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 concocting  extraordinary  teams

Updated: 2018-03-06T09:01:46.570-05:00


Draw Me a Picture!


The "Dialogue Room" at last week's ScrumGathering in Munich was intended by conference organiser Tobias Mayer to create more space for high-bandwidth learning, in contrast to the many "talking heads" sessions planned for the Gathering. Activities there included a Haiku workshop with Liz Keogh, Innovation Games with Lowell Lindstrom and Paul Culling (video here), Tobias' self-organising Scrum

I am doing my thesis, please answer my survey!


Ah, it happened again today. One of those mildly annoying mailing list posts, you know: "Please help me with my thesis! Just follow this link to fill out a survey on Agile and xxx". I deleted it.When the second email came, with the title "Agile developers.......... Please help,,,,, I have to complete my thesis ," I was annoyed. The note included "Why IT professionals don't have 5-10 minutes to

The REAL Agile Coaches Pub


Agile Coaches! Forget this Skype business - let's all meet for a REAL drink in Toronto, on Monday August 4th, the night before the Agile2008 conference gets underway! All agile coaches, mentors, leaders are welcome - and bring a friend! Collective-Edge invites you to join us on Monday night to kick off the conference with jazz and good conversation! It's simply a social time for coaches to meet

What Would Happen if you Asked a "Powerful Question"?


Well, I think I've found my passion! I've ventured into the world of professional coach training, starting with Co-Active Coaching, taught by the Coaches Training Institute (CTI).A key Co-Active practice,called "Powerful Questions," (though far from new), blew me away - here is a way to create new possibilities in my retrospectives! The trick lies in NOT asking the weak question, particularly the

Qcon: for better software team performance


Professional development has many facets: reading books, keeping up to date with news and journals, and working with colleagues to learn from one another. In the field of IT, we need to keep up-to-date and fresh.InfoQ and JAOO have joined to offer another resource: the Qcon conference. The first edition will be held this spring in London, UK, and includes two tracks of interest to practitioners

OpenSpace benefits both beginners and experts


I recently facilitated an OpenSpace event in Montreal, and some simple changes from previous similar events made it a much more satisfying event for all. What did we do?First, we "opened the space" with all conference participants, whether they intended to stay in OpenSpace or not. This allowed people to flow in and out of the OS event, confident of the rules and free to fully participate if and

Measuring What Matters


Robin Dymond and I enjoyed making our presentations at Agile2006. As promised, here is a link to the files related to our topic:Appropriate Agile Metrics: Knowing What and When to MeasureTags:agile metrics Agile2006

Process is Inevitable - Embrace It, Then Change It :-)


A fellow agilist asked a question about Scrum and process - wondering why an Agile methodology would be rather rigid about basic practices. Here is my answer, from the ScrumDevelopment yahoo group:Re: Are SCRUM and XP actually Process Oriented?Hi Vicky.I do not think we need to divorce the term "process" from Scrum. However, Scrum is not, in my mind, "a process" but rather a way of thinking

Fitting Agile into your Ecosystem


(On June 14th, a colleague posted some objections about getting Agile to work in certain environments. This is my answer to some of his points).Hi Alex.You are definitely not alone in noticing:... that managers and bosses have the real problem moving to agility.I believe this is one of the reasons that some Agile practices have got such a bad rap - teams are rushing ahead without engaging

Teamwork in Real Life


I'm sitting patiently in the waiting room in the Women's Hospital maternity ward. It's been a long labour, and everyone is tired - most notably the star performer. In the delivery room, important and difficult decisions are being weighed.I'm doing what, I suspect, a number of other geeky maternity-support-persons are doing elsewhere on the planet, while waiting for the happy announcement: Online Community Launched!


We went live, over at yesterday! It provides news and content to the Agile, Java, .NET, Ruby and SOA communitites - particularly for managers and team leaders of all sorts.Come over for a visit, and if you like what you see, you can register and customize your view of the site, to eliminate news and content in the queues that don't interest you - for example, perhaps Ruby doesn't impact

(Just enough) Order out of Chaos


I recently ran a retrospective with one of my teams, for a 14-week Agile pilot project. We had a few extra minutes before lunch, so I tried an optional exercise I had on my agenda: Please draw a picture of how you feel about the Pilot. It could be realistic or completely abstract.Now, this team had had the usual Scrum rollout trials, but also a few good surprises: some things had gone far better

InfoQ site "unLaunched" and available for early bird review!


Well, Floyd Marinescu's labour of love is finally ready - is in pre-launch beta testing and we'd love for you to have a look and send us your comments! And feel free to blog about it - the more the merrier! Official launch is set for the end of the month. Cross-posted - apologies to those of you subscribed to all 3 lists :-) hope this

Agile Spirits Discovered at Web 2.0 un-Conference


The sold-out Mesh Conference began today in Toronto: the hordes have descended for what's predicted to be Canada's seminal Web 2.0 event.Web 2.0 is a buzzword coined by those who believe there is a paradigm shift going on in the way people will interface with the world wide web. It has continually incorporated (and spawned) the latest web innovations (podcasts, hacks, tagging), innovations

TorCamp 2.0


A great weekend - that once again proves that great teams are where you make them :-)Here is my Flikr slide show of some of my favourite photos of the event, courtesy of our BarCampTdot photographers, including Matthew and this luminous photo by Bryce.More later!deb Tags: TorCamp BarCamp BarCampTdot

What's Deb up to?


I've been busy in Toronto, doing a little coaching and looking for the enterprises that want help tuning up their development processes... it's slow work, but they are out there! I really want to work at home, if I can - though attractive jobs are more plentiful in the US right now.I'm also working these days with Floyd Marinescu (formerly of on his latest venture, the InfoQ

OpenSpace for Collaborative Conferences


For the life of me, I can't recall how I heard about OpenSpace... as far as I recall, my first OpenSpace was the one I sponsored in Toronto in 2004! OpenSpace is a way to facilitate an unconference, created twenty years ago by Owen Harrison, who now uses it for The Practice of Peace.It's an amazing way to put people in motion fast... they arrive with nothing but their burning passion to discuss

In my Lifetime


Leila pinged Mark, who pinged me... In My Lifetime, three things I would like to see...all individuals treated with equal respect, regardless of skin colour, beliefs, abilities, language, or wearing the right labelshousing made affordable for families at all income levelsworkplaces filled with passion and laughter, as we encourage each other to discover and contribute our best abilities.What do

Groups Perform Better Than The Best Individuals...


A new study in the April issue of the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology (published by the American Psychological Association) indicates that "Groups Perform Better Than The Best Individuals At Solving Complex Problems". No surprise to those of us teaching collaborative work practices!



Jen, who I wrote about in my last item, also drew to my attention BlogHer | Where the women bloggers are, asking: did I want to be involved in a Toronto BlogHer conference in 2006? You bet!Ladies, you can list your blog on this site - there are already over 2000 of us! Yet another online community that may spawn great things!

It's a Small World


I call it "networking". Linda Rising calls it "Tell Everyone". In her Patterns for Building a Beautiful Company, Linda has a pattern called "It's a Small World":You’re an entrepreneur who wants to create a Beautiful Company. You’re trying to practice Beautiful Leadership. What’s the best way to get what you need?Organizations, like all human groups, operate through conversation. [Senge 99]    

DemoCamp and Community


The buzz is building... TorCamp's DemoCamp5 was held last night at U of T's Bahen Centre for Information Technology to a full house of 141 attendees, the largest DemoCamp yet.DemoCamp is the place to demo *working* software - we've seen things alpha release state to yesterday's mature 6-year old HP authentication app. But the real star is the crowd, and the real venue was upstairs at Molly

What is a Coach worth?


Coach Kevin Rutherford and I have been musing on this subject: what meaningful measures can we propose to clients to evaluate the results of our work? Kevin's made a start in thinking about this... silk and spinach: process improvement metrics - some questionsHopefully we can discuss this with other coaches at Agile2006 in OpenSpace.Coaches: by what measures do you evaluate your work? It's tough,

Wanted: Cat Herder


One of the methodologies in which I am trained, and which I teach to others is Scrum Project Management. The team lead in this approach is called the "ScrumMaster" (tongue firmly in cheek) or sometimes referred to as "the sheepdog" because he or she must care for the team, keeping out intruders and distractions. At the beginning, some folks have a hard time wrapping their mind around this role,

Catching the right stuff


"I am often mad, but I would hate to be nothing but mad: and I think I would lose what little value I may have as a writer if I were to refuse, as a matter of principle, to accept the warming rays of the sun, and to report them, whenever, and if ever, they happen to strike me." E. B. WhiteOne of the things a coach does is "sit outside" the team, keeping watch. Why? Because culture change is