Reflections on 2010

December 31, 2010

Like every year, nothing went completely as planned. This blog is part of my own professional development exercise, and during 2010 I doubled the frequency of my posting from once per week to twice per week. (I’m NOT planning on doubling again in 2011!) I’m continually examining my writing style and thinking about software leadership, and I’m continuing to take new information in by reading other blogs, articles and books.

Scrum Isn't a Spectator Sport! Part Two

December 28, 2010

This is my second post about the need for active participation in order for Scrum to be successful. Part One discussed some the changes involved with managers and how managers can support Scrum teams. This post discusses the changes that individual contributors need to make as participants on a Scrum team.

Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2010

Scrum Isn't a Spectator Sport! Part One

December 21, 2010

Scrum is a motivating work environment that improves productivity, but…

Scrum needs active participation and involvement! As a manager, this participation is about taking the time to learn about what Scrum is really all about and changing how you operate.

Some managers have a hard time resisting the urge to assign tasks and direct the team; it takes effort, discipline and a willingness to let go and even allow others to call you on your command-and-control behavior. Instead of changing, some managers continue to direct and assign work to individuals, disrupting teams and causing the process to fail.

Other managers go through the exercise of empowering a team and stepping completely back. But they do this with their fingers crossed. They wave goodbye to the ship (team) from the dock and hope that they return with a hold full of treasure – with the plan of “holding them accountable” if they don’t and reverting back to their comfort zone of highly directed teams.

I'm sure other scenarios come mind.

What these scenarios miss is the part in the middle: the part about management changing into a collaborative, supportive management model. The team needs to get the work done, and it’s your job as a manager to help the team reach its goals.

Book Review The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management

December 17, 2010

The Leader's Guide to Radical Management: Reinventing the Workplace for the 21st CenturyAs an Agile practitioner, I was interested in Stephen Denning’s new book, The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management. Denning discussed his objective as being one to discover workplaces “… where work is highly productive, new ideas are embraced, and jobs are deeply satisfying.” Denning admitted surprise when he noticed that an unusually high proportion of these experiences came from software organizations.

Is Delegation Obsolete with Autonomous Teams?

December 14, 2010

Agile development makes use of autonomous teams. We use Scrum, and this means that work should be negotiated between the team and the Product Owner. This also means that managers shouldn't be assigning tasks to individuals. As far as autonomous teams are concerned, is delegation obsolete?


The Art of Delegating

December 10, 2010

There is one thing that becomes painfully obvious to anyone once they spend a short amount of time in a management role: you cannot do everything yourself. Your universe expands and you quickly realize that you can’t do all of the work. You need to delegate.

And whatever you do, don’t micromanage! If you do, you own the work, not the employee. And you will own it for all time. Anything related to that work will come back to you.

Are You Overcommitted?

December 7, 2010

Do you feel stretched thin, with too many requests and too little time? If so, you may need a “yes diet,” or at least some re-direction of your "yeses."

Saying “yes” to every request is a sure-fire way to clutter up your day. Sometimes, people say “yes” to avoid a difficult conversation, or because they are already strapped for time to complete some other task that they said “yes” as a quick and easy way to out of a conversation so that they can get back to their other task(s)…

What are your options?

Critical Thinking Applied: Crap Detection

December 3, 2010

We're all faced with decisions each and every day. We are being sold, persuaded, or pressed into making a call. In these situations, critical thinking helps to shape your understanding of the arguments being presented, functioning as crap detection.

Crap doesn’t require detection when it is out in the open, all by itself. It’s far less obvious when it is packaged in some way. Naturally, some people are much better at packaging than others.