Evil Coach

Evil Coach

Every body perseveres in its state of being at rest or of moving uniformly straight forward, except insofar as it is compelled to change its state by forces impressed.

Enter The Target Sergeant

Hi there, it’s been a while since you last heard from me, I know.

I have to admit it, I’ve been feeling lost for some time now. Since our company adopted Agile, I haven’t felt at home. People around me started thinking, took initiatives, started to talk about building a “culture”. I felt lost as my position was being challenged. I’ve done my best to highlight the threats of Agile all this time but no one ever listens (and what the heck is a “growth mindset” anyway?). But fear not, redemption is finally at hand! I got promoted to Controller (*cough* there was apparently no other position to put me in) and our CEO just briefed us that he was thinking of introducing OKR’s (obviously, everyone else is doing it). Now here’s an opportunity! Enter the target sergeant!

This thing about letting people think, and “self-organization”, why don’t people get it that this is the recipe for chaos! But – I see my part of the equation clearly now. There is a gap to fill! The target sergeant is what I need to reclaim my importance.

Let me quickly summarize the key success factors for the target sergeant:

  • Highlight the risks. Whenever there’s a creative initiative in your surroundings, highlight the risks. Always begin by acknowledging that it is a great initiative. Then do a silent pause. Raise your voice and start your next sentence with “but…” (oh this always works BTW). You’ll start noticing a few eyeballs darting from side to side. Then, build up a focused crescendo, “…have you thought about the risks?”(Of course they haven’t! Seize the moment as you’ve got the whole management team by the balls now). Your fellow management colleagues will start to panic. Because, let’s be honest, who wants to insert risks? If anyone at this point has the gumption to object, then cut them off with, “We have commitments to keep!” Game over! Silently smile and lean back as your peers start to appreciate the senior wisdom you bring to the table (a great example has been made. Who would dare to be creative now. Ha!).
  • A master target sergeant recognizes that few ever really meet their targets. This is a problem! How can our company ever be competitive as long as this is happening? Become a target sergeant master by always highlighting the target gaps in anyone’s execution. Aren’t they committed to the cause? Silently smile and lean back as your colleagues scurry around like mice squabbling over the safest bet during target setting meetings. Then raise your voice “shouldn’t our targets be aggressive”? Watch your colleagues squirm! Muhaha!
  • Oh, and this is one of my favorites,“Has anyone tried this before?” (…of course not, that’s why it’s a novel idea, duh! ) Look around and you’ll see signs of doubt. Should we really be the first ones to try this out? Who would dare to object to that?
  • The final killer: Put emphasis on the time pressure we are under. This is the simplest trick in the book! You are always late! This is due to the fact that you set impossible stretch goals in the first place! (does that ring a bell?) When “time pressure” and “late” appear in the same sentence, the meeting will quickly loose interest and move over to the next status point on the agenda. Watch the nods around the table as your peers recognize your senior wisdom!

To sum it up, I realize that my Controller role wasn’t so bad after all. I’ll make sure we avoid chaos and my CEO has hinted that I will be considered for the CFO position – he wants more execution at the top level!

Final target sergeant advice: Always remember to jump ship and move on to the next company before the ship sinks. The story will be that your peers failed in executing the vision. You are exonerated because you pointed this out from the start. (At this point in time, everyone will have forgotten that what you really failed to do was to innovate muhahaha). Happy drilling Sergeants!

Using the 7 deadly sins to motivate your workforce

So your organisation is going ”agile” and talking about ”collaborations” between teams? You, as the big boss, are starting to feel powerless and not in control of the efficiency of YOUR teams? Let me give some tips on how to turn that around so all progress can be traced back to you. I mean, as their mighty leader, you do deserve all the credit for their work.

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You are SAFe with me


In my quest to expand my growing Evil Empire (oh you call it a company? you can’t handle the truth…)  I finally found the right tool for the job. How long haven’t I been searching for a tool to finally bash in the heads of our obnoxious Agile people? The same ignorant hamsters who never seem to understand their own good (me!). Well, I finally found it. It’s SAFe. The guy who invented that name is a genious! read more »

Competivation – Motivation through competition

I assume you are familiar with the old truth that competition spurs motivation and fear; two tremendously powerful mental states. Let me introduce my new concept that leverages both: Competivation.

It comes in two flavors, external competivation and internal competivation. They complement each other and will boost efficiency, and keep everyone on their toes at all times.

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NEINification – training your organization to achieve nothing

Reign by terror has been long known. But dictators are too short lived I’m afraid. What a true master knows, is how to tame an organization so bad it fails to achieve.. anything, without officially saying no. Look at Berlusconi – a master in action!

Here’s the Evil Coach top ten of how to make sure every initiative fail – without ever having to say no!

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Look busy

Not happy with your last pay raise? Time to pay attention!

Bosses don’t pay attention to what you do, they pay attention to how much you do.  Nothing beats a bosses bragging rights of saying “my evil coach works 24/7. All I see from you is empty desks and Nintendo”. If you want a raise, follow these training principles.

The look busy paradigm:

  • Don’t go anywhere without a paper binder under your arm. Want to get coffee? Bring a binder with you. No one care’s it’s a printout of all your emails.
  • Look stressed and upset. Carry the phone with you at all times. Make an extra loop passed your bosses office at each coffee break.
  • Have your telephone ring you when the boss is around.  Pick up, talk loudly and demand results: “damn right I want that delivery – now!”
  • Put your desktop screensaver off forever. Nothing looks as lame as a screen saver running.
  • Put on your desktop light when you leave work. Even smarter: Put a timer on so the cleaner doesn’t notice, then makes it switch on at 5 AM.
  • Send sporadic emails at night. Your neighbor’s kid will do it for you when he plays WoW late at night for a buck or two.
  • Book up your calendar with nonsense meetings.
  • Say: “I’ll take care of things” whenever your boss is around.  Divide the job into fuzzy tasks and hand them to your staff. See them try in vain and accuse them for incompetence when they fail. This gives you more things to take care of. Brilliant!
  • Pick up your colleagues kids from school and drop them off somewhere else. This makes your colleagues leave work to go look for them.

It’s eat or get eaten out there. Your colleagues loss from the pay-raise is your gain. What are your reading this for? Go get busy!

Evil Coach LIVE! “Maximize the Teams Performance”

During the conference Agila Sverige 2013, I – the Evil Coach – made my first public appearance. I gave a lightning talk on how to maximize the team’s performance. The room was filled to the brim. The talk ended with standing ovations which were immediately followed by an early termination of the conference since no one could possibly top my performance.

I gave the following short statement to someone before leaving through the back door: “I feel new energy surging through me. It feels nice to enlighten people on the true power of agile.”

If you know Swedish you can now experience the talk in video below.  The talk starts at 00:14:00.

PS. Picture above from Matti Karlsson Twitter feed. DS.

Divide & Conquer

Agilist these days don’t recognize the true value of proper design.  It takes a master to understand the subtle details that make your IT department’s self confidence melt away faster than ice in Schwarzenegger’s pants. It’s all about design. Interior design.

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Cut staff, cut salaries, gain power

The number one factor of power is the fear factor. Fear is essential to keep the resources kissing your feet.

There are of course many ways to invoke fear and I will give you my pro tip here: fire the worst 10% every year. “Worst” here refers to obedience, not performance, hell no. Firing a well paid performer cuts salary costs more, so that is just a bonus.

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Power Estimation

Why do you think projects always are late? That’s because they are designed to be late. But I’ll let you in on a secret: late projects are run by wimps. Unstoppable projects are run by masters. Welcome to the philosophy of power estimation.

You see, estimation isn’t about guessing how long a project will take, it is about getting power. More budget = more power. The best way to get more budget is to leverage the fear of failure by insisting on perfect estimation.

The beauty with estimation is the more people you ask, the bigger the estimation gets. So ask lots of people. Use historical data to cross reference how much off a project can get and grow your estimation by π. Feel the power now?

Retrospective protocol for finding the whining

Those agile geeks think it is important to have so called retrospective meetings so that they can improve. But they should improve when we tell them to, right?

However, a tip to use if they persist in having those meetings during office hours, is to have some of your allies present and write a protocol and report to you. Video cam is even better.

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The Fake Burndown Ruler ™

Order the Evil Coach’s Fake Burndown Ruler ™ TODAY! With this brand new innovative plastic ruler you can now help your team create awesome Sprint Burndowns. Every day! Every sprint!

It’s fast, it’s cheap and as a bonus you get rid of some “waste”. The Evil Coach’s Fake Burndown Ruler ™ makes the daily estimation of remaining work unnecessary.

The Scrum Master no longer needs to do the painstaking exercise of manually adding up the hours on all the post-its. Simply hold up the ruler on your chart and draw you burndown! It’s that simple! If you are lucky, the Daily Scrum is over in less than 90 seconds.

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Why You Need a Tool for Collecting Bugs

It is important to collect all bugs, or TR for Trouble Report as some call it. You will learn that some of those creepy agilists have a tendancy to fix bugs immediatley instead of collecting them.

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Pleased to meet you

Hi there, scouting the enemy, are we? This agile thing is spreading like the flu and the resources are starting to notice. Soon they’ll be out of control. We can’t have that, can we? Fret no more, this blog is here to rescue managers like you, who appreciate command and control. If you can’t win a war with a strategy, then it is not worth considering.

I will provide you with some handy tips to counter the agile movement before it gets out of hand. We don’t want to be fired, we want to be feared!

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