personal improvement

Articles

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
Man holding string lights up to his face Embracing the Learning Curve in Software Development

In software development, we're constantly learning new skills because we have to. Technology and its associated best practices are constantly changing, but this is a good thing—it means our industry is evolving quickly. It also means we are constantly on the learning curve. Having a good mindset about continuously learning can help you go far in the software world.

David Bernstein
Learning soft skills Practice Soft Skills through Collaboration to Become Truly Agile

At the core of agile is the need to effectively communicate and interact with your team members, so it's important for all roles to practice soft skills. However, there is nothing soft about them. Soft skills are probably the most challenging thing you can focus on in your technical career. Rather than struggle to improve by yourself, develop these skills through collaboration.

Mark Kilby
Multitasking Agile Techniques for the Multitaskers in All of Us

Multitasking can sabotage your productivity, but with all our different responsibilities, it's often a necessary evil. However, your work quality and quantity don’t have to suffer. These agile techniques can help you avoid interruptions, organize your to-do list, and regain focus after switching tasks.

Charles Cain

Better Software Magazine Articles

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
HOW TECHNOLOGY IS CHANGING THE WAY WE LEARN How Technology Is Changing the Way We Learn

Modern technologies like virtual reality, cloud-based systems, and measurement of content have disrupted how we learn. Standards have evolved to improve how learning material can be published to any device.

Troy Tolle
Do You Really Want to Be a Manager Do You Really Want to Be a Manager?

The majority of managers are promoted due to their software development expertise. But becoming a successful manager requires a drastic change of focus. There is a set of expectations to consider before making that leap to the “dark side.”

Ron Lichty MW Mantle
overwhelmed at work Saying No to More Work

We’ve all been placed in the situation where a boss asks you to perform more work than you can possibly handle. Johanna Rothman knows firsthand that there is a better way to respond that benefits you and your manager.

Johanna Rothman

Interviews

Experiences at STAREAST 2018: An Interview with Michael Sowers
Video

Michael Sowers, TechWell’s IT director and program chair for STAREAST 2018, discusses some of the activities, presentations and networking opportunities at the event. He also discusses what to expect at the all-new Agile Testing Days.

Jennifer Bonine
Marcia Buzzella Improving Communication and Social Skills: An Interview with Marcia Buzzella
Video

Marcia Buzzella, an independent leadership consultant and strengths coach, discusses the importance of communication and social skills in a business atmosphere. She offers advice on tools to recognize your weaknesses in those areas and how to work toward improving your effectiveness.

Jennifer Bonine
Adam Auerbach Time to Make an Employment Change: An Interview with Adam Auerbach
Video

In this interview, Adam Auerbach, Vice President and Head of Assurance Practice at EPAM Systems, discusses the need to create a strategy to achieve career goals, recognizing when it is time to change employers having maximized your contributions and gained the optimal benefits and skills.

Jennifer Bonine
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

Conference Presentations

STARWEST 2018 Be the Lord of Your OWN Rings: How to Build Your OWN Insider Testing Program
Slideshow

Many testers just don't plain get listened to. Management doesn’t seem to listen despite you having a really good idea on how to reduce costs without reducing quality. How can a well-meaning tester act as an agent of change and change your corporate landscape? Dona is the Lord of the Rings at Microsoft where she co-creates the future of Windows with 10M + #WindowsInsiders all over the world. They are one of the biggest fan and influencer programs in the tech industry—one that helps shape the future of Microsoft technology every single day. She will guide you on how to create a fan and influencer program for your business and empower these members to be your first ring of defense against low-quality products. Come and hear the secrets of modern product testing and how YOU can emerge as the hero of your own story.

Dona Sarkar
Agile Dev West 2018, Better Software West 2018, DevOps West 2018 Removing Impediments and Cultivating a Culture of Feedback
Slideshow

As agilists, we know the importance of open, candid feedback for agile teams to be continuously improving. This talk will share how impediments, such as unconscious biases and a person’s level of self-confidence, can impact the feedback and learning cycle. Participants will learn why there are positive and negative reactions when feedback is given, the difference between a defensive (fixed) and accepting (growth) mindset, how age, self-confidence and gender biases influence an individual’s mindset and other impediments that can impact a team member’s ability to provide candid feedback.

Joanna Vahlsing
Agile Dev West 2018, Better Software West 2018, DevOps West 2018 Impostor Syndrome: The Innovation Killer among Us
Slideshow

As an agile community, we talk a lot about innovation and failure. But we often forget to talk about the head games that keep us from innovating. Billie Schuttpelz unearths those internal dialogues that prevent us from taking risks that drive innovation. Become a part of breaking open the conversation around impostor syndrome—yes, it exists, and it's stealing far too many of our authentic voices. Join Billie to get insights into how imposter syndrome is holding you back. You'll learn three ways to unleash your creative ideas, break free of the swirling thoughts and inactivity that can be a part of imposter syndrome, and embrace that you are your own “approver.” When we come together stronger and bolder, the entire agile community benefits, so learn to become confident and give yourself permission to let loose your most innovative potential.

Billie Schuttpelz
Better Software West 2018, Agile Dev West 2018, DevOps West 2018 It's All In Our Heads: Using Neuroscience to Improve Performance
Slideshow

Understanding how our brains take shortcuts to process all the data they take in can help us recognize when its happening, take measures to correct our course, and use that information to build stronger teams. This talk sprang from my curiosity about the intersection of neuroscience and organizational behavior. It is my hope that attendees will leave with the ability to recognize when they and their teams are using processing shortcuts, as well as some techniques for mitigating their impact.

Learning Objectives:
- Identify several ways in which our brains short cut processing in order to deal with the wealth of information they take in and decisions they must make
- Understand how those processing mechanisms manifest in our daily lives, both at home and at work
- Recognize when we are falling prey to our brains' misguided ways and learn to mitigate their impact

 

Faye Thompson

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