Supporting Sustainability

Posted by & filed under Leadership, XP.

Many software teams struggle with ever growing cost of change, and technical debt that risks overwhelming them.  It’s always interesting to talk with folks and understand, how the system and incentives created this state.  Often I hear from software engineers that management doesn’t give them permission for (or doesn’t prioritise) work such as tidying, refactoring,… Read more »

Pondering Agile Principles

Posted by & filed under Leadership, XP.

I’ve worked in and with teams who would identify as agile for many years. I’ve written about how I think the most interesting part of the agile manifesto is the “uncovering better ways” mindset.  With this in mind, I’ve been pondering how the principles in the agile manifesto have aged. Where do (and don’t) I… Read more »

Cost of Attrition

Posted by & filed under Leadership, XP.

What if we could visualise the cost of attrition? Here’s a team. Someone leaves. We hire a replacement.We get lucky and manage to find someone more skilled. Looks like we’re better off? Really when someone leaves we lose all the relationships they had with the rest of the team as well. The team is a… Read more »

Don’t hire top talent; hire for weaknesses.

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Instead of starting from “how do we hire top talent?”, start from “what are our weaknesses?” Why are you hiring? Are you hiring to do more, or are you hiring to achieve more? Design your hiring process to find the right people to strengthen your teams’ weaknesses, rather than trying to find the best people. … Read more »

Escape the Permission Trap with Healthy Habits

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If you’re struggling with how to get to tidy code, fast feedback loops, joyful work. How to get permission, or buy-in. Try team habits. Create working agreements of the form “When we see <observable trigger>, instead of <what we currently do> we will <virtuous action>”. This is a mechanism to pre-approve the desired action. In… Read more »

Leadership Language Lessons from Star Trek

Posted by & filed under Leadership, Star Trek, XP.

Growing up, an influential television character for me was Jean Luc Picard from Star Trek the Next Generation. Picard was a portrayal of a different sort of leader to most. Picard didn’t order people about. He didn’t assume he knew best.  He wasn’t seeking glory. In his words: “we work to better ourselves, and the… Read more »