Teams


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Questions are a critical tool that every coach, mentor or leader uses to help shape and improve the performance of those they interact with.  ‘Question’ represents a high-level category that describes many different types of questions.  This is similar to the screwdriver.  If you were to walk into a hardware store and ask for a screwdriver the clerk would ask what kind and/or what you were going to use it for in order to help you find the right kind.  There are different taxonomies of questions which are useful to help practitioners decide what type of question suits which purpose. (more…)

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The Software Process and Measurement Cast 442 features our essay on capability teams. The use of teams to deliver business value is at the core of most business models.  Capability teams are a tool to unlock the value delivery engine of teams.

Gene Hughson brings his Form Follows Function Blog to the cast this week to discuss his recent blog entry titled, Systems of Social Systems and the Software Systems They Create. We live in a complex world and just focusing on social systems or software systems misses the point!

Our third column is from the Software Sensei, Kim Pries.  The entry this week is titled, Software Quality and the Art of Skateboard Maintenance. This entry is an homage to Robert M. Pirsig the author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, who recently died.

Re-Read Saturday News

And welcome back!  For those who are interested, The Frederick Half Marathon last weekend was great.  I met my goals: I crossed the finish line, collected my medal and got to hang out with my family in Frederick.  This week, we begin Part Two of Holacracy: The New Management System for a Rapidly Changing World by Brian J. Robertson published by Henry Holt and Company in 2015.  Part Two is titled Evolution At Play: Practicing Holacracy.  In my opinion, Part Two provides readers with the nuts and bolts needed to use Holacracy.  Chapter 4, titled Governance, takes all of the building blocks from previous chapters and starts to weave them together. (more…)

 

The terms ‘long-lived team’, ‘stable team’ or to a lesser extent ‘capability’ can evoke an almost magical reaction. The problem with a magical reaction is that it switches off our ability to think about the consequences of the attributes and assumptions that need to be true for these types of the team to function effectively.  When any concept takes on a magical aura, conflict and disaster follow.  Long-lived teams sometimes don’t always make sense in every situation. (more…)

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There are those who believe that implementing a capability team is as easy as identifying a group of people, putting them together, and then doing a few team building exercises. Instant team! In the simplest terms possible – they are wrong.  There are four complicating factors that have to be addressed. (more…)

Not Exactly A Capability Team, But Close!

One of the holy grails of Agile in software development and other business scenarios is how to organize so that stable teams are efficient, effective and safe. The great preponderance of organizations use some variant of an organizational model that groups people by specialty and then allocate them to project teams.  This creates a matrix in which any practitioner will be part of two or more teams, which, in turn, means they have two or more managers and serve two or more masters.  People, like desks, chairs, and laptops, flow to the area of need, disband, and then return to a waiting pool until needed again.  One of the basic assumptions is that, within some limits, people are fungible and can be exchanged with relative impunity.  This approach has problems.  Ariana Racz, Senior Quality Assurance Analyst, provided a great summary of what is wrong with the idea that people are fungible in her response to Get Rid of Dynamic Teams: The Teams.  Ariana stated, “A resource on paper is not a resource in application.” In most circumstances, dynamic/matrixed teams reduce the productivity of knowledge workers. (more…)

Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Five Dysfunctions of a Team

The use of teams to deliver business value are at the core of most business models.  In matrix organizations teams are generally viewed as mutable; being formed and reformed from specialty labor pools to meet specific contexts. Teams can be customized to address emerging needs or critical problems and then fade away gracefully.  Examples of these kinds of teams include red teams or tiger teams.  This approach is viewed as maximizing organizational flexibility in a crisis.  The crisis generates the energy needed to focus the team on a specific problem.  However, as a general approach, dynamic teams have several problems because of how the organizations are structured and how people interact and become teams. (more…)

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The Software Process and Measurement Cast 437 features a discussion of our recent re-read of  The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni (Jossey-Bass, Copyright 2002, 33rd printing) with Steven Adams.  Steve has participated on nearly all of the re-reads, providing his unique wisdom.  It was a great talk that helped me understand why the book has (and continues to have) such a large impact on how I view Agile and software development. Steve also has some advice on how to get the most out of the re-read feature.

Steve lives in the San Francisco Bay Area (a.k.a, Silicon Valley) where he has a successful career in software development.  Steve has worked for Hewlett Packard, Access Systems Inc,, Trilliant Inc., and Sony Mobile Communications; plus has consulted at Cisco Systems.  Steve has a computer science degree from California State University at Chico, learned software project management at Hewlett-Packard and, in 2009, started his Agile journey with Sony Ericsson.  Steve enjoys listening to technical podcasts, and SPaMCAST was one of the first and is a favorite!  Steve is also an avid bicyclist (road) and is on track to log over 3,500 miles in 2016.

Blog: https://sadams510.wordpress.com/

Twitter: @stevena510

Re-Read Saturday News

This week we begin our read of Holacracy with a few logistics and a review of the introduction.  We have a short entry this week that will give you time to buy a copy today and read along!  If you have not listened to my interview with Jeff Dalton on Software Process and Measurement Cast 433, I would suggest a quick listen. Jeff has practical experience with using the concepts of holacracy in his company and as a tool in his consultancy.  

Holacracy: The New Management System for a Rapidly Changing World by Brian J. Robertson was published by Henry Holt and Company in 2015.  The book is comprised of a forward, 10 chapters in three parts, notes, acknowledgments, and an index.  My plan is to read and review one chapter per week.  We will move on to a new book in approximately 12 weeks.

Visit the Software Process and Measurement Cast blog to participate in this and previous re-reads. (more…)

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