Years ago during a personal crisis, several of my friends who were unaware chastised me at a party for sitting in the wrong seat. While I had been struggling with deep medical issues, they had chosen microscopic issues to pick at and hover around, things that would not matter the next time the sun rose. I had likened it to my friends complaining I had ants in my sink while I was battling lions at my front door.

Similarly, through my work with Agile teams, I have seen a preponderance of ADHD, OCD, anxiety, etc. issues – team members’ own personal lions at the door. Colleagues admonished them and even made fun of them behind their backs. Managers wrote them up for infractions that were more symptoms than real problems. What they are missing is the incredible caverns of hidden surprises that come from inside those brains.

Agile is currently being overwhelmingly used in software development. In turn, software developers have shown to have a preponderance of ADHD, OCD, Asperger’s Syndrome, autism, Bipolar Disorder I and II, etc. Additionally, since Agile encourages teams to work together, these issues can be a stumbling block (and sometimes a 50 foot wall) that keeps the team from growing, and even from simply functioning.

While supervisors have supported ridding the teams of these “difficult” team members, I have advocated maintaining the members and tweaking our approach to be more inclusive.

Surprisingly, this became a more personal issue recently.

Come join me while I talk with you about my experience of advocating for understanding and accommodation, and a personal revelation of my own – my own lion at the door.

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