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.
I’m the Director of Web Development at ISDA, a trade organization whose goal is to make the global derivatives markets safer and more efficient. I started there a little over 6 years ago, just after they had launched a new site. The design was contemporary for its time. The codebase was built on top of a custom CMS developed by three separate development firms in the Ukraine. There were some interesting design decisions in the codebase, and a lot of hacks that had been implemented to “just make it work.
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.
“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.
Finished reading “Who” this week. I found it an interesting approach to hiring. I’d read it if I were looking for a job as well to prepare for interviews, though it’s not designed for that. Takeaways: Take hiring seriously, this should be obvious but it’s easy to let it get lost in all the other work. Manage the task of hiring as your would any other project with a clearly defined role, and process in advance.