Categories
Recommended books
  • Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?
    Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?
    by Seth Godin
  • The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
    The Lean Startup: How Today's Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses
    by Eric Ries
  • Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
    Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us
    by Daniel H. Pink
  • Succeeding with Agile: Software Development Using Scrum
    Succeeding with Agile: Software Development Using Scrum
    by Mike Cohn
  • Coaching Agile Teams: A Companion for ScrumMasters, Agile Coaches, and Project Managers in Transition (Addison-Wesley Signature Series (Cohn))
    Coaching Agile Teams: A Companion for ScrumMasters, Agile Coaches, and Project Managers in Transition (Addison-Wesley Signature Series (Cohn))
    by Lyssa Adkins
  • The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
    The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
    by Stephen R. Covey
  • Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time
    Eat That Frog!: 21 Great Ways to Stop Procrastinating and Get More Done in Less Time
    by Brian Tracy
  • Rework
    Rework
    by Jason Fried, David Heinemeier Hansson
  • Agile Coaching
    Agile Coaching
    by Rachel Davies, Liz Sedley
  • Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management (Pragmatic Programmers)
    Behind Closed Doors: Secrets of Great Management (Pragmatic Programmers)
    by Johanna Rothman, Esther Derby
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Do you want to be happy?

Tal Ben-Shahar who taught the largest course at Harvard on "Positive Psychology" claims you can learn to be happy. Happy learning!

Agile Lean Europe Network

As an Agile enthusiast I'm always prepared to support and promote good Agile initiatives. A few weeks ago I got involved in Agile Lean Europe Network, which is a group on LinkedIn that aims to improve the collaboration between Agile fans in Europe. It was initiated by Jurgen Appelo who is trying to move the countries in Europe a little closer together. You can read more about his great idea on his blog.

First pan-European Agile gathering will be organised at XP2011 conference in Madrid. But, before the gathering each country should self-organize and prepare their statement of what they want from Europe. All agilists from Europe are invited to join local Agile communities in your country to prepare for the ALE gathering in Madrid. You can find more information about emerging local communities here.

In Slovenia we have already started a discussion about this topic on our local LinkedIn group Skram.si.

See you all at XP2011.

How To Use A Constellation To Jell A Team?

When you start new project you assemble a group of people to work on this project...this is the easy part of the job. The really hard part is to transform this group of people into an effective team that run like a well-oiled machine and that will successfully finish the project. And here is where most of the managers fail.
 
It takes time for a team to jell because it takes time for team members to get to know each other and build trust. And this is a prerequisite for effective communication which is imperative for the project success. That's why you must create many opportunities for team members to get to know each other better. And one such opportunity is a Constellation exercise?
 
The main purpose of this exercise is that the team members learn more about one another, see what other team members will do and not do, what they do and do not believe, and what they will and will not tolerate. It is especially useful at the beginning of a project when most team members do not know each other.
 
How to facilitate a constellation exercise?
 
Choose any object (chair, ball,...) and put it on the floor in the middle of the room. This object represents the center of the constellation and all team members should arrange themselves around this object. Tell them that you are going to read some statements, and as you read the statement they should gravitate toward or away from the center object in relation to how true the statement is for them. The more true the statement is for them, the closer to the center they should move.
After you read the statement everyone should move at the same time and they should not pay attention where other team members are moving. After everyone has moved they should all look around and see where other team members stand and they should feel the shape of the constellation. Once they have looked around, read the next statement.
After you read your statements, let the team members write their own statements. Collect all the statements and read it to the team.
 
Here are some statements that can be used:
  • I like to work alone
  • I am competitive
  • I like to facilitate meetings
  • I am a perfectionist
  • I like to learn new things
  • I like surprises
  • I like lots of documentation

To learn more about the exercises that can help the team jell read a great book Coaching agile teams written by Lyssa Adkins.

The 3 A's of awesome

If you are looking for something inspirational you should watch Neil Pasricha's great talk about awesome things in your life. I also recommend you to check his blog which won Webby Awards in 2009 for Best Blog or read his bestseller book.

Agile Principle 2: Changing Requirements

This is the second post in the series of 12 posts about Agile Manifesto Principles. They are the foundation of all agile methodologies and every Scrum team member should be familiar with them.
 
Here is the second principle, that talks about change:
 
Welcome changing requirements, even late in 
development. Agile processes harness change for 
the customer's competitive advantage.
  
In software development we all strive for a projects where customer would never change their minds. And we all know that will never happen because changes are inevitable in real world. Customers usually do not see a problem of changing requirements as a serious one.
 
Traditional development process prefers sticking to their well-thought-out plans that are the result of the requirement-gathering phase. Introducing change late in the development process is costly because you need to repeat the whole waterfall process (analyse, design,...) for each change.
 
Agile methods take a different approach and treat change as an expected and welcome part of every project. After all, it is all about satisfying the customer because it is necessary to preserve customer's competitive advantage.
During the project the customer can continue to make changes, as long as they prioritize these changes in the appropriate iteration. Product owner is responsible for understanding of the customer needs and grooming the product backlog (prioritizing work based on business value) even near the end of the project. It is even better to make decisions later in the process when we have a better understanding of the product that we are building. Because a product backlog is a living thing that evolve constantly it can respond to the actions of customer's competitors. Agility is all about flexibility and being open to change is a big advantage.
 
You need to remember the following two words about this principle: welcome (changing requirements) and harness (change)!
 
You can find the explanation of the first principle here.