Build Faster, Waste Less, and Save Your Sanity by Writing World Class Tickets.

Writing tickets is an art worth mastering, for your own sanity and that of your team.

Here is my latest post for Simple Programmer…

As programmers, we have a lot on our plates. Understanding the newest technology, the business, navigating politics in the business and in our teams, and all of the tools, languages, and everything else that comes with the territory. It is overwhelming.

When it comes to making improvements, it’s easy to be in favor of our own personal development over that of our teams. Choosing to focus on gaining personal skills over improving the output of the team or the business. After all, these improvements are a manager’s responsibility, right? Possibly. But this type of thinking can backfire on us if we’re not careful.

Why? Because, ultimately, we get paid for the value we deliver to our business. So if we want more pay, more recognition, and ultimately a better career, it makes sense to keep an eye on what the business wants and needs, not just our own personal development. That’s how our checks are paid and how we keep a roof over our head.

This type of thinking can seem somewhat counterintuitive, and maybe even scary, as we’re focusing on areas that feel outside of our control.

How to Coach: A Cheat Sheet

"The effect you have on others is the most valuable currency there is." — Jim Carrey

Here is my latest post for Simple Programmer…

At some point in your programming career so far, you might have been asked to “coach.” Most programmers get into the field to write code, and often before we know it, we end up in a leadership role, almost as if by accident.

Only a few months into my first job I remember telling my boss that I felt like I was teaching a lot. I’d like to say it was a natural inclination towards teaching, but I don’t think that’s it. Because of the nature of the field of technology, teaching and coaching others is an inherent part of what we do. Even if we’re really new to the field.

Building a Workplace Learning Culture: Starter Kit.

If there is one fundamental truth I have come to realize after working in technology, it is this: Mindset and approach trump skill.

Here is my latest post for Simple Programmer…

For success, it isn’t the programming knowledge you or your team members have at present that matters most. Nor is it how many years of experience we have.

It’s how we work together, how we approach problems, and most importantly, how we learn. Michael Gerber said in the most eloquent way I have seen in his book The E-Myth: “Contrary to popular belief, my experience has shown me that the people who are exceptionally good in business aren’t so because of what they know but because of their insatiable need to know more.”

How unclear roles can damage your teams performance (and what you can do about it)

Roles and responsibilities can cause confusion and upset in our teams unless we take the time to openly discuss them. But, it can be easy to solve when we knew how to shine a light on the issue, here's how.

Coaching is often described as “holding up a mirror”. So that teams and individuals can reflect on what they see. It’s not about impart “right” or “wrong”. Coaching is not limited to only managers or supervisors. Coaching can be ran and facilitated by anyone in a team. 

Beyond scrum: Augmenting agile frameworks to achieve high team performance.

Agile frameworks give us our process, so what can we do to start getting higher performance out of our people - our teams

With 2018 on the horizon, I’ve started thinking about plans for the new year. That means changes that I’m making to my site, updates and rethinking my personal brand. It’s been around 8 months now since I started writing. I started off wanting my writing to be relaxed and then I’d see where it went. But now, I’m starting to think more about where I want to take it as the new year approaches.
 
My bio seemed like a good place to start. After all it is my mini-pitch of my unique take on the world. I never liked my bio because I didn’t have a good grasp of what my target topic (and reader) was. I knew I wasn’t interested in talking on this site about technical topics. Many people are already creating amazing tutorials, videos and blogs on programming and software. But, I’ve always known that the key to good software teams was not more technical skill anyway. I’ve been more obsessed with things like effectiveness. And are we doing the right thing, not only are we doing the thing right.

Why so many miss the point of scrum.

A few months ago I failed to explain why we're missing the point of scrum. Now, armed with the works of Tao Te Ching I'm taking another shot.

Communication is at the heart of everything we do. But doing it well can be difficult. One of the goals of this blog was to practice communicating. Trying to make a point in the most impactful way possible. Sometimes I’ve tried metaphors, sometimes lists and sometimes being plain esoteric. I’m not sure which way is best. It’s definitely an art.

Want to become more agile? Ask yourself these 3 questions.

 
Agile is something we are, not something we do. That means in order to be agile, we must embody traits. To keep us on track with these traits, we can ask ourselves questions. These questions ensure our software is easy to change. And hopefully, this means we stand a better chance at delighting our customers.

Does your agile team have a “learning disability”?

It has been argued that the best determinate of a businesses success is based on it's ability to adapt and learn. Whilst building a "learning organisation" sounds desirable, it is distinctly abstract. We're going to look at 3 concrete "learning disabilities" that prevent teams from operating optimally.

The term learning disability is taken from Senge’s The Fifth DisciplineIn the book, Senge discusses how to transform organisations into what he calls “Learning organisations”. Organisations that are quick to pick up new skills and responsive to change. To become one we must recognise what Senge calls “learning disabilities”.
 
Learning Disabilities are behavioural traits that teams exhibit. These traits cloud our ability to learn and grow as teams. Out of the seven total three, in particular, I know will resonate for developers.

Agile is the ability to change, not just the ability to ship.

Most teams are focusing on the wrong metric, are you?

There is one majorly overlooked aspect to agile software: The software itself. We’re always worried about the speed of implementing, not the speed of maintenance. But it is actually the speed of future maintenance that is the essence of agile technology. We simply cannot be agile unless we focus on the technology.

The importance of trust in software teams for disaster avoidance

When a junior developer destroys a production database on his first day it highlights just how essential trust is in software teams

Trust is the foundation of an effective software team. A team that is empowered and trusted is more likely to speak up and address pervasive technical issues that could threaten disaster for a company.