leadership

Articles

Team of cyclists Successful Agile Requires a New Kind of Leadership

In an agile world, team members are empowered to make important decisions within the context of the behavioral architecture, without having to ask permission from supervisors or managers. But these supervisors and managers are coming from a lifetime of learning how to succeed in a hierarchical world, so they will need to leave behind those ingrained lessons. In order for agile to be successful at scale, leaders will need to change.

Jeff Dalton's picture Jeff Dalton
Product owner standing in front of a wall of sticky notes 3 Elusive Qualities of a Great Product Owner

When it comes to guiding the development of a product and ensuring you’re building what the user actually needs, a product owner is the most important hire for the team. There’s just one problem: A good product owner can be really hard to find. The characteristics that make a good product owner are elusive, but here are three qualities you should prioritize in your search.

John Yorke's picture John Yorke
Smiling team members holding up a trophy 7 Qualities of High-Performing Agile Teams

A high-performing agile team delivers exceptional results time and again, irrespective of the challenges they encounter. While their results may seem magical, lots of effort goes into building such a team, on the part of team members themselves and their leaders. Here are seven common qualities high-performance teams exhibit that you should strive for when building your own agile team.

Pooja Wandile's picture Pooja Wandile
Drawing of a person ascending stairs Continuous Improvement Activities beyond the Retrospective

One of the principles behind the Agile Manifesto is “At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.” Unfortunately, many associate that practice with performing team retrospectives at the end of a sprint, or periodically in kanban. But if you seek to build a high-performing team, there are more improvement activities you should consider adopting.

Jeffery Payne's picture Jeffery Payne

Better Software Magazine Articles

Scrum Basics Scrum: Back to Basics

So you think you know Scrum? Using the whimsical notion of farm animals and light-hearted visuals, take a refreshing review of the entire Scrum lifecycle as an intuitive set of roles, responsibilities, and handoffs. Particular attention is placed on what the ScrumMaster and product owner are expected to do at each handoff.

Brian M.  Rabon's picture Brian M. Rabon
Scaling Agile Thinking through Empowered Teams Scaling Agile Thinking through Empowered Teams

Just because a software team adopts agility doesn’t mean they’ll see results. Being flexible has its benefits, but ensuring that the team is given total responsibility to make decisions may be more important.

Bob Costello's picture Bob Costello
success Achieving Success through Servant Leadership

Regardless of whether you are working with a stellar team or one that struggles, your style of management can influence the success of the project. Josh Dawson wants you to consider adopting servant leadership.

Josh Dawson's picture Josh Dawson
Hire the Right Developer

Wondering why—with all the jobs you've applied for—you aren't getting noticed? Take it from Xojo CEO Geoff Perlman; it isn't just your programming or testing skills that will land you a job. Far from it. Geoff knows from experience that hiring the right individual is a careful blend of skill, fit, and passion.

Geoff Perlman's picture Geoff Perlman

Interviews

Becoming Agile Leaders: A Conversation with Bob Galen and Mary Thorn
Video

Bob Galen, principal agile coach at Vaco, and Mary Thorn, Vaco's agile practices lead, chat with TechWell community manager Owen Gotimer about the challenges of growing new leaders, the impact leaders can have on people’s lives, and how vulnerability can help leaders build trust.

Owen Gotimer's picture Owen Gotimer
Bob Galen Strategic Leadership in Agile: An Interview with Bob Galen
Video

In this interview, Bob Galen, principal agile coach at Vaco Agile, talks about the importance of getting rid of silos by breaking down the barriers of “them and us” and becoming “we.” He also discusses the need for agile managers to steer away from a tactical management view toward a more strategic leadership view. That means leading their teams by setting expectations and guidelines and being available to help if needed, but ultimately just trusting their teams to get the job done.

Owen Gotimer's picture Owen Gotimer
Selena Delesie Discovering the Soul of Agile: An Interview with Selena Delesie
Podcast

In this interview, Selena Delesie, an international leadership and transformation coach and trainer, explains how your team can find the soul of agile, why some agile teams lack creativity, and who on your team should become a leader.

Josiah Renaudin's picture Josiah Renaudin
Isabel Evans How Leaders Can Help Software Teams Thrive: An Interview with Isabel Evans

In this interview, Isabel Evans, a quality and testing consultant, talks about the traits most often seen in effective leaders. She details different leadership styles that work best in different situations, how you can learn to lead agile teams, and what leaders can learn from the animal kingdom.

Josiah Renaudin's picture Josiah Renaudin

Conference Presentations

Agile DevOps West Minimum Viable Product: Deliver with Vision, Simplicity and Focus
Slideshow

To build good software, teams (and businesses) need to have a laser focus on all three of these items. It is virtually impossible to keep the effort focused on building to the needs of the customer if you don't start with a solid vision from the product owner/sponsor. When the focus isn't on just what is needed by the customer, that leads scope creep and feature bloat tends to set in and impact the products ROI. Whether you are focusing on a minimum viable product, minimum viable prototype, or a minimally viable package of code; leveraging the few simple principles allows teams to keep things simple, meet the vision and needs of the customer, while building in smaller batch sizes. In this presentation, we will review case studies, hands-on exercises, and real-life examples to cover some simple techniques to lock in a vision, focus on customer needs and drive to a simple, minimal viable product.

Brian Watson
Agile DevOps West Leading in an Era of Constant Change
Slideshow

Change is a good thing. Being a leader in an era of constant change can be frustrating. Putting a company through a significant transformation is a serious process that takes a lot of people, time, and money. However, if your organization doesn't innovate and change by market-driven needs and demands, it will fail—it's just that simple. So, how do you do it? This interactive workshop will introduce five key factors to successful change management. You will experience techniques to get everybody actively involved in transformation, from top-level executives and stakeholders to the team level, clients, and partners. You'll be able to go back to your organization with tools and techniques to manage change and truly lead a successful agile transformation. Come learn how change can be invigorating instead of exhausting.

Kim Brainard
Agile DevOps West ScrumMasters: The Struggle Is Real
Slideshow

Are you a new ScrumMaster who is trying to figure out what the heck to do each day? Or have you been a ScrumMaster for a little while now but still find it difficult to set aside time to continue to grow your team’s knowledge of agile best practices? Do you struggle to improve the team dynamic or the relationship with your product owner because you are too busy removing roadblocks all day? These situations have become all too familiar. Courtney Wilkinson knows because she has successfully overcome many herself. As a former ScrumMaster and current agile coach, Courtney can tell you the struggle is real. Regardless of what you have been told, you don’t have to solve every roadblock alone. Join Courtney as she shares some tactical techniques, including a list of four specific questions you can teach your team, to combat these roadblocks in your day-to-day work.

Courtney Wilkinson
Agile DevOps West Brainwriting: The Team Hack to Generating Better Ideas
Slideshow

Brainstorming has long been held as the best way to get ideas from teams. The purpose is to solicit large amounts of ideas in a short timeframe. By putting a collective of creative people in the same room, better concepts should be the outcome. Sounds very agile, right? However, science has shown several times that brainstorming is not the best way to generate ideas. It’s cumbersome due to all of the interdependent activities happening, and you often spend more time thinking about others' ideas than your own. Maybe it's time we try something new. Brainwriting is similar to brainstorming, but each participant writes down their idea and passes it to the next person, who then uses it to spur their own ideas. Incorporating this technique into your team events can produce more diverse ideas and provide a friendlier environment for collaboration. In this session, we will workshop the brainwriting process.

Chris Murman

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