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SPaMCAST 424 – Penny Pullan, Virtual Leadership

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Happy New Year!  

SPaMCAST 424 features our interview with Penny Pullin.  Penny returns to the SPaMCAST to discuss her new book Virtual Leadership: Practical Strategies for Getting the Best Out of Virtual Work and Virtual Teams.  Virtual teams and therefore the need for virtual leadership is a critical success factor for delivering value in the 21st Century.

Penny’s Bio:

Dr. Penny Pullan’s latest book is Virtual Leadership: Practical strategies for getting the most out of virtual teams and virtual work. Writing it involved immersing herself in the virtual world and listening to countless stories of success and, all too often, disaster! Penny works with people in multinational organizations who are grappling with tricky projects: uncertain, with ambiguous requirements, stakeholders who need to be engaged and teams dispersed around the world. When they work with Penny, clients notice that communication, collaboration, and confidence grow and projects don’t seem quite as tricky as before! Penny is a Director of Making Projects Work Ltd. in the UK and tweets at @pennypullan.

Penny has offered SPaMCAST listeners a great offer!    Virtual Leadership coupon for 20% off VLF20 at www.koganpage.com which includes post and packing in the UK and the USA.

Re-Read Saturday News

In this week’s re-read of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni (Jossey-Bass, Copyright 2002, 33rd printing), we review the chapter titled Understanding and Overcoming The Five Dysfunctions. This chapter is the most hands-on portion of the book, and I suggest spending time with the wide range of ideas Lencioni peppers throughout this section. Next week we will conclude this Re-Read with final thoughts. If you are new to the re-read series buy a copy and go back to week one and read along!

I am running a poll to decide between Carol Dweck’s Mindset, Thinking Fast and Slow (Daniel Kahneman) and Flow (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi).  I have also had suggestions (in the other category) for Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World (Adam Grant) and Management Lessons from Taiichi Ohno: What Every Leader Can Learn from the Man by Takehiko Harada.  I would like your opinion! (last day 1/1/2017)  Take Our Poll (function(d,c,j){if(!d.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src='https://s1.wp.com/wp-content/mu-plugins/shortcodes/js/polldaddy-shortcode.js';s=d.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);} else if(typeof jQuery !=='undefined')jQuery(d.body).trigger('pd-script-load');}(document,'script','pd-polldaddy-loader'));

Takeaways from this week include:

  1.   Exercises are a great way to teach theory, but practical application makes it stick.
  2.   Build trust or nothing else will work for long.
  3.   Experiment with ideas to overcome dysfunctions and measure their impact on RESULTS.

Visit the Software Process and Measurement Cast blog to participate in this and previous re-reads.

Next SPaMCAST

The Software Process and Measurement Cast 425 will feature the ideas from our annual tune-up blog entries. We need to strive to be more effective and efficient every day or the world will pass us by!  Next week I have some suggestions that have worked for me.  We will also have columns from Gene Hughson with more on leadership.  Gene’s ideas dovetail nicely with the concepts Penny talked about this week.  We will also talk with Steve Tendon about Chapter 14 from his book Hyper-Productive Knowledge Work Performance.  Chapter 14 is all about Kanban, flow, and throughput.  

Shameless Ad for my book!

Mastering Software Project Management: Best Practices, Tools and Techniques co-authored by Murali Chematuri and myself and published by J. Ross Publishing. We have received unsolicited reviews like the following: “This book will prove that software projects should not be a tedious process, for you or your team.” Support SPaMCAST by buying the book here. Available in English and Chinese.


Categories: Process Management

SPaMCAST 424 - Penny Pullan, Virtual Leadership

Software Process and Measurement Cast - Sun, 01/01/2017 - 23:00

Happy New Year!  

SPaMCAST 424 features our interview with Penny Pullin.  Penny returns to the SPaMCAST to discuss her new book Virtual Leadership: Practical Strategies for Getting the Best Out of Virtual Work and Virtual Teams.  Virtual teams and therefore the need for virtual leadership is a critical success factor for delivering value in the 21st Century.

Penny’s Bio:

Dr. Penny Pullan's latest book is Virtual Leadership: Practical strategies for getting the most out of virtual teams and virtual work. Writing it involved immersing herself in the virtual world and listening to countless stories of success and, all too often, disaster! Penny works with people in multinational organizations who are grappling with tricky projects: uncertain, with ambiguous requirements, stakeholders who need to be engaged and teams dispersed around the world. When they work with Penny, clients notice that communication, collaboration, and confidence grow and projects don’t seem quite as tricky as before! Penny is a Director of Making Projects Work Ltd. in the UK and tweets at @pennypullan.

Penny has offered SPaMCAST listeners a great offer!    Virtual Leadership coupon for 20% off VLF20 at www.koganpage.com which includes post and packing in the UK and the USA.

 

Re-Read Saturday News

In this week’s re-read of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni (Jossey-Bass, Copyright 2002, 33rd printing), we review the chapter titled Understanding and Overcoming The Five Dysfunctions. This chapter is the most hands-on portion of the book, and I suggest spending time with the wide range of ideas Lencioni peppers throughout this section. Next week we will conclude this Re-Read with final thoughts. If you are new to the re-read series buy a copy and go back to week one and read along!

I am running a poll to decide between Carol Dweck’s Mindset, Thinking Fast and Slow (Daniel Kahneman) and Flow (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi).  I have also had suggestions (in the other category) for Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World (Adam Grant) and Management Lessons from Taiichi Ohno: What Every Leader Can Learn from the Man by Takehiko Harada.  I would like your opinion! (last day 1/1/2017) [polldaddy poll=9605629]

Takeaways from this week include:

  1.   Exercises are a great way to teach theory, but practical application makes it stick.
  2.   Build trust or nothing else will work for long.
  3.   Experiment with ideas to overcome dysfunctions and measure their impact on RESULTS.

Visit the Software Process and Measurement Cast blog to participate in this and previous re-reads.

Next SPaMCAST

The Software Process and Measurement Cast 425 will feature the ideas from our annual tune-up blog entries. We need to strive to be more effective and efficient every day or the world will pass us by!  Next week I have some suggestions that have worked for me.  We will also have columns from Gene Hughson with more on leadership.  Gene’s ideas dovetail nicely with the concepts Penny talked about this week.  We will also talk with Steve Tendon about Chapter 14 from his book Hyper-Productive Knowledge Work Performance.  Chapter 14 is all about Kanban, flow, and throughput.  

Shameless Ad for my book!

Mastering Software Project Management: Best Practices, Tools and Techniques co-authored by Murali Chematuri and myself and published by J. Ross Publishing. We have received unsolicited reviews like the following: “This book will prove that software projects should not be a tedious process, for you or your team.” Support SPaMCAST by buying the book here. Available in English and Chinese.

 

Categories: Process Management

Pictures About Managing in the Presence of Uncertainty

Herding Cats - Glen Alleman - Sun, 01/01/2017 - 18:13

For projects at scale, meaning the success or failure of the outcome impacts the firm in ways that cannot be corrected if it fails - loss of business, non-recoverable sunk cost, or other unfavorable impacts, there is usually a formal governance process for managing the project, the funding, and the outcomes in a manner that provide visibility to the project progress to plan to the highest levels of the organization.

Many of these Enterprise IT projects apply agile methods. Just as many of the Agile projects in this domain misuse the  Definition of Done. Used as an excuse for not having a plan. Or as an excuse for not defining tangible evidence to needs to be produced in exchange for the investment. Here's a collection of PP&C processes that impact the probability of program success.

Here's the framework for applying Program Planning and Control to Enterprose IT projects as well as the other projects and programs where it is currently used.

Picture1

Let's with a basic idea. All work on projects is uncertain. Reducible uncertainty and irreducible uncertainty. This uncertainty is applicable to all work elements no matter the development method, the system architecture, or any other attributes of the project. Uncertainty is universally applicable to everything we do.

Screen Shot 2016-12-31 at 3.22.57 PM

Some would suggest that haveing no dependencies would remove the impact of uncertainties. But that is no true on any non-trivial project. For example in an enterprise system, like the one below, the needed capabilities to provide value to the business have a logical order. This is a health insurance provider enrollment system. We can have the shared group matrix reports and interfaces until we have a demonstration of the conversion process and member reconciliation. Order, predecessor, and successor relationships are part of all development work. 

Screen Shot 2016-12-31 at 3.26.27 PM

Let's start with some simple statistics. These uncertainties come from the underlying probability and statistics of the work processes. It's important to separate probability from statistics. Both are needed, but they are not the same. And more importantly, they have different impacts on the project. We must learn about the behaviors of both. Reducible uncertainties come from probabilities. Irreducible uncertainties come from statistical processes. One we can do something about and other we must have margin because they are irreducible.

Screen Shot 2016-12-31 at 3.31.19 PM

If you hear about some probabilistic or statistical process, there are some terms that are useful. Here's one - a Probability Distribution Function. This tells us the probability that some value will appear. In this example, those values range from 0.0  to 5.0. As managers, we may only be interested in 80% of the possible value. This 10/90 phrase says that numbers from the 10th percentile to the 90th percentile are the ones we're interested. If there is possibility that a value in the less than 10th percentile or greater than the 90th percent was to appear, we'd need to consider that an outlier or a value that must be prevented from appeared by some means

Screen Shot 2016-12-31 at 3.35.36 PM

As PP&C people we now need to put these concepts to work. The first question to answer is what are the behaviors of the schedule of work. We start with the schedule, rather than cost, because most every non-trivial projects have some deadline to start earning back the invested cost. It's not that we're not interested in cost, but we can usually go beg for more money. We get to beg for more time in any serious project. Why is this true, simple time cost of money. Those investing in the project have a need to start making money from their investment. Or, in many cases, those investing in the project have some external dependency - a launch date for a product. Or a physical launch date - a literal launch date. You can only go to Mars in a small window (weeks) every 3 years. Miss that date, you have to wait - usually at your own cost.

So here's a simple project example. This is from a larger briefing where we use the Wright Brothers contract to deliver a flying machine on a specific date for a specific amount of money. The contract for this machine is 3 pages and calls out dates, cost, measures of effectiveness, measures of performance, and key performance parameters. They had already flown many many times, this was a procurement contract for a production machine. That date was 

Screen Shot 2016-12-31 at 3.48.48 PM

That date was August 14, 1908. Orville and Wilbur were probably not professional Program Planning and Cost analyst, but they knew they to have a credible schedule complete with risk management and risk buy down, margins for that cost and schedule as well as margins for the technical performance of the product. Just like any credible plan for any non-trivial development effort. The Wright Brothers is a good place to learn how it was actually done, and learn that many of things we learning in grade school are not factually correct. The contract Signal Corps Specification No. 486 calls out the details. Wilburn and Orville had he needed margins - developed from reference classes of past flights, experiments, models, prototypes, and intuition. 

In our current domain, the primary tool used to develop the needed margins, assess the impacts of risk reduction activities, find blocking steps and a variety of other reducible and irreducible uncertainties is Monet Carlo Simulation. These simulations are applied to the three core attributes of all project work - time, cost, and technical performance and their interactions.

Here's what that looks like for the planned completion of Work Package #3 on March 12th, 2012. The chart shows there is a 60% probability of completing on or before the need date. If this is acceptable, then fine. If not we need a better plan.

Screen Shot 2016-12-31 at 3.58.31 PM

One of the roles of PP&C is the develop models for the cost and schedule of the project. Then interact with the engineers to assess the plan for increasing the maturity of the deliverables and how hat maturing assessment will impact the cost and schedule when that maturity is not being delivered to plan. This is the basis of a Closed Loop Control system.

Without a plan for delivering the needed capabilities at the needed maturity on the needed date for the needed cost, there is no way to have a control system that will provide actionable information to the decision makers.

 While these charts are notional in nature, here's a real one for dependencies of a large software-intensive system of systems for a flight vehicle. This chart is blurry enough to not be recognizable, but it is real and it represent several billion dollars of work over 5 years

Screen Shot 2016-12-29 at 4.40.53 PM

So In the End

  • Without a plan you don't know what done looks like - don;t believe for a moment the things will emerge and the customer will be happy about what you come up with - unless it's a research project. It's their money and they want to know when they will start earning back that investment
  • Closed Loop Control requires you have units of measure for what done looks like, when that Done will appear, how much it will cost to get to done, what impediments you'll encounter along the way and most importantly what units of measure meaningful to the decision makers will inform the physical percent of the work on the way to done.

This is what Program Planning and Controls does. It does it on large space flight programs. road building, power plant building, and most of all on Agile Software Development projects. Not you're 5 guys at the same table with their customer and an open check book projects. But large software development project (ours are typically $20M or greater up to Billions) with a deadline for working software - all the individual Sprints, Release up to Full Working systems with the needed capabilities to accomplish the mission.

If you have no deadline, no not to exceed budgets, no mandatory capabilities to meet the mission need, no defined benfist from the project, then none of this is useful

Related articles Making Decisions In The Presence of Uncertainty Intellectual Honesty of Managing in the Presence of Uncertainty The Flaw of Empirical Data Used to Make Decisions About the Future Making Decisions in the Presence of Uncertainty Managing in the Presence of Uncertainty
Categories: Project Management

Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni: Re-Read Week 14, A Final Model Overview

Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Five Dysfunctions of a Team

It is nearly 2017!  Today we complete the re-read portion of the Re-Read Saturday for The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni (Jossey-Bass, Copyright 2002, 33rd printing).  This installment covers the section titled Understanding and Overcoming The Five Dysfunctions. This section is the most hands-on portion of the book and I suggest spending time with the wide range of ideas Lencioni peppers throughout this section. Note that there are three very short sections that follow the Understanding and Overcoming section. They are interesting reads; however, I will leave them to you to review.  Next week we will conclude this Re-Read with final thoughts.

One last call for votes for the next book.  The poll for the next book is below. I have identified three books, including re-reading Carol Dweck’s Mindset, Thinking Fast and Slow (Daniel Kahneman) and Flow (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi).   I have also had suggestions (in the other category) for Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World (Adam Grant) and Management Lessons from Taiichi Ohno: What Every Leader Can Learn from the Man by Takehiko Harada.  I would like your opinion.  (PS In the case of a tie, I will choose)

Take Our Poll (function(d,c,j){if(!d.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src='https://s1.wp.com/wp-content/mu-plugins/shortcodes/js/polldaddy-shortcode.js';s=d.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);} else if(typeof jQuery !=='undefined')jQuery(d.body).trigger('pd-script-load');}(document,'script','pd-polldaddy-loader'));

Understanding and Overcoming The Five Dysfunctions

This chapter follows a pattern of providing more detail on each dysfunction, then provides some suggestions for overcoming the dysfunctions, and finally advice for leaders.

Dysfunction 1: Absence of Trust

The absence of trust forms the base of the model; without trust teamwork is impossible.  Lencioni defines trust from the point of view of the team. It is based on the confidence of team members that their peers have good intentions and there is no reason to be protective or careful around the group.  Lencioni describes this definition of trust as vulnerability-based trust. Vulnerability-based trust flies in the face off winner-take-all politics taught by popular culture and some business schools.  Trust is a core attribute of a good team. For those that have studied Maslow’s Hierarchy, you can replace physiological needs with trust. None of the other dysfunctions can be tackled until you deal with trust issues.

Suggestions for overcoming Dysfunction 1:

Vulnerability-based trust is often best developed when teams work together closely and share experiences over a period of time.  Teams that learn to rely on each other through multiple instances of delivery with follow-through build credibility. I’ve often said that working side-by-side with a group people overnight to achieve a goal generates very tight relationships.

Lencioni provides a number of exercises to help address this dysfunction including:

  • personal histories exercise,
  • team effectiveness exercise personality,
  • behavior preferences profiles, and
  • 360° feedback sessions.

Exercises and tools are useful; however, a good work crisis where team members are working together to solve the problem is even better. If you are going to use exercises as part of the solution for this dysfunction always follow up with reinforcement with real-life work activities that build trust.

Advice for leaders:

Leaders can’t artificially create situations to develop trust. Team members will see through it, and the leader will lose credibility.

Dysfunction 2: Fear of Conflict

Some amount of productive conflict helps to mature relationships.  The problem is that many in the corporate world either have a tendency or are taught to avoid conflict.  Fear of conflict is highly related to a lack of trust.

Suggestions for overcoming Dysfunction 2:

The recognition and acknowledgment that engaging in healthy conflict is productive is the first step at overcoming dysfunction 2. Lencioni suggests a number of methods for making conflict more productive including mining for disagreements, providing real-time permission to disagree and other tools. The goal of all of these is to find conflict, expose it, and get it into a productive discussion.

Advice for leaders:

Leaders need to avoid being part of the problem by shutting down productive conflict to protect team members. Not letting conflicts come to a natural conclusion will cause the issues to fester and become bigger. Fear of conflict is directly linked to lack of trust, the combination of the first two dysfunctions create an environment in which team members will have a hard time committing to decisions.

Dysfunction 3: Lack of Commitment

Lencioni defines commitment as a function of clarity and buy-in. Good teams make clear, timely decisions, and then move forward as a complete unit.  This is even though some team members may have originally disagreed with the decision. Consensus and need for certainty can cause teams to fail to make decisions or generate scenarios in which team members don’t buy-in.

Suggestions for overcoming Dysfunction 3:

Teams need to ensure that everyone is heard and their input is considered before a decision is made.  When a decision is made, even if it’s made by the leader for the team, everyone needs to rally together.  Not everyone needs to agree with the decision, but they must support it once made.  I once had a manager whose staff meetings were often loud and contentious. His only rule was once we left the room we all had to support the decisions made (on pain of being fired). Reliance on consensus is a reflection of a fear of conflict, which is built on a lack of trust.

Lencioni suggests that making a decision is better than not making a decision. Waffling and putting off important decisions until you have certainty can cause paralysis. No making decisions can also destroy team confidence.  When team confidence is shattered, teams fall apart.  There are several techniques included for overcoming dysfunction 3.  The techniques provide a path for making decisions or for illustrating what will happen if decisions are not made and supported.

Advice for leaders:

A leader must push teams to make and/or follow decisions.  Leaders need to be comfortable with making and shaping decisions even if the decision being made may occasionally be wrong. Teams that don’t commit find it very difficult to hold each other accountable (dysfunction 4).

Dysfunction 4: Avoidance of Accountability

Accountability in this circumstance is the willingness of team members to call their peers on performance or behaviors that might hurt the team.  It is easy to see how each of the earlier dysfunctions can lead team members to avoid holding other accountable.  Holding team members accountable is uncomfortable and nearly impossible without a commitment to team goals and decisions.  

Suggestions for overcoming Dysfunction 4:

As with the other dysfunctions, Lencioni provides a number of techniques for overcoming dysfunction 4.  The one I find the most useful is substituting individual rewards for team-based rewards.  Team rewards incent everyone to row together. 

Advice for leaders:

Managers often struggle with team members holding other team members accountable.  Agile recognizes that teams members holding each other accountable is a core practice that makes self-management possible. Leaders need to allow themselves to take a step back and allow team members to be the primary mechanism to channel peer pressure to guide behavior.

Dysfunction 4 is often the reason why Agile teams fail.

Dysfunction 5: Inattention to Results

Ultimate dysfunction in Lencioni’s model is the tendency of team members to care about something other than the collective goals of the group.  Putting individual goals ahead of the team’s goals ends up generating an environment where organizational failure is acceptable.  The holistic goals of the organization have to be put first or you risk the doors closing.

Suggestions for overcoming Dysfunctional 5:

Lencioni suggests techniques like a public declaration of the results or implementing result-based rewards.  Focusing on results makes sure that the team knows what is important and gets public feedback on their performance. The public declaration of goals and results also makes it more difficult for teams or individuals to abandon the organization’s goals.

Advice for leaders:

Set the tone for the group. Eschew chasing individual and team status.

As noted earlier, the book includes two more sections:

  •         A Note About Time: Kathryn’s Methods

Spending time together is important for teams.  Spending time together limits confusion and minimizes added communication.

  •         A Special Tribute to Teamwork

This small section points out that the first responders during events of 9/11 2001 shows how teamwork is supposed to work.

Three key takeaways:

  1.    Exercises are a great way to teach theory, but practical application makes it stick.
  2.    Build trust or nothing else will work for long.
  3.    Experiment with ideas to overcome dysfunctions and measure their impact on RESULTS.

Next week we will explore a few final notes on Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions.

Previous Installments in the re-read of  The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni:

Week 1 – Introduction through Observations

Week 2 – The Staff through the End Run

Week 3 – Drawing the Line though Pushing Back

Week 4 – Entering Danger though Rebound

Week 5 – Awareness through Goals

Week 6 – Deep Tissue through Exhibition

Week 7 – Film Noir through Application

Week 8 – On-site through Fireworks

Week 9 – Leaks through Plowing On

Week 10 – Accountability through The Talk

Week 11 – Last Stand through Rally

Week 12 – Harvest through The March

Week 13 – Model Overview through Team Assessment


Categories: Process Management

Quote of the Day

Herding Cats - Glen Alleman - Sat, 12/31/2016 - 22:12

18ixewubvb1ovjpg

18ad721lixo96jpg- Chuck Close

Categories: Project Management

A Guide to Generating Boring Code with Node

Xebia Blog - Fri, 12/30/2016 - 12:47
Writing boring code is not fun. Especially if that code is just a derivative of some data. You should generate it instead! A great example is to generate your HTTP client code from an API definition. This is actually very easy to do with a recent node version and requires almost no extra dependencies. In

Annual Tune-Up: Blocking Electronic Distractions, Re-planning, Thinly Slice Work (One Step At a Time), and Random Time Accounting Tips

Wood!

Blocking Out Extraneous Items Provides Focus

The end of the year is nigh!  We continue to break down nine of the techniques I have found useful to improve efficiency and effectiveness over the past year. Techniques include blocking electronic distractions, replanning, thinly slicing work, and a few simple time management techniques.  Put your phone into airplane mode and turn up your effectiveness and efficiency all the way up to 11.  

  1. Blocking Electronic Distractions – Those of certain age will remember the movie You Got Mail (I have found a way of avoiding said movie).  The “you got mail” announcement, once prominent in the late 1990’s, has given way to pings of various sorts for email, text messages, Facebook posts, Twitter, etc. I have only scratched the surface of potential interrupters. One simple mechanism to help achieve focus is simply to turn them off and/or block them. I turn Outlook, my cell and my iPad, Skype, Yammer and Slack off during certain times so I can focus.  I am currently exploring blocking applications.

Tools I use (or I am exploring)

  • Off Switch and Airplane Mode
  • SelfControl Application (Max OS X)
  • ColdTurkey Application (free and premium)
  • Pomodoro is a technique that is useful for attacking the productivity killers: procrastination and multitasking. The technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s that combines strategies of fixed blocks of time, cadence and focus which limit work-in-progress to get work done.
  1. Re-planning – As the last work step re-plan the next day.  Consider combining re-planning with a personal retrospective.  The goal of the re-planning is to get a good handle on what you will need to do the next day while the day’s events are fresh. Just because I sleep does not mean the rest of the world stops, I have recognized that there is always a need for minor adjustments before starting the day, however, nightly planning has proved indispensable to avoid losing my place over night.

Tools I Use:

  • Moleskin – I record my personal retrospectives in a moleskin.
  • Trello – I use Kanban for larger pieces of work that move through different stages toward completion.
  • Evernote – When ideas or work comes to me outside of the regularly scheduled work period or while I am working on something else, I typically email notes to Evernote so I don’t forget them.
  • Outlook – I schedule work on my Outlook calendar and then use the calendar to manage my day (to the extent possible).
  1. Thinly Slice Work (Do One Step at a Time) – Thinly slicing tasks make it easier to break through procrastination by identifying the next step, providing feedback that progress is being made and an endorphin kick of checking a task off when complete. Thinly slicing personal tasks works for exactly the same reasons thinly slicing users stories works in Agile techniques.

Tools I Use:

  • Agile user stories – the same techniques for slicing and grooming user stories can be used for a personal effort.
  • Trello – I capture the breakdown of Trello items in checklists or as new Trello cards.
  • Evernote – Similar to Trello, I capture steps for to-do items on to-do lists (my rule is that as soon as a step is completed I capture the next step even if it will be done later).
  1.      Random Time Management Tips
  • Do the most important tasks first.  Kevin Kruse (SPaMCAST 398) uses the acronym MIT (most important task). Get your most important tasks done first when you are fresh and can deal with any complications.
  • Leave some buffer between tasks and meetings (this is critical if you need to travel even in the same office).  Pomodoro includes 5 minutes breaks between most sessions so that you can decompress, get coffee and do other things and then return to full focus.
  • Begin your day by exercising. Exercise promotes clearer thinking and increases energy, both of which increases effectiveness and efficiency.

There are numerous time management tips that are useful.  During the past year, I have leveraged all three of these techniques and found them useful.  Because they are useful and fit my lifestyle they have become habits. Your mileage will vary; however, they are worth a try.

Becoming more effective and efficient is a goal that everyone should embrace. Personal improvement is up to each of us and what we get from our effort is often linked to just how committed we are to change. Want to improve in 2017? Pick any one of the nine and see how you can do a better job than you do today!

Entries in the Annual Tune-Up Theme for 2016 (Part of our overall Getting Things Done Series):


Categories: Process Management

Annual Tune-Up: Blocking Electronic Distractions, Re-planning, Thinly Slice Work (One Step At a Time), and Random Time Accounting Tips

Wood!

Blocking Out Extraneous Items Provides Focus

 

The end of the year is nigh!  We continue to break down nine of the techniques I have found useful to improve efficiency and effectiveness over the past year. Techniques include blocking electronic distractions, replanning, thinly slicing work, and a few simple time management techniques.  Put your phone into airplane mode and turn up your effectiveness and efficiency all the way up to 11.  

  1. Blocking Electronic Distractions – Those of certain age will remember the movie You Got Mail (I have found a way of avoiding said movie).  The “you got mail” announcement, once prominent in the late 1990’s, has given way to pings of various sorts for email, text messages, Facebook posts, Twitter, etc. I have only scratched the surface of potential interrupters. One simple mechanism to help achieve focus is simply to turn them off and/or block them. I turn Outlook, my cell and my IPad, Skype, Yammer and Slack off during certain times so I can focus.  I am currently exploring blocking applications.

Tools I use (or I am exploring)

  • Off Switch and Airplane Mode
  • SelfControl Application (Max OS X)
  • ColdTurkey Application (free and premium)
  • Pomodoro is a technique that is useful for attacking the productivity killers: procrastination and multitasking. The technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s that combines strategies of fixed blocks of time, cadence and focus which limit work-in-progress to get work done.
  1. Re-planning – As the last work step re-plan the next day.  Consider combining re-planning with a personal retrospective.  The goal of the re-planning is to get a good handle on what you will need to do the next day while the day’s events are fresh. Just because I sleep does not mean the rest of the world stops, I have recognized that there is always a need for minor adjustments before starting the day, however, nightly planning has proved indispensable to avoid losing my place over night.

Tools I Use:

  • Moleskin – I record my personal retrospectives in a moleskin.
  • Trello – I use Kanban for larger pieces of work that move through different stages toward completion.
  • Evernote – When ideas or work comes to me outside of the regularly scheduled work period or while I am working on something else, I typically email notes to Evernote so I don’t forget them.
  • Outlook – I schedule work on my Outlook calendar and then use the calendar to manage my day (to the extent possible).
  1. Thinly Slice Work (Do One Step at a Time) – Thinly slicing tasks make it easier to break through procrastination by identifying the next step, providing feedback that progress is being made and an endorphin kick of checking a task off when complete. Thinly slicing personal tasks works for exactly the same reasons thinly slicing users stories works in Agile techniques.

Tools I Use:

  • Agile user stories – the same techniques for slicing and grooming user stories can be used for a personal effort.
  • Trello – I capture the breakdown of Trello items in checklists or as new Trello cards.
  • Evernote – Similar to Trello, I capture steps for to-do items on to-do lists (my rule is that as soon as a step is completed I capture the next step even if it will be done later).
  1.      Random Time Management Tips
  • Do the most important tasks first.  Kevin Kruse (SPaMCAST 398) uses the acronym MIT (most important task). Get your most important tasks done first when you are fresh and can deal with any complications.
  • Leave some buffer between tasks and meetings (this is critical if you need to travel even in the same office).  Pomodoro includes 5 minutes breaks between most sessions so that you can decompress, get coffee and do other things and then return to full focus.
  • Begin your day by exercising. Exercise promotes clearer thinking and increases energy, both of which increases effectiveness and efficiency.

There are numerous time management tips that are useful.  During the past year, I have leveraged all three of these techniques and found them useful.  Because they are useful and fit my lifestyle they have become habits. Your mileage will vary; however, they are worth a try.

Becoming more effective and efficient is a goal that everyone should embrace. Personal improvement is up to each of us and what we get from our effort is often linked to just how committed we are to change. Want to improve in 2017? Pick any one of the nine and see how you can do a better job than you do today!

 

Entries in the Annual Tune-Up Theme for 2016 (Part of our overall Getting Things Done Series):


Categories: Process Management

Connecting Five Principles, Processes, and Practices of Project Success

Herding Cats - Glen Alleman - Wed, 12/28/2016 - 20:11

To increase the probability of project success, many things have to happen at the same time. Here's are Five principles and practices that can increase that probability of success

Principles and Practices of Performance-Based Project Management® from Glen Alleman Related articles Managing in Presence of Uncertainty Applying the Right Ideas to the Wrong Problem Good Project and Bad Project
Categories: Project Management

The Best New Years Resolution: Agile Product Management

Xebia Blog - Wed, 12/28/2016 - 15:44
Agile Product Management is grounded in the Jobs to be done theory and Lean startup principles. In my book “The Product Samurai” I described how you can effectively apply these techniques to be a better Product Manager, but what I didn’t’ cover was why not everybody is doing this already? Making up for that, and

Annual Tune-Up: Filtering Work, Delegation, Automation, and Time Boxing (Part of the Getting Things Done Series)

Tight stairway to the sky

Block Out Distractions

As the New Year’s celebration approaches, it is useful to reflect on how we can become more efficient and effective.  Continuing breaking down nine of the techniques I have found useful over the past year we explore a selection ranging from saying “no” to time boxing. The goal is to not only get more done but to get the right things done.  

  1.      Filtering Work – The most powerful word for becoming more effective is “no.” Do the work that is important to achieving your goals and say no to work or items that do not progress those goals. No is not a word anyone is taught to say easily, and in some cases not it is not an acceptable word to use in a corporate environment.  When “no” isn’t comfortable or acceptable, consider committing to completing the task or work at a future date (and then schedule getting it done). Saying yes and then doing the work poorly (my mother, who was fairly blunt, called doing work poorly something else – ask me if you really want to know). For example, I am currently the President of the International Function Point Users Group. I carve out approximately an hour a day and then schedule that time on my calendar to address tasks, beginning with the most critical task the office requires. Requests that come in outside of that time queue until the next available scheduled time slot.

Tools I use:

  • Trello – I use Kanban to larger pieces of work that move through different stages toward completion.
  • Evernote – When ideas or work comes to me outside of the regularly scheduled work period or while I am working on something else I typically email notes to Evernote so I don’t forget them.  I am trying to minimize my use of pencil and paper to reduce the amount of time needed to transpose tasks from my horrid handwriting into Trello or a spot on the calendar.
  • Outlook – I schedule work on my Outlook calendar and then use the calendar to manage my day (to the extent possible).  PS – I work in an Office shop, so other calendar apps are not in the cards.
  1.      Delegation – One of the best tools to buy more time in a day is not to do everything yourself.  Entrust work (whether you are pushing down, sideways or up is a different discussion) to someone else to complete.  Delegation of work requires the delegator to define the task, specify who the work is delegated, assess the ability of person/team of the delegate, explain the reason for delegation, a statement of the results required, and agree on the deadline. Delegation is a powerful tool for providing bandwidth, building trust and for building capabilities in an individual or team.

Tools I use:

  • Trello – Used for tracking larger multistep efforts
  • Evernote – Used for smaller to-do list items.  I am contemplating using a calendar to transition away from an active to-do list.  
  1.      Automation – On a day-to-day basis we perform many tasks that require effort but less brain power; the less time spent on these tasks the better.  Automating these tasks are a way to reduce personal involvement in tasks or steps that do not require active involvement, thinking or processing.  A reduction in effort increases efficiency (efficiency equates to less time required to create an output). For example, I track the use of several terms that are important to my business, blog, and podcast. I used to spend 30 to 40 minutes searching those terms multiple time a week.  I now use Google Alerts to perform the searches and have the results emailed to me.  Begin by visualizing your flow of work (do this even if you are not going to automate anything), and then look for tools that can automate the flow. One cautionary note, automation typically requires time and effort to learn tools, potentially the cost of tools and in some cases the cost of consultants to code the automation. Balance the whole cost with the benefit of automation.

Tools I use (or am trying):

  • Google Alerts – Monitor the web for specific terms.
  • Process Street – A simple workflow software for businesses. I interviewed the CEO of Process Street on SPaMCAST 390.  I am experimenting with this tools/service.
  • Zappier – An automation tool that connects web apps (this is next on my workflow exploration hit list).
  1.      Time Boxing – A time box is a fixed period of time allocated for given activity.  In Scrum a sprint is a time box. Other Agile frameworks often use iterations. The concept of time boxing has was popularized in the 1990’s by Champ and Hammer, in Reengineering the Corporation, and then picked up and used in the Agile movement. Time boxes are useful for ensuring focus and creating checkpoints for generating feedback.  Time box everything.  I use Pomodoro (I wrote about it here: blog and podcast) as time box tool not only for the work I do personally but as a tool to structure training classes (almost anyone can stay focused for 25 minutes).  Humans are good at working to deadlines, and time boxes create structured deadlines to work toward, show progress when they are met and the endorphins of success when a deadline is met.

Tools I use:

  • Pomodoro – Pomodoro is a technique that is useful for attacking the productivity killers: procrastination and multitasking. The technique was developed by Francesco Cirillo in the 1980s that combines strategies of fixed blocks of time, cadence and focus which limit work-in-progress to get work done.
  • Timer – Timer app on my cell phone.

There will always be a tradeoff between efficiency (switching costs) and effectiveness (staying fresh and making visible continuous progress) or an opportunity cost for techniques like automation. A workable solution is a balancing act and will always be a work in progress.

Entries in the Annual Tune-Up Theme for 2016 (Part of our overall Getting Things Done Series)!


Categories: Process Management

Being An Agile Security Officer: Security Stakeholdership mindset

Xebia Blog - Tue, 12/27/2016 - 16:23
This is the second part in my blog series about 'being an agile security officer'. In this blog I will focus on the mindset of security stakeholdership in Agile and DevOps environments. In the Agile world the Product Owner is the person who translates business and customer desires into work items (user stories) for the

Software Development Conferences Forecast December 2016

From the Editor of Methods & Tools - Tue, 12/27/2016 - 08:41
Here is a list of software development related conferences and events on Agile project management ( Scrum, Lean, Kanban), software testing and software quality, software architecture, programming (Java, .NET, JavaScript, Ruby, Python, PHP), DevOps and databases (NoSQL, MySQL, etc.) that will take place in the coming weeks and that have media partnerships with the Methods […]

How to integrate Jmeter-maven printing HTML reports project with DevOps CI/CD pipeline in 4 easy steps

Xebia Blog - Tue, 12/27/2016 - 08:36
(1) Fork the below github repo having pom.xml file which contains all the dependencies of Jmeter and printing the Jmeter reports in HTML format https://github.com/nishantguptaxe/JmeterMavenHtmlReports.git (2) Add your Jmeter file under the src/test/jmeter folder and checkin your code into the github (3) Install the go server, start the go server ,hit the go url in

Cost Estimating Assessment Criteria

Herding Cats - Glen Alleman - Mon, 12/26/2016 - 07:43

I'm working an Implementation Review (IR) of a major space flight vehilce, that includes Software Intensive System of Systems. 

Here are the guidelines for a credible cost estimate (GAO-16-620)

Comprehensive

  • Includes all life-cycle costs
  • Defines program, reflects current schedule, technically reasonable
  • Work Breakdown structure is traceable and includes appropriate details
  • Documents all cost-influence ground rules and assumptions

Well Documented

  • Capture source data used, reliability, and data normalization
  • Details calculations performed and estimating methodology used
  • Includes detailed instruction on how to replicate the estimare
  • Describe technical baseline consistent with program
  • Includes evidence of review and acceptance by management

Accurate

  • Estimate should lack bias; be neither overly conservative nor optimist
  • Proper adjustment for inflation
  • Few, if any, mistakes in calculation
  • Regular updates cost estimate to reflect significant changes
  • Documented and explained variances between planned and actual costs
  • Estimate based on historical record of comparable p[rograms
  • Estimating techniques used appropriately

Credible

  • Includes sensitivity with a range of costs based on varying inputs
  • Risk and uncertainty analysis that qualifies risks and impacts
  • Cross check major cost elements
  • Indpenednet cost estimate to compare different estimating methods

These guidelines are comprehensive and not likely to cover most projects or programs. But it's good to ask how many of these attributes can be found in your cost estimate?

 

Related articles Information Technology Estimating Quality Managing in the Presence of Uncertainty Want To Learn How To Estimate? Five Estimating Pathologies and Their Corrective Actions The Art of Systems Architecting The Fallacy of the Planning Fallacy Architecture -Center ERP Systems in the Manufacturing Domain IT Risk Management
Categories: Project Management

SPaMCAST 423 – Software Quality, QA Certifications, Languages, Configuration Management Part 2

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The Software Process and Measurement Cast 423 builds  on our interview from last week with Philip Lew.  This week we lead with a discussion of measuring quality.  Quality is related to risk, productivity and customer satisfaction.  

Next Jeremy Berriault brings his QA Corner to the Cast to discuss the impact of certifications in software testing.  Want a bit of foreshadowing?  The answer is not cut and dry. Visit Jermey’s new blog at https://jberria.wordpress.com/

The Software Sensei, Kim Pries , answers a question he was recently asked by one his students, “why do we have so many computer languages?” This a question I have often asked, usually when I have to learn the basics of a new language. Reach out to Kim on LinkedIn.

Jon M Quigley, brings his column, the Alpha and Omega of Product Development to the cast.  In this installment, the 2nd in a 3 part series on configuration management, Jon continues the cycle of configuration management which begins with requirements and travels across the whole lifecycle. One of the places you can find Jon is at Value Transformation LLC.

Re-Read Saturday News

In this week’s re-read of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team  by Patrick Lencioni (Jossey-Bass, Copyright 2002, 33rd printing), we talk about two sections, An Overview of the Model and Team Assessment. There are two more weeks left before moving to the next book. If you are new to the re-read series buy a copy and  go back to week one and read along!

I am running a poll to decide between Carol Dweck’s Mindset, Thinking Fast and Slow (Daniel Kahneman) and Flow (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi).  I have also had suggestions (in the other category) for Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World (Adam Grant) and Management Lessons from Taiichi Ohno: What Every Leader Can Learn from the Man by Takehiko Harada.  I would like your opinion! 

Take Our Poll (function(d,c,j){if(!d.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src='https://s1.wp.com/wp-content/mu-plugins/shortcodes/js/polldaddy-shortcode.js';s=d.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);} else if(typeof jQuery !=='undefined')jQuery(d.body).trigger('pd-script-load');}(document,'script','pd-polldaddy-loader'));

Takeaways from this week include:

  • Real teamwork is rare.
  • The five dysfunctions are inter-related.
  • Assessment are as useful as those taking them want them to be!

Visit the Software Process and Measurement Cast blog to participate in this and previous re-reads.

Next SPaMCAST

The Software Process and Measurement Cast 424 will post on New Year’s Day.  SPaMCAST 424 will feature our interview with Penny Pullan.  Penny returns to the SPaMCAST to discuss her new book Virtual Leadership: Practical Strategies for Getting the Best Out of Virtual Work and Virtual Teams.  Virtual teams are the norm in today’s business environment. We need to learn the best ways to maximize the value from distributed teams.  Penny sets a really high bar to begin the year!

Shameless Ad for my book!

Mastering Software Project Management: Best Practices, Tools and Techniques co-authored by Murali Chematuri and myself and published by J. Ross Publishing. We have received unsolicited reviews like the following: “This book will prove that software projects should not be a tedious process, for you or your team.” Support SPaMCAST by buying the book here. Available in English and Chinese.


Categories: Process Management

SPaMCAST 423 - Software Quality, QA Certifications, Languages, Configuration Management Part 2

Software Process and Measurement Cast - Sun, 12/25/2016 - 23:00

The Software Process and Measurement Cast 423 builds  on our interview from last week with Philip Lew.  This week we lead with a discussion of measuring quality.  Quality is related to risk, productivity and customer satisfaction.  

Next Jeremy Berriault brings his QA Corner to the Cast to discuss the impact of certifications in software testing.  Want a bit of foreshadowing?  The answer is not cut and dry. Visit Jermey’s new blog at https://jberria.wordpress.com/

The Software Sensei, Kim Pries , answers a question he was recently asked by one his students, “why do we have so many computer languages?” This a question I have often asked, usually when I have to learn the basics of a new language. Reach out to Kim on LinkedIn.

Jon M Quigley, brings his column, the Alpha and Omega of Product Development to the cast.  In this installment, the 2nd in a 3 part series on configuration management, Jon continues the cycle of configuration management which begins with requirements and travels across the whole lifecycle. One of the places you can find Jon is at Value Transformation LLC.

Re-Read Saturday News

In this week’s re-read of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team  by Patrick Lencioni (Jossey-Bass, Copyright 2002, 33rd printing), we talk about two sections, An Overview of the Model and Team Assessment. There are two more weeks left before moving to the next book. If you are new to the re-read series buy a copy and  go back to week one and read along!

I am running a poll to decide between Carol Dweck’s Mindset, Thinking Fast and Slow (Daniel Kahneman) and Flow (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi).  I have also had suggestions (in the other category) for Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World (Adam Grant) and Management Lessons from Taiichi Ohno: What Every Leader Can Learn from the Man by Takehiko Harada.  I would like your opinion! 

[polldaddy poll=9605629]

Takeaways from this week include:

  • Real teamwork is rare.
  • The five dysfunctions are inter-related.
  • Assessment are as useful as those taking them want them to be!

Visit the Software Process and Measurement Cast blog to participate in this and previous re-reads.

Next SPaMCAST

The Software Process and Measurement Cast 424 will post on New Year’s Day.  SPaMCAST 424 will feature our interview with Penny Pullan.  Penny returns to the SPaMCAST to discuss her new book Virtual Leadership: Practical Strategies for Getting the Best Out of Virtual Work and Virtual Teams.  Virtual teams are the norm in today’s business environment. We need to learn the best ways to maximize the value from distributed teams.  Penny sets a really high bar to begin the year!

Shameless Ad for my book!

Mastering Software Project Management: Best Practices, Tools and Techniques co-authored by Murali Chematuri and myself and published by J. Ross Publishing. We have received unsolicited reviews like the following: “This book will prove that software projects should not be a tedious process, for you or your team.” Support SPaMCAST by buying the book here. Available in English and Chinese.

Categories: Process Management

Facebook privacy! I am SHOCKED.

NOOP.NL - Jurgen Appelo - Sun, 12/25/2016 - 02:36

I am SHOCKED.

I have been following the conversations around Facebook’s (lack of) privacy rules and people inform me that Facebook is collecting data about everything that I do and they SELL this data to advertisers!! This means that it is NO COINCIDENCE that Facebook shows me advertisements for products that I bought yesterday, cheap flight tickets to cities that I just returned from, and magazines that I am already subscribed to. OMG, can you believe that??

And they are doing their best to MINE EVEN MORE DATA about me with the sole purpose of showing me ads that even better match my needs and desires!! Seriously, at some point, those ads might actually become useful. That means that, instead of clicking on a Facebook ad, on average, once per year, they might entice me to click on them TWICE per year. The HORROR!

They do all this just so that I can use their service for free, for several hours per week. I get value without paying anything, and Facebook keeps analyzing all my behaviors so that they can optimize it until I like their system so much that I don’t want to leave.

It’s insane. No company should be allowed to operate like this.

Why are governments not doing anything?!!

I am so disappointed in Mark Zuckerberg. I honestly thought that he was the world’s most generous philanthropist, paying for this platform for all of us, with his 40 billion dollars. I figured it was simply a mind-blowing coincidence that for two weeks straight, I saw Facebook ads for mattresses, which started one day after I bought two mattresses. I genuinely thought that Facebook was more like a charity organization. I was asking around how I could donate money!

I feel TRICKED.

Governments should put an end to this! I insist that Facebook snoops on me WITHOUT offering me anything of value.

Like governments do.

(c) 2013 Sarah Marshall, Creative Commons 2.0

The post Facebook privacy! I am SHOCKED. appeared first on NOOP.NL.

Categories: Project Management

Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni: Re-Read Week 13

Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Happy Holidays!  Today we have a short version of Re-Read Saturday.  This week’s re-read of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni (Jossey-Bass, Copyright 2002, 33rd printing), we address begin the major section titled, The Model.  The Model culminates Lencioni’s book and includes four chapters. Today we will re-read the sections titled, An Overview of the Model and Team Assessment.  A short and sweet entry and then I am off for potent eggnog and just maybe a seat at the new Star Wars Movie.  Two more weeks on this book.

I am still soliciting your vote for the next book.  We have a poll going for the next book. I have identified three books, including re-reading Carol Dweck’s Mindset, Thinking Fast and Slow (Daniel Kahneman) and Flow (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi).   I have also had suggestions (in the other category) for Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World (Adam Grant) and Management Lessons from Taiichi Ohno: What Every Leader Can Learn from the Man by Takehiko Harada.  I would like your opinion.  (PS. in case of ties I will choose)

Take Our Poll (function(d,c,j){if(!d.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src='https://s1.wp.com/wp-content/mu-plugins/shortcodes/js/polldaddy-shortcode.js';s=d.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);} else if(typeof jQuery !=='undefined')jQuery(d.body).trigger('pd-script-load');}(document,'script','pd-polldaddy-loader'));

The Model

An Overview of The Model

Lencioni posits that he wrote the book because of two critical truths.  The first is that genuine teamwork is elusive.  My observations indicate that genuine teamwork is found in organizations, but much of it actually occurs closer to the work than at the executive levels. Ideological movements like Agile strongly incent strong teams, while competition for spots in the hierarchy tend to incent scenarios where trust is difficult.  Situations, such as when Jeff (The March) suggests that he should not no longer report to the CEO, are far rarer than political battles for the next rung in the hierarchy.  Secondly, Lencioni suggests that the reason that teamwork is rare is that teams unwittingly fall prey to the five dysfunctions.  I ask whether the word ‘unwittingly’ should be part of the sentence.

All five dysfunctions are interrelated.  Think of each of them as a card in a precariously balanced house of cards.  Each card is important and, if withdrawn, the whole structure will collapse.  The same can be said for the five dysfunctions.

  1. Absence of Trust in a team exists when people are unwilling to be vulnerable within the boundaries of the group. Without trust, team members will always be on guard with each other and will have to closely examine the motives of those around them.
  2. Fear of Conflict causes team members to be incapable of engaging in the unfiltered and passionate debate of ideas. Fear of conflict can be directly linked to a lack of trust. 
  3. Lack of Commitment. Without the unfiltered and passionate debate of ideas, team members will not be able to commit to the decisions made by the team or leader.
  4. Avoidance of Accountability. Without commitment to an idea or agreement team members will avoid accountability and will not hold their peers accountable.
  5. Inattention to Results occurs when teams and team members put their individual needs and the needs of the division above the collective goals. If teams and team members are not committed to a goal or action and will not hold each other accountable, there will be no attention to results.

Lencioni ends this section with a positive version of the dysfunctions (the functions?) of a team.  I suggest a quick review.

Team Assessment

The Team Assessment is a quick tool that Lencioni provides to facilitate a conversation with a team around the five dysfunctions.  The team assessment is 15 questions with a scoring mechanism that links each question to one of the dysfunctions. I have tried the assessment as an experiment and found that it is useful for starting a discussion.  I tried the tool on fairly well-performing teams and found that the conversation was quite spirited.  If you try the tool don’t get any discussion or if fist fights breakout  . . . get a trained facilitator to help with your team’s behavioral issues.

Note:  Any assessment tool in the business environment requires goodwill to be effective.  The people that see the tool as a learning opportunity will get the most out of the activity.  Remember the classic saying “garbage in, garbage out.”

Three key takeaways:

  1.      Real teamwork is rare.
  2.      The five dysfunctions are inter-related.
  3.      Assessment are as useful as those taking them want them to be!

Previous Installments in the re-read of  The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni:

Week 1 – Introduction through Observations

Week 2 – The Staff through the End Run

Week 3 – Drawing the Line though Pushing Back

Week 4 – Entering Danger though Rebound

Week 5 – Awareness through Goals

Week 6 – Deep Tissue through Exhibition

Week 7 – Film Noir through Application

Week 8 – On-site through Fireworks

Week 9 – Leaks through Plowing On

Week 10 – Accountability through The Talk

Week 11 – Last Stand through Rally

Week 12 – Harvest through The March

 


Categories: Process Management

Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Patrick Lencioni: Re-Read Week 13

Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Five Dysfunctions of a Team

Happy Holidays!  Today we have a short version of Re-Read Saturday.  This week’s re-read of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni (Jossey-Bass, Copyright 2002, 33rd printing), we address begin the major section titled, The Model.  The Model culminates Lencioni’s book and includes four chapters. Today we will re-read the sections titled, An Overview of the Model and Team Assessment.  A short and sweet entry and then I am off for potent eggnog and just maybe a seat at the new Star Wars Movie.  Two more weeks on this book.

I am still soliciting your vote for the next book.  We have a poll going for the next book. I have identified three books, including re-reading Carol Dweck’s Mindset, Thinking Fast and Slow (Daniel Kahneman) and Flow (Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi).   I have also had suggestions (in the other category) for Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World (Adam Grant) and Management Lessons from Taiichi Ohno: What Every Leader Can Learn from the Man by Takehiko Harada.  I would like your opinion.  (PS. in case of ties I will choose)

Take Our Poll (function(d,c,j){if(!d.getElementById(j)){var pd=d.createElement(c),s;pd.id=j;pd.src='https://s1.wp.com/wp-content/mu-plugins/shortcodes/js/polldaddy-shortcode.js';s=d.getElementsByTagName(c)[0];s.parentNode.insertBefore(pd,s);} else if(typeof jQuery !=='undefined')jQuery(d.body).trigger('pd-script-load');}(document,'script','pd-polldaddy-loader'));

The Model

An Overview of The Model

Lencioni posits that he wrote the book because of two critical truths.  The first is that genuine teamwork is elusive.  My observations indicate that genuine teamwork is found in organizations, but much of it actually occurs closer to the work than at the executive levels. Ideological movements like Agile strongly incent strong teams, while competition for spots in the hierarchy tend to incent scenarios where trust is difficult.  Situations, such as when Jeff (The March) suggests that he should not no longer report to the CEO, are far rarer than political battles for the next rung in the hierarchy.  Secondly, Lencioni suggests that the reason that teamwork is rare is that teams unwittingly fall prey to the five dysfunctions.  I ask whether the word ‘unwittingly’ should be part of the sentence.

All five dysfunctions are interrelated.  Think of each of them as a card in a precariously balanced house of cards.  Each card is important and, if withdrawn, the whole structure will collapse.  The same can be said for the five dysfunctions.

  1. Absence of Trust in a team exists when people are unwilling to be vulnerable within the boundaries of the group. Without trust, team members will always be on guard with each other and will have to closely examine the motives of those around them.
  2. Fear of Conflict causes team members to be incapable of engaging in the unfiltered and passionate debate of ideas. Fear of conflict can be directly linked to a lack of trust. 
  3. Lack of Commitment. Without the unfiltered and passionate debate of ideas, team members will not be able to commit to the decisions made by the team or leader.
  4. Avoidance of Accountability. Without commitment to an idea or agreement team members will avoid accountability and will not hold their peers accountable.
  5. Inattention to Results occurs when teams and team members put their individual needs and the needs of the division above the collective goals. If teams and team members are not committed to a goal or action and will not hold each other accountable, there will be no attention to results.

Lencioni ends this section with a positive version of the dysfunctions (the functions?) of a team.  I suggest a quick review.

Team Assessment

The Team Assessment is a quick tool that Lencioni provides to facilitate a conversation with a team around the five dysfunctions.  The team assessment is 15 questions with a scoring mechanism that links each question to one of the dysfunctions. I have tried the assessment as an experiment and found that it is useful for starting a discussion.  I tried the tool on fairly well-performing teams and found that the conversation was quite spirited.  If you try the tool don’t get any discussion or if fist fights breakout  . . . get a trained facilitator to help with your team’s behavioral issues.

Note:  Any assessment tool in the business environment requires goodwill to be effective.  The people that see the tool as a learning opportunity will get the most out of the activity.  Remember the classic saying “garbage in, garbage out.”

Three key takeaways:

  1.      Real teamwork is rare.
  2.      The five dysfunctions are inter-related.
  3.      Assessment are as useful as those taking them want them to be!

Previous Installments in the re-read of  The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni:

Week 1 – Introduction through Observations

Week 2 – The Staff through the End Run

Week 3 – Drawing the Line though Pushing Back

Week 4 – Entering Danger though Rebound

Week 5 – Awareness through Goals

Week 6 – Deep Tissue through Exhibition

Week 7 – Film Noir through Application

Week 8 – On-site through Fireworks

Week 9 – Leaks through Plowing On

Week 10 – Accountability through The Talk

Week 11 – Last Stand through Rally

Week 12 – Harvest through The March

 


Categories: Process Management