Collaboration is not easy. If we start with the premise that collaboration is important, even critical, why does it often fail to emerge or wither on the vine? This is not a rhetorical question. Knowing what can break collaboration is just as important as understanding the prerequisite. Four of the most common ways collaboration gets messed up include:

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The Software Process and Measurement Cast 626 features our interview with Jacob Glenn.  Jacob and I began talking about custom software development and then branched into entrepreneurship and leadership. Finding and enabling people are critical skills for building solutions.  

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I recently interviewed several successful technical entrepreneurs. Most have created multiple successful organizations. They have shared several common threads. One of the most basic of those threads is the need for a collaborative culture. Jacob Glenn, President of M Genio (SPaMCAST 626 posting on 17 November 2020) said that he hires people to fit in a collaborative culture. Collaboration is a powerful tool yielding results that include increasing innovation, employee energy, creativity, and productivity. Because the promise is so large, people apply the term to many scenarios where it doesn’t belong. Two of the scenarios that are often confused with collaboration are:

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The SPaMCAST 597 features a special panel of leaders discussing working from home now and after the initial reaction to being remote has worn off. One of the important points that we discussed was the need to make space for intentional serendipity. The panel is composed of Paul Laberge, Susan Parente, John Voris, Jo Ann Sweeney, and your host. 

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The SPaMCAST 593 features my interview with Scott Crabtree. Happiness at work might sound squishy, but happiness has rigorous science behind it. Simply put, happiness yields better outcomes both in terms of value delivered and our own perception of our value. (more…)

Effective teams exhibit a number of common characteristics.  In an earlier article, we identified four critical attributes.  

  1. Members actively support each other so the team succeeds as a whole.
  2. Teams actively interact and communicate.
  3. The team has a common goal.
  4. How work is performed.

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Teams are more than names on paper!

Teams are to agile as the atom is to classic physics. In our article, “Simple Checklist: Are They A Team?”, we began exploring what makes a bunch of people into a team by establishing seven basic questions that need to be asked about behavior and organization. Once we have established that a group of people are a team, it is important to establish what predicts whether a team will be a good team. In order to avoid my cognitive biases, I asked 10 Scrum Masters, managers of Scrum Masters, successful entrepreneurs and Released Train Engineers; that is, people that are highly skilled at working with teams.  Four categories of attributes that emerged (in descending order) are: (more…)

Teams like cooking is about people.

We use Scrum or any of the team-based agile methods for many reasons. Working as a team with an agile mindset:

  • Provides an understanding of how what we are doing fits into the bigger picture.
  • Furnishes the transparency needed to keep track of work with less overhead.
  • Focuses work on deliverables.
  • Avoids the peril of being interrupt-driven (and its nefarious sibling, multitasking).

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Saying no, at least where appropriate, is an important tool to ensure good morale, high productivity and delivering more value.  Just saying “no” is easy, having the statement be safe and make sense requires several prerequisite conditions.   (more…)

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The availability heuristic, introduced in Chapter 12,  states that we make judgments about an attribute based on how easy or hard it is to retrieve information about the attribute. In Chapter 13, Kahneman dives deeper into how the availability heuristic functions and provides some hints on how it can be used. (more…)