How many times have you heard “We tried that and it was horrible. It just didn’t work for us.”? I hear that a lot. Heck, I have even said that at times in the past regarding ideas for team improvement. Its a very common condition that a company will bring in a consultant to implement a big change initiative that is set to greatly improve a team or company’s performance. Often it is a big, sweeping change such as taking waterfall teams to scrum or some other way of working that really requires a complete shift in how you think about work. Now, if you do these methods like Scrum, XP, etc well and the team is ready for this size change, you can really reap some rewards. However, a good percentage of the time these methods are scrapped and the initiative is abandoned. Why is that?

The answer is that they’ve fallen into the J-Curve and can’t get up. Have you ever heard the phrase “it is going to get worse before it gets better?” Remember the last time a new person joined your team… how there was an initial negative impact on productivity before it got better? That’s exactly what the J-Curve depicts.

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