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SPaMCAST 513 features a second essay on reciprocity.  One of the hardest lessons I have had to learn is that some people on a team are passengers and others play different, more involved, roles. Being a passenger long-term on a team or in an organization is a form of rent-seeking and is not valued highly by others.

We also have columns from Susan Parente (I Am Not a Scrumdamentalist) and Jeremy Berriault (QA Corner).  Susan provides a spirited discussion of self-directed teams in agile.  It is a myth that agile teams just get to do what they want. One of the places to find Susan is at S3 Technologies, LLC. Rounding out the cast is this month’s installment of the QA Corner.   Jeremy discusses one of thorniest facts of life for a tester — hard deadlines.

Re-Read Saturday News

This week we tackle Chapter 8, titled The Hero In The Age of Checklists.  Heroes are a big deal; pick up any newspaper and you will see how much the cult of hero is celebrated.  Checklists and methods are viewed by many as diminishing the role of the hero which sows the seeds of resistance to change.  What role does the hero play in a disciplined process? If the hero is core to how we view ourselves and our society, do tools like checklists run the risk of being met with hostility?  Chapter 8 dives directly into the deep end to address these topics.

We have two or three more weeks left in this re-read, which means it’s time for the poll.  Vote and be heard! Write in candidates are welcome.

Remember to buy a copy of The Checklist Manifesto and READ along!

Current Installment:

Week 9 – The Hero In The Age of Checklistshttps://bit.ly/2PWu2TC

 

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Rent-seeking is like vacuuming up the money!

One of the hardest lessons I have had to learn is that some people on a team are passengers and others play different, more involved roles. Being a passenger long-term on a team or in an organization is a form of rent-seeking and is not valued highly by others. Rent-seeking involves seeking to increase one’s share of existing wealth without creating new wealth. In a team, a rent-seeker will increase their share of the credit while minimizing the use or contribution of their own resources. In the popular comic strip Dilbert, the character Wally works very hard at being a rent-seeking passenger. In real life, I have known very few Wallys. Most passengers exist for a short period of time because they are learning a new concept or are changing roles. Long-term passengers on teams use the team’s inertia to minimize the amount of effort they need to expand. Long-term or professional passengers often employ reciprocity as a form of rent-seeking behavior to enhance and solidify their position in a team. (more…)

Sunset over Lake Erie

A sunset is a gift with no strings!

While there are many leadership types and models, one commonality is that the really great leaders have the ability to give and take feedback. The free flow of feedback is a form of reciprocity in which the gift is honest and well-meaning knowledge, advice, or guidance. Servant leadership requires this type of reciprocity. The servant leader works to empower and serve the people he or she leads while the free flow of feedback generates engagement and brings teams and organizations together. Generating reciprocity is an important skill that needs to be carefully cultivated by a leader. Servant leaders at the team level often use two basic tools to generate reciprocity: gift giving and content marketing. (more…)

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SPaMCAST 511 features our essay on reciprocity.  Reciprocal agreements are part of working and playing well with others that we begin learning on the playground and then bring to the office with us. There are many types of reciprocal agreements in a typical agile project.

Entries in the Reciprocity theme:

Reciprocity and Reciprocal Agreements In Action https://bit.ly/2MbxIP3

Five Reciprocal Agreements In Agile https://bit.ly/2MguslE

Reciprocity or Manipulation? Seven Simple Questions https://bit.ly/2CDotIa

Negative and Unhealthy Reciprocity https://bit.ly/2oZRp3v

Our second column features Kim Pries, the Software Sensei.  Kim discusses the use and impact of domain-specific languages.  The Software Sensei provides sage advice!

The final column this week introduces the Software Process and Measurement Cast listeners to Sandeep Koorse. Sandeep delivers advice on an innovative approach to ensure retrospectives deliver value.  Reach out to Sandeep at sandeep@koorse.com

Re-Read Saturday News (more…)

What is the outcome if the sign is on the ground?

In our essay Reciprocity or Manipulation, we broached the idea that reciprocity can be negative. Negative actions are often reciprocated with negative actions.  Just yell at a driver who just misses you as you jog through a city and see what response you get. In general, negative reciprocity is behavior that occurs when an action has a negative effect on someone and that someone returns with an action that is approximately as negative. Tit for tat behavior is a polite way to describe negative reciprocity. (more…)

Are we being manipulated?

Reciprocity is a social norm that helps shape relationships.  Reciprocity happens where a recipient responds to a positive or negative action with another positive or negative action (we peel back the covers on negative reciprocity soon). Reciprocity is a tool agile coaches, just like salespeople, use to generate agreements amongst teams and stakeholders. The word “use” screams control and negative types of manipulation, so coaches need to be able to recognize when they are generating a scenario of reciprocity due to generosity or a scenario where they are trying to manipulate others for their own gratification.  Every coach needs to pause to reflect before they take an action that they believe is part of the flow of reciprocity.  Here is a simple checklist comprised of seven questions to help a coach consider their actions: (more…)

Teams thrive on reciprocity.

Biases affect everyone’s behavior in all walks of life.  In a recent Freakonomics podcast, The Stupidest Thing You Can Do With Your Money, Stephen Dubner described the impact of various cognitive biases on the behaviors of many well-known money managers (and nearly 70% of the investors in the world).  The people on teams involved in the development, support and maintenance of software products are not immune to the impact of biases.  After the publication of our essay A Return to Cognitive Biases, Steven Adams asked “What biases/fallacies might a developer fall prey to when testing code that he or she developed?” It is a great question that gets to the heart of why understanding cognitive biases is important for leaders and team members.  We will return to the question after we added two more biases to our growing pallet of biases that we have explored. (more…)