Tom Critchlow, in his series of blog posts inspired Keith Johnstone’s book Impro, says:

Much as we might like to think of organizations as rational machines - the reality is that companies are social organizations and people interacting with people is the way decisions are made and how work gets done.And in this theatre of human work it’s crucial to speak up.

As a software developer in the age of agile methods, I have attended countless sprint reviews, a meeting where every couple of weeks a team presents its progress to interested parties. Because anxious, status-report driven management dies hard, it is all too easy to lose sight of the purpose of sprint review (getting feedback from actual users) and instead turn it into apologetics for team performance.

Most of the teams that I’ve worked on also take responsibility for keeping their applications up and running for customers. Which means that sometimes, nothing much else happens between reviews besides fighting fires. If that’s part of the team’s duties, they should own it and be proud of putting current user needs ahead of new features that may or may not be useful.

The theatrics matter. If you act apologetic for your decisions, your audience will assume you have regrets, and you are extending an invitation to be micromanaged.