Listen Now

Subscribe on iTunes

In this week’s Software Process and Measurement Cast will feature three columns.  our essay on empathy. Coaching is a key tool to help individuals and teams reach peak performance. One of the key attributes of a good coach is empathy. Critical to the understanding the role that empathy plays in coaching is understanding the definition of empathy. As a coach, if you can’t connect with those you are coaching you will not succeed. Let’s learn how to become more empathic.

Our second column features the return of the Software Sensei, Kim Pries.  Kim looks at how we might apply David Allen’s concepts for Getting Things Done (after the book of the same name). Please note the comments reflect the Software Sensei’s interpretation of how Allen’s work might be applied to software development.

Anchoring the cast this week is Gene Hughson bringing an entry from the Form Follows Function Blog.  Today Gene discussed his essay, Changing Organizations Without Changing People.  Gene proclaims, “Changing culture is impossible if you claim to value one thing but your actions demonstrate that you really don’t.”

Remember to help grow the podcast by reviewing the SPaMCAST on iTunes, Stitcher or your favorite podcatcher/player and then share the review! Help your friends find the Software Process and Measurement Cast. After all, friends help friends find great podcasts!

(more…)

Learning games are tool in learning empathy.

Learning games are tools for learning empathy.

A University of Virginia study in 2013 found that humans are hardwired for empathy. However, arguably we are not necessarily superb practitioners. Given that most software development, Agile or not, is done in a team, we need to find ways to hone the skill. An oft-quoted study from the University of Michigan published in 2010 found that students were less empathetic than in the 1980’s.  Why this fall in observed empathy has occurred is open to debate, but stress, distractions, isolation (think about that home office) and multi-tasking have been suggested as contributors. Regardless of why we have gotten worse at empathy, there are steps that can be taken to get better at empathy. Those steps include: (more…)

Turkey Trot

Turkey Trot

Empathy is defined as understanding what another person is experiencing from their frame of reference. Empathy is more than mere understanding; requiring more of a cognitive connection between two people or a group. Empathy is a very valuable concept because it forms a basis for trust, enables communication and possibly facilitates the development of altruism. However, poorly practiced empathy can lead to problematic behaviors. The first is reinforcing boundaries and defining outsiders, which makes it hard to teams of teams to interact. Secondly is misapplied empathy when there is no basis of trust; the illusion of empathy can be perceived as manipulation. (more…)

3068483640_328b020efa_b

Happy Thanksgiving

Empathy is defined as understanding what another person is experiencing from their frame of reference. Translating that definition into action requires more than just an understanding. People that are empathic exhibit four basic attributes.  A person being empathetic must: (more…)

Empathy is the ability to place yourself in another person’s shoes.

Empathy is the ability to place yourself in another person’s shoes.

Coaching is a key tool to help individuals and teams reach peak performance. One of the key attributes of a good coach is empathy. Critical to the understanding the role that empathy plays in coaching is an understanding of the definition of empathy. I was recently drawn into a discussion about the role of empathy in coaching, and one of the most difficult parts of the discussion was agreeing on a common definition . (more…)

My father 2004.  Thanks Dad!

My father circa 2004. Thanks Dad!

June 16, 2013 is Father’s Day in the United States. Fathers have a huge impact on how we think about and react to the world. According to TheFatherhoodProject.org, children who have engaged fathers have greater problem solving competence and more empathy.

Our role as change agents is to help organizations deliver more value tomorrow than was possible today. In order to deliver on that role change agents solve problems on a daily basis. If you believe that your father is important in the capacity to deliver change then we need to say thank-you.

The ability to understand the emotions of those who are being asked to change, improves our ability to facilitate organizational change. Empathy is an ability we develop in childhood. Team leadership and collaborative decision making techniques works best if we understand how those around us are reacting and adapting to the changes we are facilitating. By helping develop empathy, fathers make us better change agents.

Whether you celebrate Father’s Day today or on another day it is more important to say thank you to your father for helping you to become the best change agent possible.  To my father…thank you for everything!