Deconstructing Value Is Just Like Demolition!

Trust is an important component for building effective teams, unfortunately, you can’t buy a bag of trust and like plant fertilizer, sprinkle it on a team. In a special panel discussion aired on SPaMCAST 591, Jeff Dalton reminded us that trust is built; it does not magically appear because we want it to. Many of the Software Process and Measurement Cast and Blog listeners have been thrust into situations where they are suddenly remote and learning to build trust as part of newly remote teams. Sandeep Koorse made an interesting observation in the same podcast that many of us had been lulled in a false sense of trust and intimacy because we have been face-to-face for so long. The implication is that teams don’t invest the time needed to build trust that can withstand shocks like we are now facing. A few simple (no consultants needed) ideas to begin building trust on your suddenly remote team include: (more…)

All teams and programs must have a process for gathering and excepting work. In Scrum, a typical team’s work entry process might be:

  • People write stories or requirements of varying quality,
  • Those stories are evaluated and cleaned up,
  • Updated, well-formed stories are added to the backlog,
  • Once on the backlog, stories are prioritized (and re-prioritized), and
  • In time, stories are pulled into a sprint.

The product owner owns the backlog and the prioritization process. He or she works with the team to determine when an item is to be done. A very poor work entry process allows anyone to give work to the team at any time, work they tackle based on their perception of value, urgency, and importance. While this sounds crazy, ad-hoc work entry is more common than most leaders know.  Just to be clear, when work is pulled into the team in an uncontrolled manner the team will not be able to efficiently or effectively deliver value to the organization. The same issues occur at a program and portfolio level. Disciplined programs and teams fiercely control how work is accepted. No individual, team or organization can support an ad-hoc work entry approach over the long run without having to accept enormous risks. A disciplined approach to work entry evaluates and prioritizes work to ensure that the most important and urgent work is done before other work. At a team level undisciplined work entry many effects.  The top three are: (more…)

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SPaMCAST 499 will feature our essay on trust and coaching. Coaches are among most effective tools used to help teams improve. In SPaMCAST 496 – Sam Laing I highlighted the need for trust between a coach and the team or person they are coaching. Without trust, a coach will not be very effective.  Two powerful and related tools!

In the rocker as they call it stock car racing is Wolfram Müller. Wolfram co-authored Hyper-Productive Knowledge Work Performance, The TameFlow Approach with Steve Tendon.  We talk about Chapter 23 titled Reliable Scrum and Reliable Kanban. Wolfram can be found on LinkedIn at https://bit.ly/2qXvgnw

Anchoring the cast is the Software Sensei, Kim Pries.  Kim discusses software safety. Tools and software languages can have a major impact on software safety and all of our lives depend on software these days!

Re-Read Saturday News

In week 14 of our re-read of L. David Marquet’s Turn the Ship Around!  we begin Part IV of Turn The Ship Around and tackle chapter 21. The first three parts of the book bring the story to the beginning of deployment of the Santa Fe.  Part IV picks up from that point! (more…)

Child in snazzy raincoat!

Sometimes innovation is just a tad outlandish!

Innovation is a hot topic in organizations. Innovation is not an innate talent; it can be developed and nurtured given the right environment and coaching.  We care about innovation because there are several important benefits to innovating. Important benefits include:


Not a bed of roses but rather a . . .

Trust is an important factor in decision making. The higher the level of trust in the in the information you are receiving or people involved in a decision, the easier it will be to make a decision. Easier, in this scenario, equates to using trust as a filter or qualifier of information. Filtering information does not always generate the best decision. When trust is a filter, trust intensifies many cognitive biases. There are more than a few cognitive biases that reduce the amount of perceived uncertainty and risk attributed to a decision. For example, I trust my wife’s ability to see color (she is an award-winning graphic designer and I am color blind).  When picking out clothes for work or an evening on the town I am disadvantaged and I am at risk of creating a bad impression. My trust in her ability to match colors reduces the uncertainty and risk that I will have glaring color mismatches (unless I have irritated her before asking for help). Examples of cognitive biases impacted by trust include the following: (more…)

Coaching is a tool to help individuals or teams improve performance. Effective coaching requires trust but – not all trust is the same. Christophe Hubert (@christopheXpert) responded to our essay, Trust, the Backbone of Coaching by tweeting:

“Could we define a trust level on a scale?”

The answer is obvious, we do not trust everyone to the same level. I trust the person that delivers mail to my house differently than my wife or family. The knowledge that trust is variable is important to help coaches tailor their approach. (more…)

Coaches are among most effective tools used to help teams improve. In SPaMCAST 496 – Sam Laing and I highlighted the need for trust between a coach and the team or person they are coaching. Without trust, a coach will not be very effective. Bad coaching can leave a team worse off than they were before. Trust, however, is not something you can purchase at the corner gas station. Trust is something that needs to nurtured and developed. The term”developed” is code for hard work by everyone involved! The overall level of effort needed to find and bond with a coach strongly suggests that teams should have established a relationship with their coach(es) before they jointly have to deal with a crisis (we will explore long-term coaching later in this series). Building trust, for the most part, is a point affair. The behaviors that build trust between a coach and coachee include: (more…)

Micromanagement is almost universally viewed as a poor management practice when it is recognized. Micromanagement rather than addressing the root cause of having to be directly involved in getting work done makes the problem worse!  The problem is that there is no single cause. Some of the most pernicious causes include: (more…)

You can’t make a consensus decision by yourself.

Consensus decision-making is occasionally viewed as a panacea; however, there are several potential shortcomings. Like most situations, knowing an issue is a major step to resolving the issue. (more…)


Leaders require trust between them and those they lead to be effective. Trust is not a simple attribute like hair color.  Trust is a synthesis of several attributes. None of the attributes that impact trust are fixed at birth. As humans, we learn the attributes that generate trust based on the environments we are exposed to and hone them based on effort and importance we place on these characteristics. The 8 most important characteristics that shape trust in software development and Agile environments are: (more…)