. Then we continue with a section specifically meant for IT workers and modern managers, including those who work in the trendy agile environment. We conclude with thoughts on long term sabotage, and how we can negatively affect the future.
As you are reading these sections, you may ask yourself what you can do to increase sabotage, or you just might notice that more than a few of these recommendations are already established as common practice at your place of work.
The Workplace Sabotage Handbook
Part 3. Classic sabotage at work
Here are the classic recommendations from the Sabotage Field Manual. I’ve added only minor updates and clarifications.
You should mix and match these techniques based on your position, motives, and potential for detection. There are many opportunities for sabotage around you, so feel free to improvise. Combining several methods is highly recommended, and changing tactics from time to time helps you avoid detection while keeping your activities fresh, fun, and surprising.
It’s best to work alone, since collaborators in sabotage can expose you. Even if you notice those around you also sabotaging productivity, say nothing to encourage or prevent them. You can assist them in subtle ways, joining in, but always this must appear to be incidental and not part of a coodrinated strategy.
Principly, you must avoid detection or blame, shifting it onto those around you or circumstances. You’ll maximize your opportunities for damage, while avoiding the consenquences. But because all these techniques are legal, the worst that will happen is to be fired…and because of the devious nature of the modern workplace, many of the classic methods listed here can actually result in promotion.
When you begin adding these classic methods into daily work, you’ll soon find that the easiest and most easily understood methods are often the best. Try it for yourself.
The Workplace Sabotage Handbook
Part 4. Sabotage for team members
Insist on doing everything by the book. No shortcuts are allowed ever, and every decision must be taken carefully and slowly. Follow processes rigorously, especially when they make no sense and delay production.
Make long speeches. Talk whenever you can, at length, on all topics. Tell stories to support your points, and add in your personal experiences, so you can share with everyone in your so sincere efforts to be helpful. Don’t be afraid to include plenty of praise for your co-workers, and especially the company and its leadership.
Anything that can be done, must be done even better with a committee. Be inclusionary, never less than five are required to have a discussion, and there is always reason to have more research and consideration. Hold meetings just to schedule all the meetings. Accept every meeting invitation, and actively seek to join more meetings. The more meetings you attend, where you will also deliver a long speech, the more important you become, and the more likely you’ll be noticed by management and promoted.
Bring up irrelevant issues as frequently as possible. Where everything is running smoothly and everyone seems happy, invent causes for discontent. Argue over the most trivial of details, such as the color to paint the bicycle shed, or what kind of coffee machine is best. Of course, for all this you should establish a committee and write an official report.
Haggle over the precise wording of all reports, decisions, correspondence, or anything else in writing. Because writing is so subjective, and most of us lack confidence in how to express ourselves, your opinionated insistence in changes (always in the spirit of helpfulness and correct usage) will be not only tolerated, but eventually sought out. Become the gatekeeper who edits everything before it can become “official”, ensuring that the wording is always as complex and grandeloquent as you can manage.
Any decision that can be made, can be remade or unmade. So if by accident you allow a decision to be taken, use the earliest opportunity to bring up the subject again. Question whether it’s the right decision. Re-examine the evidence.
To ensure that you are respected and have a reputation for integrity while committing sabotage, you must always advise caution. Talk about risks, and urge your colleagues to be reasonable and wait. Ensure that everyone knows how embarrassing and difficult it can all become if everything isn’t absolutely perfect.
Appearances matter, so you should question the propriety of any course of action. Ask whether any decision might conflict with company policies, or even if the group has the authority to take such a decision on its own. Talk about how things could appear in a bad light to the higher ups, bringing repurcusions on all your heads. Of course if you have even a modicum of power, be sure to punish severely any hint of impropriety on the part of your underlings, enforcing a mindset of blind obedience to arbitrary decisions by those in command.
The Workplace Sabotage Handbook
Part 6. Sabotage for managers
Demand written orders. Never agree to even the simplest thing unless it is properly documented and approved. If your company has a process for submitting, tracking, and approving changes, insist that it be used for even trivial work.
Misunderstand. Ask endless questions and create a long correspondence, as contradictory as possible, so you can argue and delay and rework to the point that confusion spreads around you. If you are forced to recognize any information, wait for the next opportunity to ask for it be be explained to you yet again. Even so, you can misunderstand once more and pass along your misunderstandings. The simpler the topic, the less you will understand, so be sure to try to go back to basic principles, start at the begining, and demand more information.
Delay deliveries. If your team has already produced something useful, block any efforts to give this to your customer until everything is completely ready. Any flaw, no matter how insignificant, can be used to justify more delays and perhaps even doing the job over again.
Don’t order new supplies until you’re already out. This includes not only obvious things like paper for the copy machine or pens. You can also neglect to get toilet paper, coffee, or even furniture so that life is as miserable, and unproductive, as you can make it.
Order only the most expensive, highest quality, and trendiest objects that are hard to get. When they complain there is no toilet paper, explain patiently that you’re waiting for the exclusive hand-woven boutique wiping cloths and until then they’ll just have to make do because you refuse to compromise on quality.
When assigning work, always do the unimportant jobs first. If important work must be done, assign only inefficient and incompetent members of the team to doing what matters. The hard workers who know their stuff must be given only the most pointless and humiliating tasks that contribute little to success.
Insist on perfection where it doesn’t matter. But where there is a flaw that cannot be easily detected but would cause harm later, pass it along as ready for delivery.
Misroute things, people, and information. In a logisitics situation, send the package to the wrong destination. If someone needs directions, be sure to send them the opposite way. And if you work with information like a code respository or library, misfiling the materials, updating the wrong database, or checking in and changing information in the wrong way can cause enormous damage while appearing to be an innocent mistake. If anyone detects this, arrange for long training sessions to address the situation, but change nothing in the system itself unless you can add confusion and complexity.
If you provide training (which you should avoid, of course) make it incomplete or misleading. Make your least competent team member responsible for training. Use small print on slides and presentations, and make the training as dull and forgetable as possible. If you can manage to spend the entire training session on company policies, gossip, and irrelevant topics, you’ll have a good reason to schedule more training in the future.
Praise and promote your worst workers, while you punish and discriminate against your best. Destroy morale and teamwork by playing favorites, promoting your cronies, and complaining about those few who do anything productive. When the good workers ask how they can improve the situation, tell them coldly there’s nothing wrong and to leave you alone and mind their own business. Once they become demoralized and unable to work, you can relent and become friendly with them so long as they remain useless.
Hold meetings when there’s more important work to be done. Schedule all work around meetings, then schedule so many meetings the work is forgotten.
Multiply paperwork. Demand written reports from everyone for everything. Create duplicate new files, redundant files, and simultaneously restrict access to critical information. Bury your team in paper, and focus only on the format, and rarely content of any document, so that what is written cannot help the organization and the author knows their time and efforts are wasted. Name all documents so they cannot be found again in the future, and a new document must be written. Overwrite or delete important documents, but carefully preserve what doesn’t matter.
Make everything a pain. Ensure that for even the simplest tasks there are long instructions, check lists, clearances, procedures, and policies that must be followed to the letter. For something like getting paid, make sure to require at least three signatures on the timesheet, then delay the payment. Vacations can only be approved months in advance, but canceled at your whim. Child care must be made impossible, and Human Resources should act as the implacable enemy, hostile to any employee unfortunate or foolhardy enough to come to its malicious attention by way of requests for reasonable accomodations or complaints about management or the workplace.
The Workplace Sabotage Handbook
Part 7. Sabotage for support staff
Make mistakes. Write phone numbers and addresses slightly wrong, confuse similar names, forget appointments, and schedule conflicting meetings.
Prolong conversations, correspondence, and meetings. If you’re dealing with a government entity on behalf of the company, invite their attention and scrutiny. Chat away with your friends on the phone, or invite them to visit you at work.
Misfile or lose important documents.
When making copies, make too many or too few. Distribute them to the wrong people.
Tell important visitors that the boss is too busy to see them. Make them wait while openly allowing unimportant visitors priority.
Don’t forward important information until it is too late, or forward so much trivial information than anything important is lost in the jumble.
Spead disturbing rumors that sound like inside information, exagerating unrealistically positive expectations, or predicting a dire future.
The Workplace Sabotage Handbook
Part 9. Sabotage for all
Work slowly. Take extra steps. Use the wrong tools, old tools, old methods and techniques that will reduce your productivity. Use weak tools for hard jobs, and strong tools for easy jobs.
Interrupt your work. Take long coffee breaks, and stop for conversation whenever possible, especially with your supervisors. If someone is doing something interesting, get up and take a look and ask questions or join in the fun. Bathroom breaks should last no less than twenty minutes, and if you smoke be sure to go far away from the building and have at least two cigarettes before you return.
Pretend to misunderstand anyone with an accent, and of course never admit to knowing another language. Make fun of foreigners behind their backs and exclude them from social activities.
Pretend instructions are hard to understand, and ask for them to be repeated. Appear to be very anxious to do a good job, and demand the constant attention of your supervisor by asking unnecessary questions.
Do a bad job, then blame the tools, processes, management, co-workers, illness, the weather, or any other plausible excuse. Complain that you would do a great job if only these things were improved. Get your co-workers to complain about the same things, and form a grievance committee.
Never pass your skills or experience to a new hire.
Abuse the administrative staff, treating them with contempt or flirting with them and demanding special favors. Fill out forms illegibly, and omit key information. Change plans, show up late for appointments and travel, then blame the secretaries for your mistakes.
When you join or organize a grievance committee, be sure that any offer of compromise from management is used to extreme advantage. Make it inconvenient and awkward to work around you, gaining a reputation as a worker not to be triffled with. Involve as many people you can in complaining, and call separate meetings to address separate problems, drawing out the process and ensuring that the loudest speak longest generating ill-will. Make enemies and agitate for their removal, especially for imaginary reasons they cannot refute.
Mix good work with bad work randomly. Work just well enough not to be fired, or even contrive to work for more than one supervisor and tell each that you are busy on the other’s projects and therefore cannot help them.
The Workplace Sabotage Handbook
Part 9. Sabotaging relationships
Give long and complicated answers to simple questions.
Report your co-workers to management for misconduct, and invent imaginary hazards that must be investigated.
Be irritable or sullen, return a scowl to a pleasant greeting, argue, gripe, and shirk responsibilities to just below the threshold where you could be fired.
Misunderstand rules and regulations. If you have access to a company vehicle, accumulate tickets and infractions.
In public, treat all productive workers, managers and supervisors coldly.
Stop all conversations whenever a manager or supervisor comes near.
Cry and sob hysterically at work, especially when confronted with evidence of your sabotage. Throw tantrums, treat customers rudely, and draw your co-workers into your intricate and complicated inner life, leaning on them for emotional support when they’re already overloaded with responsibilities.
Boycott all outside company meetings, outings, meals, or events. Refuse to wear company logos, and express shame at being associated with the organization.
Don’t participate in any community or philanthropic activities sponsored by work. Express your contempt for those who do.
Gossip and spread malicious rumors about co-workers, managers, and supervisors.
The Workplace Sabotage Handbook
Part 10. Sabotaging the modern workplace
Work while ill. Cough into your hands, then touch every surface, door knob, and material you can manage. Shake hands to infect as widely as possible.
Treat people who are different from you with contempt and disgust. Find reasons to make enemies. Do not return pleasantries, but act annoyed by your fellow humans. Avoid communication, unless it’s to spread false rumors, make malicious comments, or insult people based on factors out of their control.
If you smoke, cultivate a smokers information network where you can gather rumors and spread gossip.
If you don’t smoke, ensure that the smokers cannot develop an informal network exchanging information. Consider mounting video cameras and microphones and strictly monitoring the duration of all smoke breaks with special attention on isolating the smokers and making them feel guilty for their habit.
Eat at your desk, and shame those who go out for lunch as slackers. Being antisocial, refusing to understand or share in harmless jokes, and creating a cold atmosphere reduces communication and cooperation.
Do not tolerate humor, informal conversations, or innocent flirtations. Report any violations to the management.
If you find yourself in an open space workplace, you’ll have endless opportunities for sabotage. It’s almost like they were designed to disrupt work, annoy people, and distract concentration destroying creativity. Be loud, messy, disruptive, and attention attracting. Organize birthday celebrations, work anniversary celebrations, parties, and impromptu bull sessions for any reason at all.
If your company provides games like pingpong at the office, play frequently, passionately, and loudly. Organize competitions, pitting departments against each other. If you lose, do so with bad grace and accuse your opponents of cheating. If you win, gloat and brag. Ostracize anyone who doesn’t play.
Either ignore safety procedures, or abuse them so that you prevent useful work from being done out of concern for risk. If you share safety equipment with others, never clean or return the equipment to its proper place.
File anonymous regulatory complaints with the authorities.
Leak negative news to journalists.
If you have a company credit card, use it as much as possible and keep poor records.
If you have a company car, accumulate traffic fines, parking tickets, and infractions. No matter what make or model, pretend it’s a high performance sports car or off road vehicle.
Express extreme political opinions. Demand that your co-workers go along with your views.
Waste office supplies.
Organize out of office activities where people can be injured or humiliated. Always encourage your co-workers to drink excessively. Urge others to join in extreme sports.
Play pranks that cause humiliation or pain. Recall those humiliations in front of new team members, or invent sarcastic nicknames that recall a bad situation and keep the pain fresh.
Seduce the boss, then file a law suit for sexual harrassment.
Eat others food.
Dress distractingly. If you show cleavage, complain when anyone seems to notice and accuse them of harrassment.
Don’t shower. Eat only strong smelling foods. Don’t flush the toilet when you’re done. Remove the toilet paper so there will be none for the next person.
Never test communications equipment before an important call. Assume the video and audio will work, and then waste the first half of the meeting fixing it. If possible, pretend ignorance of how technology works and insist on assistance from technical support for even simple tasks.
Make sure your company is well represented at strip clubs and bars. Act rudely. Start quarrels, complain unjustly and loudly, treat servers at restraurants with disrespect, all while wearing your company logo.
The Workplace Sabotage Handbook
Part 10. Sabotage for IT Professionals
Treat the users of the system with contempt.
Deny and restrict access for trivial reasons.
Do not follow best practices.
Keep your work secret.
Use acronyms and technical terms your audience cannot understand, then tell them it’s simple and you’ll take care of everything and won’t need their help.
Overcharge for trivial work.
Juke the stats. KPIs are ripe for abuse. (Although frequently called “Key Performance Indicators”, you’ll find the KPI’s real purpose is to Keep People Insecure.) Whatever measure they come up with, you can find a way to make yourself look good by tweaking the numbers and trends.
Never finish your work. You can remain 90% done for very long time, always promising that soon the system will finally work, so the project is never cancelled, but never delivered either.
Never test your own work. That’s for QA.
Treat QA as the enemy. Refuse to write tests yourself. Resent and become bitterly defensive about all bug reports and requested fixes.
Use inconsistent labeling in the user interface. Duplicate functionality widely, while hiding crucial functionality. Add extra steps to all use cases.
Never read requirements specifications. Jump immediately into coding.
Never write requirements specifications. Jump immediately into coding.
Never question the requirements specifications until it’s too late and the project is already over budget, over schedule, and at risk of failure. Then blame the poorly worded, incomplete, and ambiguous specification for your misunderstandings.
Don’t check your work into the repository. Store everything locally. Use your own special style of inconsistent and confusing indentation and formatting, expressing your wild and unique personality.
There is never time for regression testing or code review.
If you are an IT manager, make a sales person into a product owner, or promote your strongest developer to project manager without any training or guidance.
Focus on productivity before suitability. Your job is to make crap, so make more of it faster.
The Workplace Sabotage Handbook
Part 11. Advanced management sabotage
Hire only MBAs into positions of responsibility. Assume that anyone with a business education is automatically a highly qualified manager and leader of people. Get an MBA for yourself, and make sure that all the case studies you see are anecdotes of success. Concentrate on financialization, modeling, and other methods of reducing the workforce to resources to be exploited in search of short term gains.
Say something is important, then ignore it or reject it when it’s ready.
Say something doesn’t matter, then become outraged when it happens, punishing those responsible.
Destroy trust by making promises of future benefits, then cancelling them with no explanation.
Let it be known that work is all that matters. Personal lives are a distraction. Make child care or elder care as difficult as possible, and retaliate against anyone who uses these options. Question their loyalty and values, explaning that the company deserves their best efforts and no excuses.
Fire anyone who doesn’t fit in. Smokers, the obese, the ugly, the awkward all deserve to lose their jobs. Replace them with your friends.
Insist on everyone working in open space, where you can watch them closely and punish any misbehavior.
Brag about not reading reports, or caring about how people do their work. Separate yourself from your underlings and spend lavishly on your own workspace while leaving them to work in squalor.
Take all the credit for yourself if something goes right, and blame those under you for anything that goes wrong.
Misalign authority and responsibility. If you delegate work, make sure that you still make all the decisions, but if it goes wrong they will face any consequences. Let your inferiors know they don’t matter, are replaceable, and need your management and protection unless they want to lose their jobs.
If you must provide training (and you should avoid training wherever possible) be sure to treat the attendees as dimwitted children. Speak down to them. Don’t allow them to help each other. Be arbitrarily strict, kicking out students for any infraction no matter how trivial. If you provide theory, provide no examples. If you provide examples, give no background or theory, don’t allow questions. Use tests filled with trick questions to humiliate the students and make them doubt anything they’ve learned. Demand only perfect answers to your questions, and discourage the eager ones who raise their hands by ignoring them. Make training a high stakes event, letting it be known that after the limited information you’ll give them, it’s sink or swim. Schedule mandatory training for after work hours or weekends with no pay.
Replace “Humans” with “Resources”. Nothing demotivates workers more than knowing they are expendable.
Isolate developers of the products from your customers. Create a massive hierarchy that must be consulted for even trivial changes, and discourage questions or suggestions for improvements. Punish anyone who disrespects the chain of command.
Financialize your business. Instead of producing useful goods for the market, focus on cost cutting, outsourcing, and leveraging debt to provide short term gains that can be converted into bonuses you’ll pay only to yourself.
Insist on loyalty. Demand long unpaid hours, stressful overwork, last minute crushes, and sacrifice of any personal life. As soon as you’ve burnt out your hardest workers, fire them. Loyalty only goes one direction.
Create complex processes that are fragile. Put someone in charge of enforcing these processes, and give them unlimited authority to punish anyone who dares bend the rules.
Avoid writing anything down. Documentation should never have a budget.
Or write everything down, including the most insignificant details, focusing on format and ignoring the actual content. Write long passive sentences filled with jargon, acronyms and irrelevant references. Require confusing diagrams, and organize documents so strictly they’re unusable, or so randomly they cannot be understood. Adopt a standard in its entirety, insisting on including all suggested documents so they become mandatory. Use templates for everything, or offer no templates at all. Do not allow your library of documents to be sorted or searched, and name everything based on a complicated convention that hides the purpose of the document. Small fonts are best, with very little white space. You should spend an enormous amount of money producing and maintaining these documents, so that they become the priority and take precedence over any useful work getting done.
Hire only “rock stars” by making your job descriptions so all-inclusive that anyone who meets all the criteria is either seriously unbalanced in their personal lives or lying about their qualifications. Remember that rock stars burn out early, causing chaos and confusion all around them. They’re prickly and demanding, frequently childishly insecure, and demand lots of attention. A team of rock stars should theoretically create great work, but history shows that instead you’ll generate conflict and emphasize personal differences by jamming stars together. The unhealthy competition and petty rivalries will create a great deal of sabotage automatically.
Make enemies with team building. Sure, they’re advertised as a way to bring people together, but what is going to sour relationships faster than getting your work force to shoot each other with paint balls, or compete in tug of wars. Wherever possible organize these team buildings as competitions where the departments fight each other, for example sales and marketing against engineering. Rivalries will surface where none existed, and the feeling of us versus them will intensify with ramifications for future cooperation.
Similarly, company parties are a great place to destroy relationships. Always offer and encourage excessive consumption of alcohol. If there are couples at work, here’s the chance to break them up. Take pictures and videos of people at their worst. Share them at work. Fire those who don’t party enough, with the explanation that they’re not team players or don’t fit into the company culture.
The Workplace Sabotage Handbook
Part 12. Sabotaging agility
Lately a new methodology threatens to disrupt sabotage. Known as Agile, this way of working puts people before processes and encourages the developers of new systems to learn constantly and cooperate closely with customers.
Clearly, this cannot be tolerated in an environment where sabotage is the priority. Fortunately, some fearless managers have already discovered how to wreck these good ideas. This section offers suggetions for sabotaging agility.
The traditional way of managing projects is called Waterfall. Like a waterfall, orders cascade down from the top, and everything is delivered at the bottom. Agile challenges this, encouraging creative workers to work in short iterations called sprints, focusing on creating and testing value, and continuously releasing new functionality to customers as it becomes available.
Yet workplace sabateurs know that Agile is just a word, and words can be used for good or evil. The easiest and most common way of sabotaging agility is to simply continue your existing waterfall practices but give those old activities new names. Your business analysts become product owners, your project managers become scrum masters, and everything looks like it’s now agile. But the way of working doesn’t change a bit.
This will fail to produce any improvements, so you can then blame Agile, and rename everything back the way it was to begin with.
The opposite extreme is also useful. Become an agile evangelist, insisting that everything must now be done in an agile way, and that nothing that came before is worthy of respect or retention. After your two day training course, you’re now an agile expert and you can stop learning. Make only what you already know, but use the jargon of agile to preclude any questions. After all, everyone is stupid…except for you, of course.
Youth is always the best. And as a newly agile company, you’ll want to get rid of anyone who shows too much experience.
Retrospectives are a useful way to learn from mistakes. But you’ll want to focus on placing blame, making speeches, and urging a return to the old ways. Instead of constructive criticism, take the opportunity to make personal attacks and question people’s motivations or competence.
While Agile puts people before processes, most of the agile training available focuses on processes nonetheless. Use this to your advantage. Follow processes compulsively and punish anyone who doesn’t go along. For example, the fifteen minute daily standup can be so strictly enforced that anyone in a wheelchair is excluded, and any information that doesn’t fit into the fifteen minutes is forbidden. Or you can just disrupt the intent of the standup by making the classic long speeches, filled with anectdotes and amusing stories, wasting the valuable time with irrelevancies. Consider using standups for company announcements, administrative trivia, and giving out work orders.
Because agility requires a different set of skills and responsibilities compared to the waterfall methods, it has acquired new job titles todescribe these new roles. Don’t let that bother you. Just give everyone a new title, but no training or support in the new skills.
Agility also de-emphasizes budgets and long term schedules in favor of just in tme delivery, and incremental if unpredictable improvements based on lessons learned. But most senior managers will still insist on projections, promises, schedules, predictable deliveries and over-enthusiastic promises to customers. So change nothing. Plan many sprints into the future. Define the entire product and all functionality up front, and then insist that the sprints serve as mere milestones in production according to the grand plan.
The agile mindset is open to new ideas and experimentation. Use this to your advantage by piling on trendy fashions like mindfulness, all-natural environments, meditation, yoga, aromatherapy, or any other simple-minded claptrap you can find in the supermarket magazines. Not only will you waste time and effort on pointless banalities, you’ll also offend highly intelligent and sceptical people who will be annoyed by the natterings of nincompoops. Let the hippies take over, and watch chaos ensue.
To succeed in destroying agility, you want to emulate successful cults. Punish any dissent or questioning. Reward enthusiasm and insist on consensus. Keep pushing until everyone has become exchausted and can no longer resist. Suggesting that anyone who disagrees has personal issues is highly effective, and prevents the consideration of their objections by redirecting suspicion onto the questioner.
In the end, Agile is just a method, so it’s only going to be as good as the people practicing it. By emphasizing the format, and ignoring the intent, you can give lip service to agility while actually reducing productivity and doing the opposite of what was intended.