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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. 

Panelist Bios (more…)

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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…)

Book Cover

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…)

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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…)

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…)