Tag Archives: management

Five team principles

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Building a well-functioning software delivery team is complicated. There are many factors to consider. Current team (if any), needed skills, available people, company politics etc.

There are some fundamentals that often (but not always) seem to work.

My fundamental principles for teams

  • Static
  • Cross-functional
  • 5-9 people
  • Co-located
  • Dedicated team members (belong to only one team)

I find these principles to be a useful basis for discussion, when helping managers configure their teams.

The principles are goals, and one must realize that all cannot be achieved all of the time, nor instantly.

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Programmerarna visar vägen

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Lite i skymundan pågår något av en revolution inifrån i IT-branschen, och då särskilt i företag med många programmerare. På gräsrotskonferenser, i nätfora och i management-litteratur äger vår tids kanske mest avancerade och levande diskussion om hur man bäst organiserar arbete rum. Om det skriver jag i en längre essä om hur programmerarna visar vägen till ett bättre, roligare, effektivare och mer innovativt sätt att arbeta.

En första nedkortad version publicerades i februari i Aftonbladet. I somras publicerades en längre version i två delar i Dala-Demokraten (30 juli och 31 juli). Den finns också i sin helhet på antman.se.

Lägg ner!

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Septembernumret för tidskriften Personal och ledarskap har utvecklingssamtal som tema. Tidskriften är medlemstidning för Sveriges HR-förening och Sveriges ledande tidskrift inom personal och human resources. Inför numret blev jag intervjuad om den frågan eftersom jag som utvecklingschef på Atex Polopoly lade ner utvecklingssamtalen.

Artikeln finns här, men man måste man vara medlem för att komma åt den.

Eftersom texten är lite svår att komma åt bjuder jag på ett par citat från den, som inleds med ingressen:

Peter Antman, konsult på Crisp kallar utvecklingssamtal för ”Tjänstemännens tidsstudieman”. Som utvecklingschef tog han ett drastiskt grepp – och lade ner utvecklingssamtalet.

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Value driven meetings

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Today at Crisp, we had a short discussion about effective meetings where I described what I think are needed in order to have successful meetings. Meetings, like work meetings, are used to produce some kind of result, achieve a agreed on decision or solve a problem. The discussion got me thinking about how often we are overloaded with meetings where many of them give little value back to the project and organization.

Paul Graham describes two different schedules, the manager and the makers schedule, where the former is run by managers working through the day participating in a lot of different meetings, and the latter is run by the workers, the developers and project participants, working through the day developing new versions of the product they are accountable for producing. These two schedules have their place in an organization, but we may get in trouble when the two schedules meet each other, which they do now and then during a normal working day.

Meetings cost quite a lot, and it is often not obvious for the managers working under the manager schedule how big that cost really is. I believe we need some kind of structure, an agreement between the meeting participants and the organizer of what they need to prepare and do before the meeting, in order to guarantee that it will be as efficient as possible. This to ensure that the organization get some kind of ROI from having the meeting.

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Make it possible; change your statement into a question

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Not long ago I met with a manager who during a discussion ruled out the possibility of success of a solution. I was a bit surprised and afterwards asked why that was not doable. It turned out one of the reasons was the managers fear the team would kick off with unrealistic expectations and leave  disappointed. I pointed out that we won’t ever get there unless we try.

There is an easy way of getting both: change your statement into a question. This will trigger an intellectual challenge and proof that people have a viable idea. In short: It enables more options.

“It can’t be done” – into – “why is that hard”?

The solutions we have are only limited by the questions we are asking.

Case Study of Mobile Team at Projectplace

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I am currently working as a Scrum Master for multiple teams at Projectplace in Stockholm, Sweden. One of those teams is the Mobile Team. They are developing Action Boards for both iOS (iPad) and Android platforms. These Action Boards are also available in the Customer Preview of the Projectplace web service. Both Web Team and Mobile Team share the same API’s. The iPad app is planned to be released in 2-3 Sprints from now.
This case study can be written from many perspectives, but in this article I am going to focus on how we are working with the challenges of having a distributed Scrum team.

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Turning the accountability upside down

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I just finished working on a short presentation that I will give this week about agile and lean development. In the presentation I display a few quotes by Deming regarding management and the system perspective managers should have in their work. One of the quotes is the famous one stating that 94% of all improvement possibilities are in the system and only 6% by special cause (in other words, only 6% are caused by the individuals).

“I should estimate that in my experience most troubles and most possibilities for improvement add up to the proportions something like this: 94% belongs to the system (responsibility of management), 6% special”

This got me thinking about the 1-on-1 and performance review meetings that I have used at previous job positions, and of which I have written about before in this blog.

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