Interview with Ben Linders – Agile Retrospectives

Interview with Ben Linders – Agile Retrospectives

We are really happy to have Ben Linders in Agile Greece Summit 2015 (did you get your ticket? NO??? get it now!). Ben is an active member of networks on Agile, Lean and Quality, and a frequent speaker and writer. He shares his experience in a bilingual blog (Dutch and English), as an editor for Agile at InfoQ [1] and as an expert on TechTarget[2]. He is also tweeting a lot and you may find him as @BenLinders. Ben is the author of Getting Value out of Agile Retrospectives, Waardevolle Agile Retrospectives & What Drives Quality. So, we are very excited to have him talk about “The Why, What and How of Agile Retrospectives“. He is also facilitating two workshops (more on this later)[1]. Here is his small interview. Q: Could you briefly introduce yourself? I work as an Independent Consultant in Agile, Lean, Quality and Continuous Improvement. I live in The Netherlands and I love to write and blog. As an adviser, coach and trainer I help organizations by deploying effective software development and management practices. Q: What will your talk be about, exactly? Why this topic? In my opinion, you can only get real benefits from if teams work intensively together with stakeholders and customers, and continuously look for ways to improve themselves. Agile retrospectives are crucial to do this. Q: What do you think could be the main gain for participants in your session? Well, there are actually three sessions, much learnings in all of them 🙂 Attending my sessions helps people to pick and deploy agile practices, do agile retrospectives more effectively, and increase their agility and the value...
Team Awesomeness

Team Awesomeness

Team Awesomeness, a great way for Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches to facilitate group dynamics and team’s awesomeness. A common goal for our teams at King is to strive to be a high-performance team that communicates and collaborates well both within and outside the team. In that spirit, we are testing a concept that I call “Team Awesomeness”. Generally, it’s a lightweight questionnaire, which the team answers together as an extension to the retrospective. The team fills out a questionnaire with 25 questions divided in five different areas: contribution to King, contribution to the team, innovation, communication, and quality. The team members read each question out loud and then do “fist of five” voting. Those members with the highest and lowest votes should explain their choice. The whole team listens and discusses, then votes again, as in planning poker. The team tries to reach a consensus on a score, makes notes, and then moves to the next question. After going through all the questions, the team should clearly see in which areas it needs to improve. The first Team Awesomeness exercise takes approximately two hours. The exercise offers good input for an improvement theme (see picture). The team can also easily measure progress. Make sure the results are transparent for the whole team, and put the score on your Scrum/kanban board. We don’t tell a team which methods or processes it needs to put in place to strengthen its weak areas; if a team, for example, finds that they need to improve quality, the company doesn’t tell them to fix more bugs or start with TDD. The team must find a solution...
4 Things to Have in Mind About Managing Global Teams

4 Things to Have in Mind About Managing Global Teams

One year ago I took the most challenging decision of my software development career. I quit my daily – 40hr/week job and joined a company as a remote freelancer. That change was even more radical because I made the switch from a hands-on developer role to a “software engineering manager” role. Although I don’t like the term “engineer” for software development, that’s my current role / job description. All this time I’m managing several development teams. What’s really awesome is that all team members are located in every possible place around the world. In this post I will share my so far personal experience and some things I learned the hard way when it comes to manage global teams. Let’s face the truth. Remote working is an increasing trend for several startups and ‘traditional’ companies. Personally I think that in the near future more and more companies will switch to this new model of recruiting. Hiring people globally decreases costs but it hides a lot of risks and difficulties, especially when it comes to manage all those remote workers. Here are some of the most important challenges I faced: Different cultures Everything I knew about human relationships and the way that people handle common situations in a software development team collapsed from one day to another. You don’t know how people react when they hear something that you consider normal but to their ears doesn’t look the same way. The fact that you don’t speak your mother-tongue make things even more fragile. The key to overcome the problem is politeness and clearness. Whatever you say, be polite, calm, confident...