Satisfaction from working in Agile and Big five personality traits
Posted On 20.03.2019
Last (2018) year I published a questionnaire in several Agile-related Facebook-groups (Scrum Russia, Enterprise Agile Russia, Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS): на русском, Agile вне IT / Business Agility Russia и Kanban.club (Scrum-friendly)) I wanted to see how personality traits (Big five) relate to personal satisfaction from working in Agile team.
My hypothesis was that satisfaction with Agile will correlate positively with two traits: conscientiousness and openness. The data that I collected (N=99) shows no correlation between satisfaction with Agile and any Big five trait. To be precise there is a slight correlation, but it is not statistically significant. There was only one trait that had some statistical significance, while too small to claim that I found “an elixir of happy Agile team”). It is conscientiousness. But even for that trait both correlation and significance are very low. By the way this is a trait that servers as a best predictor (together with IQ) of overall job performance.
What conclusions could I make with existing data?
Firstly, correlation is not causation. Maybe people high in conscientiousness can better perform in Agile team while seeing the results and the impact that they make. Maybe having highly conscientious people makes Agile “special” so it makes team members more satisfied. Or maybe there is some other factor that relates both on conscientiousness and satisfaction with Agile. Or it is just come randomness of the data that I have.
And secondly, even though my hypothesis was not confirmed, I believe it is a good news. Even taking into account that I have a distorted data (all participants were interested in Agile as members of Agile-related groups). It is a good news because the data demonstrates that you don not need to have some special trait or set of traits in order to be satisfied working in Agile environment. This does not mean that there is no combination of traits that will inevitably make you unhappy in Agile. But it shows that you do not need to look for some special combination of traits – there are no “Agile people” and “non-Agile people”. This makes Agile very inclusive. 🙂