Articles

Active Following

Great leaders don't always lead the charge, stand in front, or offer direction. They know when to step aside to let others step forward. Yet, this type of leadership is often mistaken for passivity or overlooked entirely. Esther Derby shows how "in front" leadership actually can cause gridlock and loss of productivity and destroy the good spirits of a team. You can avoid these pitfalls by noticing when the most effective leadership means choosing to follow.

Esther Derby's picture Esther Derby
Rocks into Gold: Part 4

This short book by Clarke Ching is a "biztech" parable for software developers who want to survive—and then thrive—through the credit crunch. We have republished the book in a four-part-series. In part four, our characters pitch Bob's plan to MegaCorp. But will business politics get in the way of a good idea? Follow the story as our characters fight to keep their jobs by implementing creative business ideas and management skills taken from agile development.

Clarke Ching's picture Clarke Ching
Improve Your Communication Skills To Create Better Software

Writing great software requires a lot of communication, and not just the client-to-server variety; person-to-person communication is crucial in a well-performing team. While it's easy to focus exclusively on improving our ability to communicate through the code we write, it's important to remember that building software is a communal experience: developers work with customers, testers, product owners, and other developers.

 

Here are some techniques and articles I use to reflect upon and improve my own communication skills:

Daniel Wellman's picture Daniel Wellman
Negative Positive

Testers who point out project risks are often perceived as "negative" thinkers. Software test consultant Fiona Charles (an optimist by nature and a pessimist by trade) writes about how a culture of unthinking optimism pervades our organizations and our society, and describes some of its detrimental effects on software projects.

Fiona Charles's picture Fiona Charles
Empowering Self-Organization and Energizing Project Planning with the Commander's Intent

Things change, and when they do, it's best to be ready to change with them. The best plans are doomed to fail if they aren't malleable. In this column, George Schlitz and Giora Morein take a look at the military concept of "Commander's Intent" and how it can apply to non-military project planning.

George Schlitz's picture George Schlitz Giora Morein
financial chart Rocks into Gold: Part 3

This short book by Clarke Ching is a "biztech" parable for software developers who want to survive—and then thrive—through the credit crunch. We have republished the book in a four-part series. In part three, when things seem at their very worst, Bob has a "light bulb moment" that just might save the day. Follow the story as our characters fight to keep their jobs by implementing creative business ideas and management skills taken from agile development.

Clarke Ching's picture Clarke Ching
Project Time Reporting

Project time reporting evokes a passionate response from most team members-- the consensus is they hate it. While Payson Hall worries about supporting something so unpopular, he offers benefits of project time reporting and explores some of the common implementation issues that undermine its value.

Payson Hall's picture Payson Hall
Rocks into Gold: Part 2

This short book, written by Clarke Ching, is a "biztech" parable for software developers who want to survive—and then thrive—through a credit crunch. We have republished the book in a four-part series. In part two, Bob, Bill, and Sam discover how a rocky economy can flip project costs and return on investments and how much money could be lost by canning the FBU project. Can they use these projections to save the project and their jobs?

Clarke Ching's picture Clarke Ching
Timing Matters in Managing Change

Implementing change can be a colossal challenge. People tend to prefer what's familiar, safe, and predictable to that which is new, unfamiliar, uncertain, confusing, or potentially risky. But the timing of a change effort can influence how readily people accept the change and adjust to it.

Naomi Karten's picture Naomi Karten
People, Processes and Tools: The Three Pillars of Software Development

Every project is dependent upon people, processes, and tools:  they are how the work gets done. These three essential elements are not equal, though, as each has its own strengths and weaknesses.   Each one provides a different value to our projects.

 

Alan S. Koch

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