Articles

Selling Your Ideas to Management

DAVID: Ruth, I think we should buy the ABC software to track trouble tickets and issues. RUTH: There is no budget for that. DAVID: But it takes me days to put together the information you want about the state of the product. And without an automated collection mechanism, I think many problems aren’t being reported. […]

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Temperature Reading

Virginia Satir developed this method for discovering a group’s temperature — what we in technology often call the system’s state. A facilitator leads the discovery. He or she keeps the group focused on each agenda item; works with the group members to help them communicate information congruently; and publicly displays each contribution so the group […]

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Safer Conversations with Management

You have what you believe is an important thought to share with management. You’re concerned though that management may dislike your message. How do you assess how safe it is to share your thought with management? It’s certainly perilous if management regularly scowls, aims their finger at you and fires words such as: “You have […]

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Coaching Whiners

Ban whining. It’s destructive communication inside organizations. Why is whining destructive? How can a whiny complaint be transformed into a constructive, actionable proposal? You ask Anthony, who reports to you, “How are things going?” Anthony unloads on you like a dump truck unloading fertilizer, “I’m sick and tired of the mandatory meetings that your management […]

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Catch Them Doing It Right

First published in the Management Chronicles of Better Software Magazine, January – February, 2008 issue. It’s also posted on the stickyminds website. <> A smile formed on Eleanor’s face as she saw me approach her doorway. She and I were meeting to discuss her views on recognizing and rewarding employees. She had been my manager […]

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The Art of the Discovery Interview

“What?” raced through Janet’s head as she read the email. “Now that’s a surprise.” The message was from Jack Johnson, vice president of development. It said she would receive a meeting request from Rajan Alak, an outside consultant, to interview her about the problems with the new system. The message went on to say the […]

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Decide as a Team

Do some members of your team make agreements during meetings but fail to support them afterwards? If this behavior is happening, I suspect your team is using an obscure process to make decisions. Identifying Obscure Process An obscure decision making process is easy to identify. Ask each member to create a map of the process […]

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Waiting For People Who Arrive Late

What does it say about the participants of a weekly meeting when the meeting consistently starts 5-10 minutes behind schedule? Answer, the participants are cooperating with each other to start late. Starting late is the status quo. Let’s explore: Are you cooperating with the participants of your meetings to start late? How do you feel […]

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Rethinking Stand-Up Meetings, Part 2

I argued in my first article about stand-up meetings that the right participants were the key to a successful meeting rather than whether the participants were standing up or sitting down. Despite my dislike for forcing people to stand up, I mentioned in that article my positive regard for other elements of the standard stand-up […]

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Rethinking Stand-Up Meetings, Part 1

Stand-up meetings are popular in software development organizations now. What makes a stand-up meeting more effective than a traditional meeting to socialize status information? Nothing. The effectiveness of a stand-up meeting, like the traditional status meeting, depends on the participants. If you have the right people at the meeting, you can be effective whether the […]

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