Some teams have “rockstar” developers who only work on “spikes.” A spike is a story where a developer is assigned the task of figuring out how to accomplish something. The outcome of a spike is a prototype, or roadmap for reaching a prototype. Included in the task might be to evaluate different methods of accomplishing something, do you use one database or another? Or a spike might simply be to try out something that was discussed with the greater group, seeing that a simple end-to-end implementation can be accomplished.
This is the piece of the puzzle I couldn’t figure out by myself. I needed to see it in action, implemented well, to understand what I was missing. I’ve seen a lot of stories sliced wrong, and some sliced well. Slicing stories properly can be the difference between a high performance team, and one floundering. A story – a task or ticket – is a slice of work that is defined by a product owner.
The first big “Agile” change I implemented was standup. Without it you can’t even begin to know what’s going on in your team, let alone help accomplish all it needs. But all standup is, is a daily window into what everyone is doing. That helps you know what’s going on, on a day-to-day bases. But that doesn’t help you take control over what’s getting done. The second most impacting element of Agile I implemented was limiting Work In Progress (WIP).
Early on as a manager, I came across Agile methodologies, but wasn’t able to get training in it, so I had to figure out how to implement it myself. After reading countless books and immersing myself in whatever I could find online, I was able to implement several key elements. But I still was missing a few crucial pieces. It was only after working in a self-described “academic” Agile – with a capital ‘A’ – environment that I know now what I was missing.
Originally published on forbes.com. “If you want to keep your job, you have to make yourself indispensable.” I’m sure you’ve heard that before. Here’s the truth – you will never get great work done if you are indispensable. If your tech company relies upon you so much that if you were hit by a bus the company would grind to a halt, you are doing something wrong. Your value to your company should not be in the fact that you are the crucial piece that keeps everything running; rather, your value to your company should be that without you the company might run fine, but it wouldn’t excel.
Originally published on forbes.com. The role of stretching is often overlooked in the process of growth. When you’re strength training and you lift weights, it stresses your muscles, which triggers the growth process. But if you neglect to stretch afterward, your muscles shorten and become tight, which leads to them becoming weaker, not stronger, and causes damage to your joints and muscles. When leading, it is inevitable that your teams will be stressed at one point or another.
Originally published on forbes.com. You’d like to use open source software, but you’re not sure what criteria you should use when deciding whether to rely on it for a specific project or not. I have a long, complicated history with open source software. I use open source libraries every day in my work, and I’ve developed several criteria for evaluating projects. I got my professional start in tech as the technical co-founder of a news startup.
“If you run into an asshole in the morning, you ran into an asshole. If you run into assholes all day, you’re the asshole.” ― Raylan Givens, Justified The asshole doesn’t see that he is one — that is the true nature of being an asshole. Ultimately being one is truly just a manifestation of selfishness. If you don’t care how your actions affect the people around you, the people around you will see you as an asshole.