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SPaMCAST 555 features our essay applying a simple filter to determine whether an interaction or event is collaborative. In this essay we put the simple four attribute model we introduced in SPaMCAST 554 to use.  Collaboration is an important tool, so let’s recognize what is or isn’t collaboration and stop calling everything collaboration.

We will also have a visit from the Software Sensei, Kim Pries. In this installment, Kim returns to the topic of lean software development.  In 2019, the concepts of lean and agile have become intertwined. Understanding concepts like waste is important for everyone involved in delivering value.   (more…)

Collaboration is no soft toss!

Many people have the idea of the lone innovator or the lone programmer developing solutions based on the wits to the adulation of the business deeply embedded in their subconscious.  These lone wolves don’t collaborate. The picture is wrong. Today’s business environment is fundamentally different. Teams and teams of teams are the problem-solving technique de jour.  Collaboration is an important part of solving business problems in teams. Because collaboration is so important, it is important to consider whether planned meetings, events, and interactions are set up to be collaborative before they occur.  Jonas Bull suggested a modification to the collaboration filter we have been using to evaluate whether an event is collaborative posthumously. Jonas’s suggestions (melded with Stephen Adam’s suggestions) follow below: (more…)

Is a root canal collaboration?

We ended Part 1 of our evaluation of activities confused with collaboration with a reminder of logic: all dogs are mammals, but not all mammals are dogs.  All collaborative processes include communication and have a workflow, but, if we flip the equation, not all communication and workflows are collaboration.  Management and meetings are the last two areas of activities in all software development and maintenance organizations (and I do mean ALL) that we will discuss. Collaboration a critical part of delivering quality, in order not to dilute the power at the core of collaboration it is important to clearly understand which behaviors are easy to conflate with collaboration. (more…)

Direct Playback

Subscribe: Apple Podcast
Check out the podcast on Google Play Music
Listen on Spotify!

SPaMCAST 554 features our essay on the misuse of the word ‘collaboration’. Collaboration is a hallmark of agile techniques, but people confuse collaboration with many other forms of interactions. When that happens everyone gets confused and disheartened. In order to stop the cycle, we identify four attributes to help recognize collaboration.

We’ll also hear from Gene Hughson who brings his Form Follows Function Column to the podcast.  In the second part of a three-part series on architects, Gene discusses the role of the solutions architect.  Part One can be found on SPaMCAST 543 – Value Chain, Solution Architects, Essays and Discussions Web Player and Show Notes: http://bit.ly/2L3tLku (more…)

Celebration

Today is the 4th of July, the national holiday celebrating the independence of the United States. It is also the culmination of a year-long celebration of Avon Lake, Ohio.  Barb Cagley chaired the Bicentennial Committee (the same last name is significant). With a little luck about the time is blog entry publishes, I will be six or seven hours into helping with the festivities (rain, rain go away), therefore today’s entry will be a bit shorter than normal.

Feedback on Evaluating Collaboration:

I received some excellent feedback on the framework for evaluating whether an activity is a collaboration or something else.  Steven suggested a tweak to the questions: substituting the word outcome for output. My first reaction was that the distinction was a bit esoteric. I had to step back and consider the point before recognizing that as many times before, Mr. Adams was correct. The new question set is: (more…)

A Panel Discussion - Collaboration?

We recently developed a structure for evaluating whether an activity was collaborative or not.  The four-step evaluation process is important because the same activity is collaborative in one context and overhead in another.  There are four areas of activities in all software development and maintenance organizations (and I do mean ALL) that are sometimes collaboration and sometimes not, but almost always sold as collaboration.  Today we tackle the first two areas. (more…)

A Framework For Collaboration

Collaboration is one of those words that is used way too often and is conflated to cover everything from transactional to shared relationships. In agile, the term collaboration is meant more specifically to mean the scenarios where teams create shared relationships so that they can achieve a common goal that individually would beyond their capabilities. In order not to dilute the power at the core of collaboration it is important to clearly understand behaviors that it are easy to conflate with collaboration.  A high-level filter to determine whether the behavior is collaborative includes the following criteria:   (more…)

Trust?

Trust is the third prerequisite for collaboration. Time and transparency help build a platform on which trust can be established. People do work together with only a modicum of trust.  Little to no trust leads to transactional and short-term interactions which are a pale version of collaboration. Developing trust past the basics of public decorum is essential to working in teams and teams interacting with other teams. There are six key attributes that are prerequisites to trust. At a team level, they are a reflection of how the individuals on the team act. At a team of team level, these attributes attach to teams. The six attributes are: (more…)

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…)

Making Cookies

A family making cookies requires collaboration!

Collaboration is the mantra of teams and productivity experts. Yesterday I used the word more than 20 times (I counted but lost track during a conversation at rest stop in Wisconsin). A simple definition of collaboration is working with someone or a group of someones to generate an outcome. The simple definition covers a lot of ground from simple transactions to shared relationships. In agile, the definition of collaboration strays more to the deeper side of the definition. Collaboration doesn’t occur simply by waving a magic wand. Effective agile collaboration requires three attributes.  All three attributes are interrelated: (more…)