People Skills Play an Essential Role in Release Management

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In her Personality Matters series, Leslie Sachs examines the personalities and people issues that are found in technology groups from cross-functional, high-performance teams to dysfunctional matrix organizations.

coming across to others. Too often, people equate an overly blunt expressive style with “Well, I am just being honest.” Fine tuning your pitch and ability to process information can go a long way towards help you to be more effective in your work.

Dynamics within the group
Some groups can be tough. Being the new kid in school is not just a problem in the 4th grade. It can also be tough to break into a team where everyone has a lot of history and you are the newest guy on the team. Don’t be surprised if it takes a while for you to achieve full acceptance into a team that is fairly insular. It is equally common to have dynamics that can result in conflict and even chaos. Remember that groups can be very similar to dysfunctional families. Open and honest communication is usually the best way to handle these situations, but don’t underestimate the challenges ahead or the effort to deal with them.

Problem children you need to watch out for
Remember that guy who used to try to dunk your pigtails in the ink in school. Well, he’s grown up now and he can be just as annoying in a Change Control meeting where he wants to derail the team and get them focused on his latest crisis. Many people have a strong, “not invented here syndrome” coupled with a high need to be noticed. Other personality types may be hard to categorize, but these colleagues display behaviors that remind you of “problem children” from your past.

Good cop-bad cop and enforcing process

If your Release Management team has a good leader then you may be able to flip a coin and decide who gets to be the good cop (or bad cop) today. Make sure that you balance leadership with collaboration (Yes, they are inseparable).

Learn from mistakes and improve continuously
You don’t have to get it right the first time and you probably won’t. Learning from your mistakes and improving continuously are the best medicine for becoming a psychologically savvy leader and essential for successfully managing the release management process.

Conclusion
Release Management (RM) is not just about the configuration items (CIs) that you package into a deployable release package. Release Management essentials also involve having the right people skills to motivate others to improve communication and collaboration. You don’t need to delve into the teachings of Freud to be an effective technical leader (although by all means give him and other leading psychologists a read). The ability to display and model effective interactional skills is essential for taming the wild release management process.

About the author

Leslie  Sachs's picture Leslie Sachs

Leslie Sachs is a New York state certified school psychologist and the COO of Yellow Spider, Inc. (http://yellowspiderinc.com). Leslie is the coauthor of Configuration Management Best Practices: Practical Methods that Work in the Real World, Addison-Wesley Professional (http://cmbestpractices.com). Ms. Sachs has more than twenty years of experience in the psychology field and has worked in a variety of clinical and business settings where she has provided many effective interventions designed to improve the social and educational functioning of both individuals and groups. Ms. Sachs has an M.S. in School Psychology from Pace University and interned in Bellevue's Psychiatric Center in New York city. A firm believer in the uniqueness of every individual, she has recently done advanced training with Mel Levine's "All Kinds of Minds" Institute. She may be reached at LeslieASachs@gmail.com, or link with her http://www.linkedin.com/in/lesliesachs.

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