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Wednesday
Dec262012

Things to consider when building a new team

Look for inherent knowledge creating experts(leaders)

A potential leader is someone who is a bottleneck. an expert. They can become a leader by coaching and sharing on that knowledge. Architects are a good example.

If you get to choose the people who will be in your team, I would look for people who are leaders in specific fields, but that are willing to teach and share their knowledge.

These are the people that will make sure they are not the only expert on technology X in your team.

 

Look for people who like to speak publicly

They make great teachers, and are great at sharing knowledge.

Look for people who work well together

If people already have fun working together, everyone benefits.

Look for people willing to sit with everyone else

If you can get the whole tea in the same room easily, communication wins.

Look for people that COULD make you feel stupid if they wanted to, but make you feel great to be around them instead.

There aren’t many of those, but people skills are the wheels that drive a good team. Knowledge is the oil.

 

Look for people with time

If they start out not having time to learn (survival mode), you are already starting a race with the odds against the team. I would rather have a person with potential that is not doing any other projects currently, than a person with the realized potential, that is doing two other projects at the same time.

So?

The idea is not to create the perfect team, but to create the perfect soup mix. Get ingredients that grow and assemble as they come close to each other, that with the right mix of love and care, can grow to be bigger than the parts.

If you build a team, build a team that has the best potential to grow leaders within in the future, because you won’t find the perfect team today.

Tuesday
Sep182012

Video (Hebrew): On Time, With Quality? Yeah Right.

A few months ago I gave a talk at at secret military base in Israel. It was for some of the future tech leaders growing in the womb of Israel's technical military units. It talks about leadership, and how to make it more effective, and accomplishing difficult things.

enjoy.

Friday
Sep142012

Video: Lejla Giske on Listening Modes and Techniques

while at bouvet here in Norway, I'm getting to meet lots of interesting new people. It's a shame for those conversations to go to waste, so if they are interesting, I record what they have to say (not my job descriotion, I'm just having fun doing this on the side).

Today I met with Lejla Giske, a consultant here, who coaches people about people skills. As a student of these topics I found her ideas about listening modes very interesting. if you want to contact her to ask questions, just email her directly (no blog yet...mayebe sometime soon?)

Wednesday
Sep052012

Consulting and Leadership Courses in Scandinavia

My move to Norway is now almost complete (should be getting my id number mid September.)

Bærum Kummune, I am in you.

Yeah. And I have the norwegian keyboard to prøve it.

Now that I’m here I plan to do a lot more in scandinavia. here’s just the tip of the iceberg. 

I’m now fully available to do consulting and training in Norway, through Bouvet. If you want me to come teach something about unit testing or team leadership, or do test reviews, or help you automate everything, or just coach your development team or team leader or architect on better ways to accomplish things, feel free to just email the person who helped make it all happen for me - Simen. He’s also working with me at Bouvet and is in charge of making sure my time is well spent. Make him work. Hard.

BTW - if You’re in DENMARK and want to help me arrange more courses there about various topics, please ping me. I need to do more of these!

Out of Norway training or Coaching?

if you want me to cone and teach or consult out of norway, just contact me directly (that is not through Bouvet)

Denmark :

 

Norway:

 

 

 

New:

 

Sweden:

 

Monday
Jul302012

Elastic Leadership Team Survival Vs. Team Chaos Vs. Cynefin

 

I've decided that the word 'chaos' isn't a good match to describe the phase where a team has no time to learn.
Instead, the word 'survival' is going to be used from now on.
There are several reasons for this:
1) The word 'chaos' is already used in the context of another decision framework called 'Cynefin'. 
 Cynefin is a powerful framework that uses scientific arguments to describe various states teams and systems are in. 'chaos', in the context of Cynefin, is a state where given an action in the system, the results will be totally random.  In that sense, 'chaos' in the elastic leadership framework as I present in this blog, means something else. 'chaos' (or 'survival' from now on),
is a state where decisive action is needed, and a specific set of results is expected. 
My notion of elastic leadership does not deal with a state where there is no telling what action needs to be taken. It divides the world of states into 'survival' (no time to learn), 'learning', and 'self organizing'. 
In terms of Cynefin, I only deal with complex and complicated systems. Though I'm not sure where 'software team' as a system lies between these two notions.
2) The word 'Chaos' was initially chosen out of necessity. I had no better word to describe this phase. After  discussing the Cynefin framework ideas with Dave Snowden via email,
the word 'survival' came to me, and I think it much better described the phase I believe most software teams are, unfortunately, in.
There for, a team can have three phases:

 

  • Survival phase (where most teams I see are in) -- in which team has no time to learn -- requires a more command and control type of leadership to create that learning time from nothing.
  • Learning phase  -- where a team has time to learn and is using it -- requires coach like leader, with bursts of control when things will take too long to learn the hard way (choosing no source control, for example)
  • Self Organization Phase -- Where teams can solve their own problems -- requires more of a facilitator type of leader, that does not tell people what to do, but simply provides constraints and end goals. The team will get there on its own.

 

A team can move between all three phases in a matter of days, really.  The leader should detect this phase change, and change their leadership type accordingly.

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