wtorek, 2 grudnia 2014

Leadership bullshit

Leadership is about passion, vision, goals, learning and growth. It’s about people, communication and relationships, about taking care of others.

It’s about serving them.

Leadership is about showing others that it’s good to go out from your comfort zone and challenge yourself and others. Leadership is about being an example that others would like to follow, about being a visualization of what you are saying and sharing. Being a leader means that sometimes you have to stand against, sometimes you have to make a difficult decision and it happens even when you don’t have enough information. Leadership is about forgetting your ego, about being humble, about taking risk, sharing successes and taking responsibility for failures. That’s what leadership means for me, that’s how I’m defining it.

środa, 15 października 2014

What would convince you?

I have recently participated in a really great training run by Sylwia Królikowska-Evenhuis. The training was about Interpersonal Communication and despite the fact that I wasn't sure whether I should go or not I decided to do so and... well, it turned out to be great experience packed with a lot of information (new and reminders) and a ton of fun.
And because I always thought that a good piece of advice and knowledge should be spread, in next few posts I will share with you some of the most important things I heard there.

who knows best?

Each of us was in a situation (and I'm pretty sure that more than once) when we wanted to get something, do something, convince someone to our opinion or plans. It just happens and there’s nothing special about that.
And what have you usually done in such cases? Personally, I used to take notes (either on paper or in my mind) and list all good things which would happen if we did it on my way, I list also bad ones be prepared to protect my idea/proposition. I thought hard about arguments which would convince my interlocutor — what would make him, as well as me, accept the offer?
It was hard. I know what would convince me, but how could I know what would convince the other side? Maybe there's a way to make negotiations easier and more satisfying for both sides? How to end up with a win-win result?

there is a person who knows the answer

And what would happen if you just asked your caller during the conversation, just when he shows any sign of resistance? “What would convince you?”, “What need to happen to do it on my way?”
It's great to come up with propositions but if your partner doesn't agree for any? Isn’t it better to ask him? Who would know better than him what would make him happy?

it can't be so simple...

And it's not always is. Of course, in the ideal situation we will receive an answer with conditions that we can fulfill. But it's not always the case.
What if the counter proposition will be impossible to meet?
Well, we should dig deeper, now there's time for our reaction. We can say that "It's impossible" and end conversation, but it's not our purpose. We want to achieve more, not even compromise, we want one result — a win-win situation when everyone is happy. That's why we can say something like: "ok, that's fine, but maybe there is something different, something within my reach which allows me to make you satisfied with the result?" We can just ask more question.
If the second side also want to make a deal, he will help us. And if not directly (I want this and this), those questions can put us on track, and show us more than we could imagine ourselves.

People are usually willing to help you help them.

it can be even worse

Yes, it can. We can hear simple: "no, there's nothing like that" and our interlocutor will just give us impossible conditions and he would say that's his "last word". Of course, we can ask more questions, but it can bring no result and make the atmosphere even more tense. What then? In that case, simply change the topic. Before you get any answer, first you will have to know "what". What are the reasons why he don't want to help you make a deal. Maybe there's something more and you have to know what. Maybe it's not about proposition? Maybe it's not even because of anything that happened during the conversation? Maybe it's something that is not even related to the case?
After you solve this problem, you can move forward with what is the real goal of your conversation. And I'm pretty sure that if you solve this issue, your partner will be even more willing to help you find answers to your first question.

Now, I'm curious, what would convince you to try it yourself?

wtorek, 22 lipca 2014

Product backlog - do you really need an app for that?

Some time ago I encouraged you to put your sprint backlog on the wall because of transparency and efficiency. Today I want to ask you to go even further and put your backlog on the wall (or whiteboard if you want). The whole product backlog? Yes - the whole product backlog - with each story that belongs to it.

And the great question is: But why? Let's see.

sobota, 28 czerwca 2014

It’s just a waste

Estimation was an ongoing issue that I and my team were struggling with at my last company. Of course there were better sprints, but there were also ones with totally inaccurate estimation. Everything was either over- or underestimated.

As a Scrum Master, who was assisted by a great team, I tried to improve it in many various ways and... when I changed a job, there were still issues with estimation itself. But, after a closer look, I need to admit that all battles against wrong numbers standing next to “to-be-done” tasks were worth fighting for. We improved a number of things: our Sprint Plannings, Retrospectives, writing User Stories and good Definition of Done. I could list even more things which were improved in times when we gave special attention to estimation.

piątek, 6 czerwca 2014

Everyone is a leader, but not everyone want to be

As John Maxwell says, “Everyone is a leader because everyone influences someone”. We can agree or disagree with this statement; nonetheless, after giving this saying a closer look, I firmly believe that each of us will admit that any of us have impact on someone. It doesn't matter whether it's one person, our closest family, group of friends or someone else -- there’s always someone.

We accept this type of leadership unquestionably, it's so natural for us that we often don't even treat this as leadership. This is the main reason underlying lack of development in this field. We didn’t name it, so we simply don't invest our time to become better in how we impact others.
Is this the only reason? I think that many of us just don’t like to take full responsibility. They don’t feel well in a situation in which they find themselves, it wasn’t their choice. The fact that someone is a leader does not mean that he or she wanted to become one.

poniedziałek, 5 maja 2014

Take one thing at a time

A while back I wrote that if you want to make improvements or fix something, you should start with the easiest thing, because it allows you to gain team's trust and increase confidence of team members. It will also prove them that it's OK to try and, in some cases, to fail.
Thanks to this you increase your and your team members’ chances to succeed with more complex and problematic issues in the future.

But there’s more things which can help you to achieve a success and increase quality of communication.

piątek, 28 marca 2014

It's all about differences... or not?

definition of good team

It's not easy to create a good team. It's even hard to find one definition of a good team which would be accepted by everyone. I think the reason is simple - there are many solutions to each problem and the problem can be solved in a satisfying way by good teams working differently, teams consisting of people with various personalities.

wtorek, 11 marca 2014

good time for something easy...

I'm pretty active person or at least I'm trying to be. I have this luck that everything what I'm doing give me some kind of joy. I'm happy when I can spent a time playing with my daughter, when she doesn't stop asking "why this?", "why that?". I appreciate all of those moments when I can talk hours with my wife, arguing or laughing. I'm feeling great at my work, where I have opportunities to work with great people, solve nontrivial problems and have an impact on many things around me. I love those moments when I can sit for a moment and focus on my hobbies or other interests.

piątek, 7 marca 2014

The essence of leadership

For some people leader is someone who have a control over the team, who decides and sets the right directions.

For some people leader isn't so important role at all, well, just some guy with something he called soft skills, guy who want to do nothing, take no responsibility and get money for this.

For other leader is just another name for project manager or a titile for a developer who started to earn more money.

In many cases you aren't become a leader, because someone notice that you will be good as a leader or that you have traits of the great leader. In many cases is just another step on career ladder.

środa, 26 lutego 2014

Do you have a time for thinking?

Some time ago one of friend of mine told me that he have a problem with people who doesn't want to take any responsibility. He told me that he continuously encourages them to share their opinions, make comments and even argue with him, but somehow he still fails.
We had a short, but constructive conversation this day. We formulate a few questions which would be helpful with finding a solution and we decide to get back to this topic in next week.

Unfortunately we had to reschedule it and we met again after two weeks.
I was prepared very well to the conversation and I eagerly waiting for what my friend will share with me.
It was pretty unexpected when I heard that he have had no time to thing about our questions.

I know that nowadays it's not so easy to find a free time which can be intended for thinking, but if we would think about solutions for our own problems is rather like an investment, not a waste of precious time.

It's worth to remember that is cheaper to prevent than react.

czwartek, 20 lutego 2014

Customers don't know what they want!

I believe that you heard this sentence many times, maybe a few times you were a person who said it (sadly I need to admit that I also said it a few times in past), and maybe you heard additional comments like: "They don't understand how their business works!", "Who had a such a great idea?!" and many others which mainly shows how everyone are upset because of customer's requirement.
Why people feels like this? Because they see no logic under requirement and functionality and (sometimes) even customer's explanations don't brings this desired "aha" moment.

I were there many times and I believe that many times are still in front of me and I can assume that almost everyone who have ever had to create something for a client know this very well.

So maybe it's really something with our clients? Or maybe... it's something with us?

Ok, let me tell you a short story.

niedziela, 19 stycznia 2014

You cannot change people...

Some time ago I had conversation with one of leader in our company. We planned to talk about responsibility and the ways how encourage people to taking it.
My friend started, he told me that he tries as hard as he can, he always repeats to his team there is nothing to be afraid with taking responsibility, "that's a possibility to grow!"

"And after all not all of them want to take it. I really don't know how to change those people!" - he said.

"Is it even possible?" - I asked.