Looks like this October i’ll be making my way east out to Winnipeg where I have the opportunity to present two sessions at the Software Developer and Evolution Conference. I’m very excited as not only will this be my second conference of the year that i’m presenting at, it’s also going to be my first time in Winnipeg. If you know of any fun family things to check out in Winnipeg please leave a comment!
My first session is about self organizing teams, participating on and leading. There’s a lot of things to think about when it comes to creating and fostering self organizing teams. I plan to talk about some of them from the perspective of a manager and leader, as well as a team member on the team. I’m also coming up with a good exercise that I hope will be fun and help illustrate my points.
The second session will be on iterative development. I did this session at the Prairie Developer Conference in Regina, and i’ve used the feedback I received from the attendees there to refine the presentation to hopefully be even better, and i’m also incorporating an exercise in to this one as well.
I’ll probably be making more posts on those two topics in the coming weeks, so check back for more.
We focus pretty heavily on constant improvement here at Point2. Improving our company, improving our departments, improving our teams, as well as individual improvement. There are many things that we do well at the team and department levels, but they don’t always filter all the way down to the individual level.
The first thing to recognize is that while the desire to improve is a great first step, it doesn’t amount to anything unless you translate that desire in to action. There are many different ways to do this, so i’m just going to stick with my favorites at the moment. I generally hear people give the advice that you should write down your goals because it increases the likelihood that you will follow through. Writing it down is a good first step, it forces you to accurately articulate what you are trying to do. However, just writing it down isn’t enough motivation if you ask me. If you really want to make the improvement, you need to tell people what you’re trying to do.
Trust your peers. They care about you and your improvement! (if they don’t, find a new job!) Telling your peers what you are currently trying to improve on will greatly increase your chances of success for two primary reasons.
The first reason is simply that you won’t want to let your peers down. When you tell your team that you are trying to achieve a goal, they want to see you achieve it. If you work on a great team that promotes improvement, you’re team now has a vested interest in seeing you make your desired improvements and reach your goals. You’ll be much less likely to give up or procrastinate while they’re watching your progress.
This leads directly to the second reason telling your peers about your desired improvements and goals is beneficial. As I said, they care about your improvement, and they have a vested interest in seeing you succeed, so they will HELP YOU. All too often, people try to make improvements and reach goals in a vacuum. You work for the team, let the team also work for you.
There is no medal or gold star for making an improvement solo without any outside help.
By: Chris Dagenais
“Alice laughed: “There’s no use trying,” she said; “one can’t believe impossible things.”
“I daresay you haven’t had much practice,” said the Queen. “When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Alice in Wonderland.
Creativity is a cornerstone of software development. Believe it or not, this is something one can exercise. A great way to train the creative part of your brain (right hemisphere) is to daydream or think about impossible things.
Why don’t you try it and follow the Queen’s advice ?
Make this exercise part of your daily stand up when working on an Agile team. Ask your team members to come up with an impossible thing each. You’ll see how much fun this can be. Make sure they think about it before the stand up starts.
You can also do this exercise at home with your partner or kids. If you do this on a regular basis you will see your creative side improving.
We came across this idea in Tony Buzan’s book “Head First” and practiced for a couple of months. It can actually be challenging to come up with new impossible things every day.
By Barbara Mayerhofer and Marcos Tarruella