Leadership


The Software Process and Measurement Cast 617 features our essay on rediscovering productivity.  One of the tools I have embraced is Pomodoro. It is a great approach to staying focused and helps unwonkify time in my home office!

Also this week, Susan Parente brings her “Not A Scrumdamentalist” column to the Software Process and Measurement Cast! Susan begins a three-part series on grateful leadership.  Grateful leadership is so much more than just saying thank you.

In between the essay and Susan’s column, we have a promo for the Agile Online Summit 2020. (more…)

Leaders and Followers

When adopting any method or framework (e.g. Scrum, lean, orTameFlow), organizations need a leader that believes in both the journey and the destination. The recent thread on enlightened self-interest and enlightened leaders cast doubt on how much enlightenment is really going around.  Whether a leader is enlightened or just seems that way because they are on the right side on an issue we are passionate about is less important than studying how they behave. There are five attributes of a leader that impact the direction and adoption of change. They are: (more…)

When I began exploring the topic of enlightened self-interest in the realm of coaching and change (spurred by my re-read of Tame you Work Flow) I reached out to several people on the topic. I got a lot of responses which I am incorporating in essays for the blog. Joe Schofield responded in his typical very thorough style. I have convinced him to allow me to use his response as a guest essay. Just so you know, Joe Schofield and I go back . . . I can no longer remember how long. Most recently a few years ago we served on the Board of Directors of the International Function Point Users Group (IFPUG). While we did not always see eye-to-eye, we always listened and learned from each other. I am still listening and learning. Joe’s website is https://www.joejr.com/

 

Enlightened Self-Interest and Rational Selfishness; A Guest Essay by Joe Schofield (more…)

Enlightened Self-Interest Lights A Fire

As a change agent, coach, and guide I often help find how a change will benefit the people that management is asking to change. I have often heard that you have to find “what is in it for them” (WIIFT). The idea is that if something is in it for them, they will be more likely to embrace the change, or do the right thing. The ethical or philosophical concept is often called enlightened self-interest. Steve Tendon, author of Tame Your Work Flow (currently the focus of our Re-read Saturday Feature), had an exchange in which he suggested that enlightened self-interest would lead product owners and leaders to put the good of the firm in front of their own interests. The idea of enlightened self-interest is not commonly understood (I have struggled with it) and is not a panacea.   (more…)

Read Part 1   Read Part 2

This is part 3 of an essay based on a presentation I did as part of IFPUG’s Knowledge Cafe Webinar Series. The presentation is titled Software Development: Preparing For Life After COVID-19. I have not heard if the final version has been posted. I do have a copy of the audio which I will edit.  I will also post a PDF of the slides in the near future (email me if you like to have a copy of the slides before they are posted). 

Once we have an idea of what is important: throughput, cycle time, productivity, and delivered defects, deciding when we care about measuring becomes critical. The answer is simple on paper, focus on the product backlog, what is between “Start and Done” and what crosses the line of done (production!). That we care about these three slices of time reflects the need to focus on how the work flows. Only counting the flow of value when it is done is a recognition that, at least in software, if code isn’t in production, you have not delivered. (more…)

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SPaMCAST 580 features our interview with Bill Fox. Bill and I discussed his new book The Future of the Workplace –  https://amzn.to/2Q8z9Df.  Bill has compiled a huge amount of wisdom from his amazing interviews that translated into his new book. Bill and I spent time in this interview exploring the journey to the new book and Bill’s philosophies.  Our discussion highlights the benefits of a deep humanist view of leadership. (more…)

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SPaMCAST 571 features our essay titled the Art of Saying No.  I recently presented a workshop on saying no — a simple word that is very difficult to say.  During the session, three specific reasons why participants could not say no generated a huge debate. Today we ask you to decide how you feel about the impact of a history of performance, interruptions, and demands. Feel free to share your opinion. 

We will also have a visit from Jeremy Berriault.  In the QA Corner this month, Jeremy provides observations about outside interests and their ability to improve focus and reduce burnout. Jeremy’s outside interests are Jiu-Jitsu and his family.  Jeremy can be reached at Berriault and Associates Consulting Group or by email at Jeremy.Berriault@Berriaultandassociates.com. 

We had planned to have Michael Larsen on the cast this week, however, Mr. Larsen was affected by power outages in the Bay Area of California due to wildfires.  (more…)

Recently I presented  “The Art Of Saying No” to the Chicago Quality Assurance Association.  The material was a synthesis of work published on the Software Process and Measurement blog, wisdom from the podcast interviews, and hard-won experience. As one of the exercises in the workshop, I asked the participants to identify the reasons they found it difficult or impossible to say no in their business environment. Three reasons that elicited passionate debate were: (more…)

When I was in primary school I remember learning about herds of buffalo that were so vast that it would take hours for all of the animals to pass a specific point.  Herding behavior evokes visions of groups acting the same way. There is a special case that affects how work is accomplished. Self-herding affects how decisions are made based on how an initial event is tackled. Dan Ariely defines as  “our tendency to follow the same decisions we have made in the past (future decisions are influenced by previous decisions).” Self-herding is a form of cognitive bias in which an individual creates a heuristic for a specific decision, limiting the possible outcomes.  A classic example of self-herding is the rule many people develop that states that, all things being equal, given two restaurants the one with people is better. The origin of the rule many times in unknown and doesn’t get questioned. I believe I originally heard this guidance from my mother.  Even today I have difficulty going into restaurants that are empty. The first time I used my mother’s guidance the decisions translated into behavior that I rarely question even today. Restaurants might be one thing, but a decision about accepting work or using a specific framework should be a different matter but the answer is no.  (more…)

Herding for pickle beer. Who would have thought!

Herding is a pattern where an individual or team acts based on the behavior of others. Stated very simply, herding is just like the children’s game follow-the-leader.  Last year, I sat in on a discussion in an organization where being perceived as being helpful was a significant attribute for bonuses and promotions. The R&D Group (software development) had recently been asked to implement a significant SaaS package with a due date before Thanksgiving so that the retail portion of the business would not be impacted. The date was absurd. The CIO had gathered a number of teams together to determine if the work was doable. The answer from each team as they went out of the room was no until a single team said they could do it. In quick succession, everyone changed their minds and played follow-the-leader.  All of the affected teams exhibited herd behavior. As soon as one team broke from the pack everyone followed. The cascade was exacerbated when the CIO muttered “thank-you” after the first two teams said yes. Herding in decision making effectively took “no” off the table. This type of behavior is response-driven. (more…)

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