Posts Tagged ‘team’

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Dysfunctional Delusions

November 28, 2016

If you want high performing teams, they have to be built first and foremost on a foundation of trust.  Patrick Lencioni cites the lack of trust as the first (of five) dysfunctions of a team.  The team members must feel that their other teammates will “have their back” when things get rough.  And as a manager or leader, that includes you too.  In fact, if you want to shift your organizational culture to a more empowered, trust-based culture, management must lead the way by demonstrating (not just talking about) the values and behavioral norms you want for the organization.

One key factor that trust is built on is consistency.  Are you consistent in your behavior?  Are you complimentary one moment and then arrogant or dismissive the next?  Are you puerile?  Vindictive?  People trust their leadership when the feel they know how you will react in various situations.  With trust they will feel they can bring issues to you for help when necessary without risking their positions.  If your behavior varies significantly, your teams realize they cannot understand what your reaction to any given problem will be.  They won’t feel safe to be honest with you.   In other words, they won’t trust you.

And if you think you can behave one way in front of your teams and another in private, you are deluding yourself.  When it comes to sensing duplicities, people seem to have x-ray vision.  They are very good at detecting such contrary behavior.  And when they do, trust may never develop.

To be a true leader you must build trust.  Otherwise your teams won’t progress and you’ll remain simply a taskmaster.

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Agile Pneumonia and the Manifesto Blues

July 15, 2015

Sung to the tune of Rockin’ Pneumonia and the Boogie Woogie Blues by Johnny Rivers, J.Vincent and H. Smith.

(If you don’t know it, you can listen here first >>> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UvJ78hYI6wk )

 

Agile Pneumonia and the Manifesto Blues

Blocked tasks, they decorate out wall
I wanna holler, but the team room’s small

Old PM just doesn’t know what to do
I got the agile pneumonia and the manifesto blues

Large stories, medium, and small
Do anything so that our points don’t fall

New Scrummaster’s got a hold of me too
I got the agile pneumonia and the manifesto blues

Squeeze in more stories with two days to go
We’d deliver but our velocity’s low

Business just doesn’t understand what we do
I got the agile pneumonia and the manifesto blues

Only an hour with the new PO
That’s not how agile’s supposed to go

Wish the PO would guide what we do
I got the agile pneumonia and the manifesto blues

Long day and now I’m hurryin’ home
Can’t finish planning ‘cause we’re takin’ too long

Let’s do this right or I think that I’m through
I got the agile pneumonia and the manifesto blues.

Rockin Pnuemonia label

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You can, as long as you include the following complete text with it: “Bob Maksimchuk is a Principal Consultant at Project Pragmatics, LLC., specializing in helping software development teams GET WORK DONE by introducing: PRACTICAL techniques, STREAMLINED process, and FOCUSED training and mentoring, all specific to your team’s needs. Visit now at http://www.ProjectPragmatics.com. All rights reserved © 2015 Project Pragmatics, LLC.”

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Video Blog : Distractions Kill Teams

January 2, 2015

To see video click – www.screencast.com/t/b9lFNBIt

Also visit:

Websites:   www.ProjectPragmatics.com  and

http://www.JohncMaxwellGroup.com/bobmaksimchuk

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The Baker’s Dozen of Coaching Leadership

May 11, 2014

1. Be Dedicated – to your client, your team, yourself. Commitment builds trust.
2. Be Curious – about your profession, your client, other fields. Learn continuously. If you think you know it all, you have limited your potential.
3. Be Humble – no matter how successful, smart, or well-known. Arrogance destroys relationships.
4. Be Energetic – Do you bring energy into the room or do you drain the life out of it?
5. Be Engaged – Your client doesn’t value an aloof advisor who provides little value.
6. Be Perceptive – See their gifts. Does your team have cheerleaders (encouragers), pragmatists (guides), jokers (morale builders), dreamers (visionaries)? Leverage these soft abilities as much as hard skills.
7. Be Empathic – See their needs. Be sure to serve their actual needs, not yours.
8. Be Resourceful – When your team has no answer and neither do you, take the initiative to go find a new option or approach for them that may be useful.
9. Be Uplifting – Don’t criticize the doubtful, the non-believers. Encourage and uplift them.
10. Be Persistent – when you hear “we’ve always done it this way”. You are a change agent. You can’t sail the seas when you are tied to the dock.
11. Be Resolute – Reject rejection. Take the high road. Repay your critics with kindness, service, and understanding.
12. Be Fun – Celebrate with your teams whenever they succeed, big or small.
13. Be Caring – Remember, they are not assets or resources. They are real people. With real lives. Just like you.

Come visit http://www.projectpragmatics.com .

 

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Tis the Season

December 19, 2013

As we fly through this Christmas season, give your teams the gift that will mean the most to them – empowerment.  The cost to you – nothing.  What do you get in return?  Speed, productivity, increased commitment and an overall happier team.

But you say your team is not able to self-organize?  Teach them.  Guide them.  If they are willing, lead them by showing why their particular strengths and skills are needed.  Show them why their contribution is important.  Show you are confident that they can self-organize and be successful.

You say it’s easier just to tell them what to do?  Do you really want them to bring every little problem to you for resolution?  (If so, I suggest you and your ego spend some quiet time in self-examination as to why you like that.)

Why would you want to take away from your team the opportunity of becoming the professionals that they truly are?  (Note to HR:  They are professional people, not “resources”.)  Give your team the opportunity.  Give them the freedom to grow.  Give them an assist, not the whip.

And in this way, give yourself the gift of developing into a true servant leader.  After all, this is the season of giving.Image

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The Agile Scorpion

August 16, 2013

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A frog approaches a stream and sees a scorpion by the bank.  The scorpion cannot cross the stream alone, so he asks the frog to carry him across the stream on its back.  The frog is wary of the scorpion and says “You might sting me and I will die.”  The scorpion assures the frog he wouldn’t do that because then they both would die.  The frog agrees.  Then halfway across the stream the scorpion stings the frog.  The frog begins to sink.  Before they both drown the frog asks “Why?”  The scorpion replies: “It’s my nature.”

This Aesop’s fable proclaims a warning for all of those who are on their agile journey.  Agile transformation is difficult enough.  You must also watch out for scorpions.  While change is hard for many people, the scorpions you may find, as in the story, have no intention of changing – but they won’t tell you that.  They could take the form of a team member, a manager, someone from another department that “supports” your team, an external business partner, and so forth.

It is truly unfortunate that the agile change “paralyzes” some people, but it does.  The level of change is significant.  So if you detect a scorpion among those on the agile journey with you, you can’t afford to tolerate their dangerous nature.  You will put your project and your agile transformation at significant risk.  Let them go be productive somewhere else.  You can’t afford to take the chance.

For more visit http://www.ProjectPragmatics.com

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What Are You Sprinting Toward?

May 7, 2013

They knew all eyes would be watching them. They knew huge crowds would be in attendance. And they knew some of those attending were there to cause trouble. Facing this, the Tampa police had an interesting objective for the week of the Republican National Convention. You might expect an objective like “Keep the peace.” Or “Do what it takes to control the crowds.” Or some other stereotypical statement. But no. Their stated objective was that they did not want to see the police on the nightly news.

Quite an unusual objective than would be expected. It did restrict the police in some ways, but still allowed them to carry out their mission while keeping the department’s overall objective in mind. The results: The convention was peaceful, protesters had their say without violent crowds rampaging in the streets, and you didn’t see the police cast in a bad light on the nightly news, if you saw them at all.

Do your sprints have meaningful objectives? Or do you think that is not important?

Objectives keep the team focused on what is important; what you want to achieve overall vs. just delivering the stories in the sprint. They also help eliminate the unwanted results (e.g. seeing film of police in riot gear hosing down the crowds with water cannons).

Unfortunately, instead of thinking through a good objective for their sprints, many teams just work bottom up. They pick their sprint stories and just use a summary of those as the sprint objective(s). This approach is not effective. It boils down to “Do your job” as an objective. It provides no guidance at all as to “how” or with what considerations the work is to be done. For example, the police could have showed up in full riot gear, with water cannons in visible locations, lined up in high numbers around the protestors, with paddy wagons at the ready. But that would likely have guaranteed high visibility news footage, and not in a good light.

There is also a psychological side to having objectives. To reframe a well-known motivational story, what is more satisfying: “I laid ten rows of brick today” or “I finished a cathedral today”? Just finishing your task list for today is good but it rarely gets you energized for tomorrow. But finishing a customer objective (i.e. the cathedral)…now that is something else.

If you are doing sprints or releases without having meaningful objective(s) you are depriving yourself of a simple technique to keep the team focused on the outcome desired and cheating your team out of well-earned celebration of their achievements.

(Read More at https://www.ProjectPragmatics.com)