Just another blog…

Leadership

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We obviously know who our team is, but do we really know each person?! Each person is unique, each has their own strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes. To get the best out of someone you need to understand them well enough. This takes time but it also takes thought with seeking the right information. Having that deeper knowledge not only strengthens the relationship, it means you have the insight to make decisions for the benefit of individuals and the team.

In a previous blog – taking notes during a one-on-one – I mentioned capturing notes from these one-on-ones into a draft email. This I still do, but there is more in this email that helps me get to know each person. As well as the regular notes I take I aim to out more about them using these subjects: Mobile, Family, Birthday, Lives, Likes, What is truly important, Favourite… Continue reading

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Over the years I’ve been part of many teams, both as a developer and leader, some teams worked well, others not so. There can be many reasons why teams struggle, some of these are clearly visible while others are more difficult to identify. Covering all the technical skills in the team goes without saying, but there is another important ingredient to take into consideration – the personality mix! The wrong mix can cause problems.

When I think back to the teams that worked well the first thing that jumps out is the people I worked with, they made it memorable, and enjoyable! Even when the pressure was on the camaraderie in the team helped us work for each other. The teams I’ve been in that lacked that togetherness struggled because there were clashes and disruptions amongst individuals at a time when we need to be united. Different personalities can affect… Continue reading

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How often do you go to conferences? Going to 2 one day conferences in a single year is my record! Although there are hundreds of tech conferences each year we often don’t get the chance to go to everyone we would like. On the positive side, most of the talks are recorded and shared online creating an opportunity for teams to watch the best talks together!

Of course, there are many benefits to attending conferences than simply watching the talks. They are a great place to network, catch up with friends and meet new ones! The live social media exchanges during the day or a particular talk can be entertaining too. You obviously miss out on the community feel by watching a talk online after the event, but the talk material is still there giving the chance to learn.

Even though talks are shared online it can be difficult to… Continue reading

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I found this short TED talk below by Roselinde Torres relevant for today’s leaders. It was recorded in November 2013 – see if it’s significant for you?

We should always be asking what makes a great leader, particularly ourselves, as it causes us to evaluate the present state of affairs. Have any of the practices we’re using become outdated or is the team obvious to them because there seen as unnecessary? Until we start looking we’re usually not aware of changes happening, as they tend to happen quickly leaders have to be continuing watching.

Roselinde makes some good points about checking who we are spending time with, developing a diverse network of relationships, and being courageous enough to abandon past practices. It is important we are “shaping the future, not reacting to it”, not only for us but especially for our teams. Forward thinking is an important skill, by… Continue reading

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Your first one-on-one with someone is important! You may already know the person well or not, either way, this is where your new working relationship begins – let’s make a good impression! This first one-on-one would usually happen in the first couple of days of them starting, if not on day one! The typical agenda is to go through all the processes they need to follow, but is that really going to show them how fun your place is to work?!

Starting a new job should be an exciting time, of course, there are the usual formalities like HR forms, learning where the fire escapes are, etc. if these aren’t dull enough we don’t want to add to that in our first one-on-one!

You want them to feel energised and eager to work with the team. The first one-on-one can set this tone if done in the right way. This… Continue reading

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Agile software development principles emerged from a desire to improve from “heavyweight” methods of producing software. The current Agile methodologies we have evolved through observations with the intention of improving the development life-cycle. We learn an enormous amount looking at our own processes and finding ways to continuously improve as a team or organization. We also learn from other industries, like the Lean software development principles that were translated from observing lean manufacturing. This is why I was interested to read about the OODA loop and how it applies to agile.

Colonel John Boyd developed the Observation-Orientation-Decision-Action (OODA) decision model while working on air-to-air combat theories. It proved successful in the skies and the same decision-making process can be compared to those made during agile software development.

We act in accordance to how we perceive the world and not how it is.

The view we have of our teams could… Continue reading

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For many years I’ve been riding a scooter to London and back for my daily commute, through sun, wind, rain, hail…I’ve experienced all of the lovely British weather! One good thing is knowing exactly when I’ll get to work or home which is a stark contrast to using public transport which can be, let’s just say, uncertain! Being on the roads regularly you witness many things and not all of them good! One thing I’ve noticed is a number of bikers wearing a hi-vis jacket with “POLITE NOTICE THINK BIKE” on the back. This seems sensible, asking others to consider those on bikes as the roads can be dangerous, but other observations made me think more.

At work, we may not have jackets with statements on the back but we all send out signals to those around us. Are we displaying the image we think we are? As managers, whether… Continue reading