All aboard the Agile shuttle bus

All aboard the Agile shuttle bus

You are a developer in a bank and like most of your colleagues, you struggle with your commute. Management has heard the call and has come up with a solution. On one of their visits to BigTech inc, they’ve noticed a top-of-the-line shuttle bus.

The service picks the developers up at home and drives them to work. On board they have clean desks, hot coffee and ultra-fast wi-fi to start their days early. It’s a time-saver and a productivity boost. Hooray!

The bank is implementing the same concept and on the first day, a consultant explains you the way this service works. He shows you a commercial with happy people and shiny vehicles. You’re stoked! “We will get so much done…”

Day one, everyone has to stand-up in front of their house at 9h. The shuttle arrives 30 minutes late. It’s packed and there is no place to sit. The wi-fi is out.

Hmmm… Seems like we still need to work out a few issues…

The next few days the service gets even flakier and you decide to go by car. You get a call from management explaining you that’s no longer allowed. We’re a shuttling company now, so you take the shuttle. Grrrr.

Now everyone is consistently late. Nothing gets done. You spend hours discussing which bus tickets to use this week. On a good day, your productivity is only cut in half. You start to hate your job.

Management notices how disgruntled your team is getting and decide to hire a Shuttle Coach.

Her job is to help you adapt to this new environment. She has never actually done your job but gives you inane “hacks” in the hope of being a bit more productive.

Developers and testers are squeezed like sardines in their shuttle. Bus Drivers and Coach Coaches have reserved seats and don’t need to stick to those rules. After all, their job is about the bus, not about getting things done. The rest of the company gets to have a regular commute by car or train. They have flexible hours and don’t have to stand-up at 9h.

Finally, developers start to complain loudly. They feel they are treated like children and don’t want to take the school bus anymore. All the Shuttle Masters and Bus Owners are baffled: they don’t seem to get it!

So they start to explain the values and principles of the Shuttle Bus again. Everyone is forced to attend a training where they show commercials with happy people and shiny vehicles. They throw around big words like “empowerment” and “self-driving”.

How can you not like that??

Do you lose a lot of time waiting for the bus? Sure, but you get so much “value” out of it!

You can’t get anything done? It’s not just about you, you know. We’re all on this bus together.

Everyone feels stressed and pressured? That’s not the REAL shuttle bus! Just look at the commercials again.

On a rainy Monday morning, while you’re waiting for the shuttle again, you wonder if there’s nothing else out there. Maybe you should open a bakery. Or maybe you should just get your Certified Bus Driver License so you can at least leave the hamster wheel behind…


If you’re a Shuttle Master or Coach Coach, your reaction should not be to dismiss the experience of the passengers. They’ve seen the sales pitch more than you know.

They “get” it. It’s not working out.

Most likely your bus service is counterproductive. It makes it harder for your passengers to deliver quality and to get things done. What might work at BigTech inc, doesn’t necessarily work for this team.

If you want to be a Servant Bus Driver and help the team, then at least entertain the idea that your service might not be the solution before blaming it on the passengers.

Please don’t show them the commercial again.


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