I am absolutely honored to have been selected to serve as the Technical Program Chair for Agile2017. I have the further honor of managing the return of the Audacious Salon after its successful inaugural year.My first significant duty as Program Chair was to assemble a Program Team. For each track in my assign, I needed to identify a chair and co-chair to help define the track, recruit a review team, and ultimately select the track content.
I am wrapping up my second in a series for Clean Coders on Technical Debt. In the first episode, I explain the Technical Debt metaphor, how it originated, how it changed over time, and how it now is commonly understood in a way that is the opposite of what it originally meant. I talk a bit about the limitations of metaphors and how debt in particular has not served us well as a metaphor over time. So when a link to an article on the "Limits of the Technical Debt Analogy" hit my inbox this morning, I was quick to follow the link and see what the author had to say.
Unfortunately, this article is not at all about the limitations of the metaphor. The article is about how people other than those who write the software are responsible for the quality of the software. This article is bunk.
Collaboration Contracts are a way of identifying who is involved in a decision and what level of decision-making authority each participant has. This isn't a delegation model where some individual is empowered and imparts unto others some fraction of their authority for a limited period of time. This is a collaboration model where all participants are equally empowered, but find consensus on all topics to be a suboptimal approach.
Dinner together as a family was a key part of how we raised our children and how we kept our family so tightly knit for years. No matter what you had to accomplish in a given day, you did your damnedest not to miss dinner. I often left the office, came home to share a meal, and headed back into the office.
There were no boundaries at the dinner table. There didn't need to be. We talked about everything.
In November of 2015, HBR published an article entitled, "We Like Leaders Who Underrate Themselves". The authors describe an extensive study based on 69,000 managers, 750,000 respondents and hundreds of companies where through an analysis of 360-degree feedback data, they found that leaders who rate themselves poorly compared to how their subordinates rate them are not only seen more favorably by their employees, but actually have more engaged employees.
Bottom line to the article:
"The more people overrated themselves, the higher the probability that they have fatal flaws and the lower the probability they have any strengths. The more people underrate themselves, however, the higher the probability they have strengths and the lower the probability they have fatal flaws."
A hat tip to Tyler Jennings for the title of this post. He and I were in a meeting some time ago, along with a lot of other interesting people from Groupon Engineering. We were sharing our thoughts on team leadership and the role of managers. There was talk about how decisions need to be made close to the work and how managers need to not just seek advice, but actually provide others the opportunity to make decisions.
I was recently contacted by a colleague looking for a bit of advice.
C: "We are thinking about merging two teams together and we're not sure how to message the change."
D: "What do you think will be your biggest challenges?"
C: "Well, for one, we're not sure how the funnel flow team will respond to being folded into the purchase page team."
Over the course of the last year, I've been slowly accumulating home automation toys. Our living room and guest room have Logitech Harmony universal remotes, which I highly recommend. In the living room, we have the Harmony Ultimate One, which not only controls the home entertainment devices, but can integrate with a number of other devices, including our Philips Hue lights. In December, we added an Amazon Echo to the mix.
For Immediate Release
Atlanta’s Nerd/Noir announces collaboration with Chicago’s CTO2 to present a workshop for software development teams.
March 2, 2016 - Atlanta, Georgia
Nerd/Noir presents Doc Norton’s workshop on Collaborative Decision Making at TechSquare Labs, April 14, 2016.
This creative collaboration workshop provides tools that address such issues team alignment, task prioritization, and complex team processes.
Even high functioning teams occasionally have a hard time making decisions or coming up with creative ideas. There are times when the conversation seems to drag on long after a decision is reached. There are times when too many people are involved in the discussion or the wrong people involved. There are times when a team is not sure who's the actual decision maker. And there are those times when team members just seem to be out of synch with each other.
This workshop is designed to be truly experiential. Rather than discussing topics, teams are quickly introduced to a concept and then spend time working together using the techniques they’ve learned. As the workshop progresses, teams have an opportunity to utilize the tools they learned earlier in the workshop and see how these techniques can be used together in various ways. At the end of the workshop, teams will have addressed a number of different challenges that are common to all of our work lives.
About CTO2 - Founded in Chicago in 2015, CTO2 helps organizations create intentional cultures and structures optimized for sustainable software delivery. With over 40 years of combined experience in software delivery process, tools, staffing, and retention across a wide range of industries, CTO2 is uniquely qualified to help companies face the challenge of growing technology teams whilst maintaining a healthy and vibrant culture. Doc Norton, Founder and CEO, is passionate about working with teams to improve delivery and build great organizations. Once a dedicated code slinger, Doc has turned his energy toward helping teams, departments, and companies work better together in the pursuit of better software. Working with a wide range of companies such as Groupon, Nationwide Insurance, Belly, and many others, Doc has applied tenants of agile, lean, systems thinking, and servant leadership to develop highly effective cultures and drastically improve their ability to deliver valuable software and products. For more information, please visit www.wearecto2.com
About Nerd/Noir - Founded in Atlanta in 2015, Nerd/Noir serves teams already on the agile path looking to master the art and science of product design and software development. Nerd/Noir offers full stack agile/lean coaching and workshops, mindfully tailored to achieve measurable outcomes. Co-founder David Laribee has over 20 years experience as a player-coach and builder of high-performing agile teams. His partner, Alexandra West brings a 20-year background in fine art, film and design to the mix. Together with their canine mascots, Roxy and Señor, they can be found scouring Atlanta for the beautiful, unusual and inspiring. For more information, please visit nerdnoir.com
I often find myself talking to people who are in the midst of a switch to agile and who find the change very difficult to get used to. They may be strong advocates, but their team just "doesn't get it". Through discussion, I find that many of them are attempting what I refer to as "Shock and Awe" agile. If you couldn't tell by the name, I consider this another agile coaching anti-pattern.
I read an article today that was posted on LinkedIn. I'm not going to link to the article. I'm not going to tell you who wrote it. I am only telling you about the article to set the stage for what I want to write about in this quick post.
In the article, along with "taking the best from Waterfall and Agile" and mixing them together into a "perfect methodology", the author, as a self-proclaimed change agent, suggested you should force implement all CMMI Level 5 developer practices at once.
Some time in mid-January, I was thinking about various organizational patterns and how companies run. I was thinking, in particular, about the idea of a "leadership team". I tweeted that leadership teams may be an indication of dysfunction.
I got a few different responses, all of which amounted to "please say more about this."