During the lean coffee session last week at the European Testing conference, we were talking about the most important impediment for testers to get their work done. Most of which was the most important soft skill to have. The group agreed that the most basic of soft skills was communication. But we found it hard to really grasp what this actually means. What is communication and why is it so difficult for us? There is a lot of research out there about how communication works and how we can make it work for us. Yet so few people really master this skill.
Dependencies in Software Development have been an issue since decades and lots of practices have been built to “manage” them, creating an environment that becomes more complicated with longer time-to-market times as dependencies grow (or the product/solution grows).
This is creating an illusion and no dependency management is alwys the only answer! Coordination to remove dependencies is usually a more sustainable outcome with less management.
Wether you do a lessons learned, retrospective or kaizen event, the actions from there should be executed as soon as possible by the team. But sometimes problems that arise from these events are beyond the team's circle of influence.
An element that is very present in almost all organisations I know are the metrics that are embedded from beginning to end. To be able to start a project, you need metrics that foresee the future. Owkay. During the actual execution of the project you need to send out status metrics, which is usually a guessing game. And once the project is finished, your starting metrics are compared with the actual ones, to create new metrics. We have a tendency to measure anything and everything, and stop asking us why we do these measurements.
Whenever we do a kick-off of a new team, we also help them start their journey together by defining their team goal, vision and/or values. This visualisation of the team goal helps the team grow mutual understanding and speed up their team bonding process. Making a visual representation of this goal gives an easy aid to reminding team members of the elements they had all agreed upon.
When I am requested by a client to start coaching a team, I always start with some one on one conversations with each team member. The first conversation will usually be a bit difficult, and not go into what you would really like to know about this person. These first conversations tend to be about fear for the unknown, and a lot of thirst to have detailes cleared out that usually aren't clear yet. By the second conversation people usually are more at ease, the situation gets less uncomfortable.
The internet is full of little lists about what motivates us, which are usually a mix of intrinsic an extrinsic motivation. But how can you find out which intrinsic motivational element is important for your team members? And do these motivators stay the same throughout someone's career, or under the influence of a major change in your company?
One of the tools we often use to get to that understanding is the technique Moving Motivators from the Management 3.0 toolkit. It starts from the 10 intrinsic work related motivators:
One of the techniques from Management 3.0 that we've observed to go viral rather quickly when we come into an organisation is the use of Kudos Cards. In order to recognise individual achievements on a regular basis, these cards are an easy way to share your thanks, make it tangible for the person receiving one and spread a positive message in the company.