Teams


Time!

Time is the first requirement for collaboration. Collaboration requires a space in the schedule and the energy to interact with others (for some people the energy needed is more than others).  I have observed that many people’s schedules are so crowded that they run from meeting to meeting. Even when one or more of those meetings are structured for collaboration, many times attendees disrespect each other by hammering away at email or slack as they pretend to pay attention.  Recently I have actually heard someone announce that they are not going to pay attention unless they think something directly impacting them will come up. The meeting was to envision a component in a next-generation product. Why are they there? Between their lack of time and utter disrespect for the other attendees, there was no way they could effectively contribute.  Four factors that influence how much time is available for collaboration include the following: (more…)

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SPaMCAST 540 features our interview Mark Kilby and Johanna Rothman. Johanna, Mark, and I discussed their new book, From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams, Collaborate to Deliver (Buy your copy here: https://amzn.to/2Omur23). Distributed agile teams are a fact of life; Johanna and Mark provide an extraordinary amount of wisdom for making distributed teams exceptional.   

Johanna’s Bio

Johanna Rothman, known as the “Pragmatic Manager,” provides frank advice for your tough problems. She helps leaders and teams see problems, resolve risks, and manage their product development.

Johanna was the Agile 2009 conference chair and was the co-chair of the first edition of the Agile Practice Guide. Johanna is the author of 14 books that range from hiring, to project management, program management, project portfolio management, and management. Her most recent books are From Chaos to Successful Distributed Agile Teams (with Mark Kilby) and Create Your Successful Agile Project: Collaborate, Measure, Estimate, Deliver.

Read her blogs, email newsletter, and more information about her books at www.jrothman.com 

Mark Kilby Bio

With over two decades of experience in agile principles and practices, Mark Kilby has cultivated more distributed and dispersed teams than collocated teams.  He has consulted with organizations across many industries and coached teams, leaders, and organizations internally. Mark also co-founded a number of professional learning organizations such as Agile Orlando, Agile Florida, Virtual Team Talk, and the Agile Alliance Community Group Support Initiative among others.  His easy-going style helps teams learn to collaborate and discover their path to success and sustainability. Mark shares his insights on distributed and agile teams in dozens of articles in multiple publications. Most of his latest ideas and developments can be found on www.markkilby.com

Re-Read Saturday News
We have been re-reading Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point over the past 10 weeks.  When considering how I would wrap up the re-read I had to fight the urge to parrot back the findings Gladwell identified in the conclusion: a few people are critical and that people’s biases matter. Real life intervened and I applied the ideas in the book!

We need to choose the next book in the Re-read Saturday Series. Steven Adams has requested a referendum on the next book.  Mr. Adams has always provided sage advice, therefore, a poll we will have! The poll will be open for two weeks. Vote for your two favorites.

(more…)

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Show 500!  SPaMCAST 001 went live on Sunday, January 28, 2007, at 9:28 PM – it has been a great journey from then to now!  The first interview was a two-parter with Will McKnight. Give it a listen at https://bit.ly/2lryNaC.   

Show 500, SPaMCAST 500, Episode 500, #500  (I will probably say that 500 more times this week) features our interview with Marcus Blankenship.  Marcus and I talked teams and what makes a team good. We also discussed who owns the behaviors and values of a team. The team is core to most software development, enhancements, and maintenance. Understanding how teams work and how to make them work better makes ABSOLUTE sense.  Marcus provides great thoughts and advice on agile teams. I am thrilled that Marcus joined the SPaMCAST family on show 500!

Marcus helps CTO’s fire-up their dev teams by creating an environment where everyone can fully participate in problem-solving.  He helps great engineers become the great leader that their team deserves.

Links:

Join Marcus’s list for articles on leading developers: https://marcusblankenship.com/

Tech Leader Fortune Cookies: https://marcusblankenship.com/tech-leader-fortune-cookies

Twitter: https://twitter.com/justzeros

Medium: https://medium.com/@justzeros

Book: Habits That Ruin Your Technical Team.  Listeners of the podcast will receive 30% off with discount code SPAMCAST.

Show: UNSTUCK: The Tech Leader Q&A Show – Live call-in show for technical managers every Friday at 10am Pacific.

Re-Read Saturday News

This week we are full ahead in our re-read of L. David Marquet’s Turn the Ship Around! We continue the story of the USSN Santa Fe with Chapters 22 and 23.  These two chapters focus on how an organization’s legacy can be used to shape deliberate actions and why principles have to be tied to behavior and decisions to be useful. (more…)

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SPaMCAST 494 features our interview with Alan Mallory.  We discussed his book The Family That Conquered Everest (https://amzn.to/2Iiz3Tc).  The book provides strong lessons on leadership and teamwork in an environment where failure can lead to death or worse!  Danger, mountaineering, and leadership in a single interview; a first for the Software Process and Measurement Cast.

Alan’s Bio

Alan Mallory is an international speaker, author and performance coach who is passionate about leadership and human performance. A graduate from Queen’s University, he has worked internationally with large organizations as a professional engineer and project manager. Living and working abroad has given Alan the opportunity to deepen his understanding of individual and team challenges, better appreciate cultural diversity and successfully adapt to different organizational structures. Through his work and life experiences, he has discovered that his true passion is helping people reach new heights by cultivating effective ways of thinking and taking action. Building experience through a lifestyle of adventure and challenge, in the spring of 2008 Alan embarked on the journey of a lifetime: to attempt to reach the summit of Mount Everest. Along with three members of his immediate family, Alan climbed through some of the most challenging yet exciting conditions imaginable and set a world record when all four of them set foot on the summit. The expedition involved two years of planning and two months of climbing through immense challenges but they were able to overcome these obstacles through strategic planning, healthy team dynamics, self-awareness and perseverance. Alan delivers a number of exciting presentations and training programs designed to help individuals, team members and organizations reach new heights in the way we think and the actions we take in order to achieve breakthrough performance. For more information, visit www.alanmallory.com.

Contact
Phone: 647-388-4044

Email: alan@alanmallory.com

Web: alanmallory.com

Re-Read Saturday News

In week nine of the re-read of L. David Marquet’s Turn the Ship Around! we discuss chapters 12 and 13, titled Up Scope! and ”A New Ship”.

Current Installment:

Week 9: Up Scope! and ”A New Ship”https://bit.ly/2KfDZbS (more…)

As my European sojourn slowly builds to its finale, I have begun to reflect on how many teams and sort of teams we interact with on a daily basis.  In my case, when traveling I interact with teams at the hotel, at the conference center, and on the metro.  Each of these institutions is a combination of teams and in some cases, the teams are not perfectly synchronized and appear to be competing teams within teams.  A final reprint of an article admonising the read to avoid having teams within teams! (more…)

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SPaMCAST 485 features essay titled “A Simple Checklist for Choosing a Mentor.” Everyone needs a mentor, but they are hard to find, and even when you find someone willing they might not be the right person!  Enter: a checklist!

Blog entries (in case you would rather read the entries) in our recent coaching/mentor theme include:

In the second spot this week, Jeremy Berriault will bring his QA Corner to the cast. We will discuss trusting your team. Trust is a huge deal, and unless it goes both ways it is not really trust.  FYI – Jeremy has recently moved the QA Corner to https://qacorner.blog/

Rounding out the cast, Kim Pries, the Software Sensei will return with the second part of his essay titled “Muddling Through.” The essay is based on the article, “The Science of “Muddling Through” by Charles E. Lindblom.  The article was originally published in 1959, but it still has an important message that resonates now.  Part One was originally published in SPaMCAST 477 http://bit.ly/2IiGoCw

Re-Read Saturday News

Before we wrap up our re-read of Daniel S. Vacanti’s Actionable Agile Metrics for Predictability: An Introduction (buy a copy today) remember that we will begin our re-read of Turn the Ship Around by L. David Marquet next week!  Buy your copy and listen to the interview I did with Mr. Marquet (SPaMCAST 202). If you want to get ahead, the book after that will be The Checklist Manifesto by Atul Gawande (I recently bought a copy and want to share what I have gotten out of it). Now on with the main attraction! (more…)

So the answer is . . .

Consensus decision-making may be one of the most prevalent decision-making tools in organizations today.  Simply walk around and ask the denizens of cube farms and team spaces how they make decisions. My perception is that the increase in the prevalence of using consensus as a decision tool has paralleled with an increase in the use of Agile and teams as a significant tool to deliver value. Defining consensus decision-making is a critical first step in understanding how to harness the power of the technique. (more…)

Exit Sign

Get Team Problems Out

Not every team issue can be solved with a standard pallet of techniques. However, nearly every consultant (internal or external) will have set of tools that they have ready just in case. The following is a set of techniques packaged as a model, or the very least in order of precedence. The techniques referenced in this article are often used as a group and are only deployed as a correctively after diagnosing the problem (root cause analysis). (more…)

There are signs something’s not going to work before failure occurs.

A recent note from a reader asked: When is a team dysfunctional, and what does it mean to to reboot a team? It should be noted that The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni is a great source to sources and solutions for team dysfunctions (check out the Re-read Saturday feature).

When is a team dysfunctional?

The simplest answer is that a team is dysfunctional when it can’t deliver on its commitments. The problem with that answer is that it would be better to see the problem before it impacts commitments.  A more useful question might be: what are the attributes of a potentially dysfunctional team that can be used diagnose problems before they fail to deliver? Three common dysfunctions and some ways to identify them early are:   (more…)

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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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