Today marks the end of year 15 on the Software Process and Measurement Cast, and we are closing the year with pitchfork and torches. We discussed the world of knowledge work in 2022. Leadership, principles, value, and values take center stage. Panels like this make me want to do panels every week!

The panelists (other than myself) are:

Jeremy Berriault https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeremy-berriault-mba/ Web: https://berriaultandassociates.com/ 

Jon M Quigley linkedin.com/in/jonmquigley Web: https://www.valuetransform.com/product-development-tools/

Kevin Rush linkedin.com/in/kezrush Twitter: @Kezrush

Chris Hurney linkedin.com/in/chrishurney Web: https://www.inspiradoconsulting.com/ Twitter: chris_hurney

Participating in spirit (they were on part one last week)

Susan Parente linkedin.com/in/susanparente Twitter: @TechRiskManager

Jeremy Willets linkedin.com/in/jeremywillets   Blog: https://www.jeremywillets.com/ 

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Chapter 2 of Agile Conversations by Douglas Squirrel and Jeffrey Fredrick is titled, Improving Your Conversations.  First an update on my conversation experiment from last week. Last week I wanted to review my conversations to determine if I was correctly assessing scenarios using the Cynefin Framework. There was at least one conversation where I misjudged the complexity.  Whereas the participants viewed the scenario being discussed to be complicated (the solution being a framework or best practices), I viewed the scenario as complex or possibly chaotic.  The differences in mental models made the conversation tense and ungratifying. In my mind, my failure was not recognizing the issue until I was reviewing the conversation after the fact (one of the Four Rs in Chapter 2). I think a better approach, for me, will be to assess the complexity of the scenario before the conversion in the future. Perhaps a form of conversational premortem. 

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One of the fun parts of programming the Software Process and Measurement Cast is getting diverse groups of people together to chat.  In this edition of the podcast, Jon M Quigley, Jeremy Willets, Jeremy Berriault, Kevin Rush, Susan Parente, and myself convened to discuss what we learned about work in 2021. The last few years have been extraordinary — both good and bad. When you live in times like these it is incumbent on all of us to learn from them.

The panelists (other than myself) are:

Jeremy Berriault https://www.linkedin.com/in/jeremy-berriault-mba/ Web: https://berriaultandassociates.com/ 

Susan Parente linkedin.com/in/susanparente Web: http://www.s3-tec.com/

Jon M Quigley linkedin.com/in/jonmquigley Web: https://www.valuetransform.com/product-development-tools/

Kevin Rush linkedin.com/in/kezrush Twitter: @Kezrush

Jeremy Willets linkedin.com/in/jeremywillets   Blog: https://www.jeremywillets.com/ 

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Chapter 2 of Agile Conversations by Douglas Squirrel and Jeffrey Fredrick is titled, Escaping The Software Factory. The idea that software development and maintenance fit a factory model in which people are fungible and that processes are deterministic is a thing in 2021 (as it was when this book was written). I have always been hard-pressed to buy the factory/manufacturing model. I have worked on an assembly line. One of the jobs I had was building tires for Firestone Tire and Rubber Company at their plant in Memphis. That job was one of the reasons I made sure I went to university. Whether the assembly line model was truly appropriate even for tire manufacturing would be interesting to debate (the plant is gone, no amount of scientific management could save it). At the very least, software development and maintenance are better served by team-based collaborative approaches. Words like team-based and collaboration require communication (something that did not happen on the assembly line, except when we had union meetings) so that rigid processes and micromanagement can be minimized.

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SPaMCAST 684 posts on January 2nd, 2022.  The new year evokes both retrospection and expectations for the future. 2021 was quite the year; SPaMCAST 635 marked the beginning of our 15th year of publishing with a conversation with Johanna Rothman (SPaMCAST 635 – Practical Ways to Manage, A Conversation with Johanna Rothman). That was our most downloaded cast of 2021.  In late August I lost a podcast . . . (a summer rerun), SPaMCAST 668 has attained the status of the Lost Show. Somehow while I was backpacking on Isle Royale the preprogrammed show failed to post.  I have a backup but it is more fun to have a lost cast.  I will rectify the situation at some point when I stop being amused. The year ended with my 12-year-old mixer going to the electronics recycler. The new mixer should be delivered soon. Even with all of the hassle, I have been able to do three great interviews and two related panel discussions that will round out year 15 and kick-off year 16. That’s the long way to say that even though I am struggling through a website issue and a switchover of hardware, I am currently planning years 16 and 17. 

Happy New Year, and now back to our regularly scheduled programming with Tony Timbol and his To Tell A Story column.  This installment tackles product owners and work entry. 

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Happy New Year!  If you are reading this on the day it is first posted, we are just beginning a new year with all the expectations and possibilities.  Starting a re-read is a great way to start the new year. Today we start into Agile Conversations by Douglas Squirrel and Jeffrey Fredrick by charting the predicted course of the re-read and touch on the introduction.  The version of the book I am reading is the paperback version copyrighted 2020 by IT Revolution. The book consists of an introduction, seven numbered chapters, a conclusion, and 20 pages of end matter. All of this is over 223 pages.

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Ben Wozniki and I talk about the book and ideas inside the covers of Team Topologies. Ben provides a great deal of advice on creating teams that are fit for purpose.  Ben and I have worked together, hosted a video podcast together, and more — it is a great conversation.

Ben is an Organizational Health Coach: Helping you deliver sooner, with higher confidence, and more consistency. 

  • Ben has 10 years of experience with all facets of technical and business agility and organizational transformation.
  • He collaborates with, trains, mentors, and coaches at all levels to smooth the transition to Lean and Agile ways of delivering value.
  • And aligns transformation efforts to organizational objectives so everyone is on the same page.

Contact Information
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/benwoz/ 

Email: b@benwoz.com  

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At the end of the year, planning and prioritization take center stage. We can only really prioritize work, needs, and dreams that are within our span of control. That does not stop people from trying to prioritize work that is not theirs to prioritize. 

We also have a visit from Susan Parente who brings her I’m Not A Scrumdamentalist column to the cast.  This month we talk about getting leadership right. It is possible!

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As 2021 comes to a close we bring our re-read of Project to Product to a close as well (buy a copy and dive into the book https://amzn.to/2WzvPac – Amazon Affiliate link). The conclusion of the book brings the discussion back as a reflection on the turning point of the Age of Software. Given that this is my third read of this book my perception may be different than yours. At a philosophical level, I think the discussion of the macro change model, Kondratiev Wave discussed in the Introduction and Chapter 1, is extremely powerful. Perhaps the current pandemic makes me more aware of the slowing wave of disruption and the gathering wave of consolidation – this is a feature of Kondratiev Waves.  We have passed the turning point, and the survival of organizations requires focus. 

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This week we touch on a topic that is near and dear to my heart, work entry, with an essay titled Prioritization Without Control of Work Entry. I am tempted to suggest that without control over what you can say yes to, the whole idea of prioritization is a farce. The answer is more complicated, but only a little. 

We also have a visit from Jeremy Berriault who brings his QA Corner to the cast. This week we discuss measuring testing — it is more than just pass/fail.

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