people management

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
Man holding a lit light bulb How to Get Value from Measuring Agile Team Health Metrics

One common metric in agile measures team health or team happiness, but creating a way to measure this that is valued by the team is not an easy task. It’s having clarity on the reason you’re measuring these metrics and who benefits from it that gives you real value. Here are some ways you can measure this elusive quality, as well as how to make sure you're gaining useful information.

Vic Bartash's picture Vic Bartash
Coach guiding a team Empower Your Agile Team in 4 STEPs

New agile teams often start projects after some brief training on the Agile Manifesto and agile frameworks. But without additional coaching, these teams will struggle to deliver continuous value to their clients. Teams should be coached on how to tackle unexpected Situations, use appropriate Tools, conduct agile Events, and adopt appropriate agile Practices—four agile STEPs.

Ajeet Singh's picture Ajeet Singh
Testing team standing around a computer and smiling 3 Methods for Better Communication and More Effective Testing

Successful delivery of software requires the entire team, so it’s imperative that everyone choose their words carefully so they convey what they really mean, are sensitive to others’ feelings, and consider all aspects of a problem. Here are three questions to remember when communicating about your software testing projects to ensure you’re considering the power of words.

Ajay Balamurugadas's picture Ajay Balamurugadas

Better Software Magazine Articles

All Customers Are Not Created Equal All Customers Are Not Created Equal

Software developers may not think they have much to do with customers, but it is wise to consider the customer in all you do, from collecting requirements to design and implementation.

Regina Evans's picture Regina Evans
The Secrets of High- Performance Software Teams The Secrets of High-Performance Software Teams

Of all issues that impact getting quality products out on time, the team should never focus on simply managing costs. To minimize the risk of perpetual product delivery delays, define what “done” really means.

Steve Mezak's picture Steve Mezak
tolerate You Get What You Tolerate

We’ve all worked with a talented developer who can be a frustrating challenge to manage. First-time managers may unknowingly encourage bad behavior. There are several innovative ways to resolve the situation.

Andy Kaufman's picture Andy Kaufman
handstand The Power of Thinking Upside Down

Software developers can become bogged down trying to keep up with agile process and procedures. Get better results by rethinking your approach to balancing focus, agility, management, and testing.

Paul McMahon's picture Paul McMahon

Interviews

Nikki Henry Motivating a Millennial Workforce: An Interview with Nikki Henry

Nikki Henry, founder and CEO of Ladies Leading Ladies, talks about where to find great millennial employees to hire and how to keep them motivated. Nikki says millennials are very passionate and purpose-focused, and treating them as individuals will help keep them at your company for the long term. She shares tips for attracting, retaining, and working effectively with the millennial workforce.

Jennifer Bonine's picture Jennifer Bonine
8 Ways to Ruin Your One-on-Ones: An Interview with Jason Wick
Video

In this interview, Jason Wick, senior manager at MakeMusic, discusses his STAREAST presentation about eight ways you could be making your one-on-one meetings completely useless. He discusses in depth what he feels is the number one way to ruin these meetings: holding back on feedback. He also offers advice on how you can educate your team leader to avoid the pitfalls that lead to ineffective one-on-ones.

Jennifer Bonine's picture Jennifer Bonine
Melissa Tondi Embracing Tools and Technology in QA: An Interview with Melissa Tondi
Video

In this interview, Melissa Tondi, senior QA strategist at Rainforest, discusses the foundation you need in order to have a positive introduction for new tools and technologies. She explains why the team leader has to understand what motivates each individual and how to get them excited about their job. Melissa says team members also have to realize that if they are in any way involved in testing software, they are a technologist, so they have to embrace the tools and technology that will continuously improve and streamline repetitive tasks.

Jennifer Bonine's picture Jennifer Bonine
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

Conference Presentations

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
Agile DevOps West Distributed Scrum Teams Whack-a-Mole:
 Creative Solutions to 
Common Obstacles
Slideshow

Taking a newly formed distributed Scrum team from mediocre to high-performing has its share of challenges, including differences in language, culture, and time zones; a misunderstanding of Scrum; and the "us versus them" mentality. Join Kimberly Andrikaitis as she walks through her journey of challenges she's experienced in building team relationships, shifting the agile mindset, a lack of focus, and sad ceremonies. She has created an extensive toolbox to share with attendees, containing various ideas to bridge these gaps. You will leave with real-world strategies for how to cultivate team identity, educate on agile practices, gamify team resistance, leverage global partners, encourage communication, demonstrate active listening, increase team morale, and re-energize retrospectives.

 

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Kimberly Andrikaitis
STAREAST 8 Ways to Ruin Your One-on-Ones
Slideshow

As managers, it's easy to fall into the trap of focusing on what we need out of our employees' one-on-one meetings, all the while forgetting that one-on-ones are for them! This talk is a list of eight behaviors that are guaranteed to make one-on-ones with employees less effective. For each of the eight unproductive behaviors, Jason Wick will provide examples of where he personally has failed, and share how this experience has become his guiding light of best practices for managing a dozen employees.

Jason Wick
STAREAST How Do I Work with These Millennials? Attracting and Retaining the Next Generation
Slideshow

Leaders and managers are facing many struggles attracting, retaining, and working effectively with the millennial workforce. Millenials have shorter tenures in positions, expectations of work-life balance, and a need for purpose-driven work. No longer are the days of employees who just come in and get the work done because of a deeply ingrained work ethic. Join Nikki Henry as she breaks down the values of this generation. You'll leave with tools and templates to better engage and retain your millennial workforce for the long term. This includes a shift in leadership practices, but that may be much simpler than you expect.

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Nikki Henry

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