Just another leadership blog…

Yearly Archives: 2016


Regular retrospectives are essential for continuous improvement, but they can get a little tedious if the same format is constantly used. Having variation in location and structure helps to create some interest and hopefully a bit of fun! There are various places to look for ideas, here are a few I use:

For a recent retrospective, and as we’re in the Christmas season, I wanted to have a festive theme to set the mood. I’d come across the Many Faces of Jack Sparrow idea, which I really liked and with a small change came up with – Many Faces of Santa.

This is the board we started with (only a few searches to find the images):

Everyone could see the board as they came into the room which aroused curiosity and a few smiles. The… Continue reading


Following on from last year’s funnies here are a few from 2016 that I found amusing…

(I’ve linked to my source, but that may not be the original)

When you delete a block of code… (source)

Please don’t feed the coders (source)

When the engineer only reads half of your email about the design (source)
This code looks pretty old, I wonder if I can delete th…. what the… (source)
Tabs vs spaces (source)
Things are mostly fine (source)

If regular architecture was like software architecture (source)

When you’re refactoring your code and you fix a bug too (source)
An “Ohnosecond” is defined as period of time between when you hit enter & you realize what you just did (source)

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 Have any of the practices we’re using become outdated or is the team obvious to them because there seen as unnecessary?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


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


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


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


We get to the end of the summer and think that went fast, or see a past memory on Facebook and remember it as yesterday although it was many years ago. Life has a habit of doing this! When we take a break and reflect, get the online photo albums out, we escape from the now as the memories come flooding back. Work can be like this…how often do you give yourself time to reflect?

Work life is busy, the frenetic pace rarely gives us time to stop. Different things on the go at once means that habits die hard, in order to get stuff done we do it how we know. And this works! The todo list gets smaller…for a brief time…and everyone is happy – we hope!

Many people like the fast pace, it keeps them engaged, but there needs to be time to look back and see… Continue reading