I am a huge fan of the big screen – the cinema. Apart from being touched, entertained, shocked or burst with laughter by films, I am also interested in the people on and off camera, meaning actors and directors. What shaped and influenced them to be who they are today as persons and as professional actors/ directors? I am curios getting to know more than the character represented in a film, I want to know who the person behind the character is or behind the camera? What is his/ her intention? What drew him/ her towards his/ her passion?
You may ask yourself by now – what on earth has this to do with agile teams and their development? Let me tell you this, since I am a regular viewer of “Inside The Actors Studio” – I discovered that motivations shown, answers given and challenges presented are familiar to the ones shown by agile team members.
Inside The Actors Studio
“Inside The Actors Studio” is a US television show that aired in 1994 as “televised craft seminar for students of the Actors Studio Drama School, originally a joint venture of the Actors Studio and New School University” (“Inside The Actors Studio”, http://en.wikipedia.org/, August 15th 2013).
Questions are posed by James Lipton (called Jim), who is maybe one of the best prepared show hosts I have ever seen. He interviews Hollywood’s A-List actors and directors in a one-on-one setting, before at the very end students are allowed to ask their questions.
What struck me the most during his interview process was the questionnaire he uses at the very end of every interview. It is one that was used by his hero, Bernard Pivot, a French TV personality who adapted this questionnaire from Proust.
These are the ten questions giving a good impression of the person answering them:
What is your favorite word?
What is your least favorite word?
What turns you on?
What turns you off?
What sound or noise do you love?
What sound or noise do you hate?
What is your favorite curse word?
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?
What profession would you absolutely not like to participate in?
If heaven exists what would you like to head God say to you when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?
If your are interested in a summary of answers given by Hollywood actors, you will find some here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J0gPwYvHb00
Answers given by Hollywoods A-List
For the favorite word the following are given and show a certain attitude also regarding their work, e.g. now, new, why, evolution, virtuous. A lot of times the least favorite word chosen is: NO. Showing that obstacles or in agile terms impediments are neither something actors nor agile team members appear to take as set, but rather as a challenge to proof the counterpart wrong. Regarding the other profession one would like to attempt mostly also creative occupations are chosen always bringing a stage along to appear on, for example teacher, journalist, writer, musician, inventor, explorer or composer.
Why and how does this matter to agile teams?
<Because, the questions and answers can serve as an exiting new format for a retrospective or feedback setting. They maybe useful if a team already works together for a long time and wants to be surprised by the answers given by their colleagues finding out a lot more about the individual motivation and passion of each team member. It can also be used in getting to know each other as a new team, of course questions can then be adjusted a little towards less personal questions and maybe more towards motivations and interests according to the stage of team development.
I am very keen to hear about your experiences in practice with this or other questionnaires.
If you like to be inspired or just entertained I can only recommend to watch some of the interviews for example with Robert De Niro, Mickey Rourke or Robin Williams on www.youtube.com