Just another blog…

Steve

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Geographically distributed teams are commonplace, for some larger teams you could say the sun never goes down on them. There are positives to having teams distributed across different timezones but there are negatives too, even if the teams are in the same timezone but located in different places you lose a certain dynamic in the team. It’s not a surprise that some organisations try to co-locate teams allowing them to self-organise and collaborate together more easily.

Co-location is not always possible, which means a strategy needs to be embraced for the distributed teams. Distributed teams will vary in many ways and one of the biggest barriers to team cohesion is ensuring everyone feels part of the team. If you have one location that has over 60% of the team and other people scattered around, those individuals or smaller groups, are in danger of being isolated.

One area that helps break… Continue reading

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I am so guilty of this!

You start out with a question…

“How is the migration project going?”

But then you keep talking!

“…I was talking to Bob and he says there are few questions that still need to be answered before we can progress”

What happens is they begin to answer your question but then have to stop because you’re still talking. Maybe you throw in another question too! Before you know it they have forgotten the first question and maybe don’t know what they are meant to be answering now. Worse still is when you forget what the first question was!

I get that you can ask a couple of questions in one go, this is all about how the sentence is structured so they know not to start talking until you’ve finished.

In a way I think this blog is more for myself in an attempt to… Continue reading

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When leading one-on-ones I’ve tried different ways to be engaged with the conversation while also attempting to capture points we discussed. One-on-ones can cover a range of topics rapidly so unless you have a very good memory…I don’t…notes are important, especially for any actions that need to be taken.

When I started out as a manager I did go through a stage of not taking notes. I’ve said I don’t have a great memory so this wasn’t one of my better decisions! The conversation was the priority to me, I was focused on being engaged with the other person so didn’t want to distract myself. I took a notepad with me but only jotted down actions I needed to do. On the long term though I had nothing to look back on when review time came, only my bad memory! Most of the feedback was based on comments from other… Continue reading

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Interviews are a lot like a puzzle you’re trying to solve. In front of you are a candidate and a CV, you need to figure out fact from fiction! Any candidate should be prepared to discuss what’s on their CV so you need to delve deeper to determine whether they have a good understanding or their knowledge is purely theoretical.

In the short video clip below Elon Musk shares how he asks candidates to explain their thought process in solving problems. As Elon says:

ask them to tell you about the problems they are working on and how they solved them

This can really show you if the person has actually worked on the area their describing.

In most cases ‘problems’ are not covered on CVs so it will mean asking them to think about recent issues they’ve had and how they solved them. We all face problems in our… Continue reading

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Psychology and mental health issues are being discussed more now as our understanding improves. As awareness grows organisations are recognizing how the culture they create can directly impact the mental health of employees. Cognitive resources play an essential part of this and in our daily health, abuse of these resources could result in serious problems for the individual so an understanding is key. Starting with a definition, cognitive is:

Psychological processes involved in acquisition and understanding of knowledge, formation of beliefs and attitudes, and decision making and problem solving. They are distinct from emotional and volitional processes involved in wanting and intending.

Hopefully from that description we can understand how cognitive resources are used in everyday life – in and outside work! Decision making and problem solving are part of daily life. Look back on your last couple of days, you’ll probably remember exact points where you were interrupted while… Continue reading

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Have you ever found an agile methodology to suit everyone? I don’t think there is one! You find people very passionate about a particular methodology who dismiss any notion of trying something different, they become very protective over which practice is used. I like people who are passionate about what they do, however there are times when we need to have an open mind for constructive thinking when looking at improvements within an organisation.

As there is no unified agile methodology it should direct our thinking away from a particular methodology and towards the organisation itself. I’ve experienced new developers join a team and immediately want to bring in practices from their previous workplace. For me this is not the right approach, I’m sure the practice worked well in the previous place but the needs of the current organisation need to be taken into account before attempting to persuade people… Continue reading

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Here are a couple of resources that might be useful when transitioning from a developer role into management. I never put a plan together when I made the transition, even though I knew that management was the correct career path for me, a plan would have helped! Just visualizing progress and having more of a structured study plan can make a big difference. But, even now, as I found out, these resources are helpful for existing managers to step back and evaluate any areas that could be improved.

These resources are also be helpful if you’re unsure a management position is for you, they offer good tips to determine if the step into management is really the right one.