Showing posts from July, 2012

Stephen Covey

Just saw this via linkedin:

My condolences to all his friends and family members - he and his books have helped so many with so much.

Test Driven Development solutions to same problem


I discovered Test Driven Development / TDD in about 2005/6 thanks to Gunjan Doshi's TDD Rhythm and 1-2 old articles on JavaWorld.

Years later I read Kent Beck's book Test Driven Development (The Addison-Wesley Signature Series) (or US) and was glad I had not missed anything fundamental from my non-standard "foundations" on the subject. These days there is a fairly good intro on Test Driven Development wikipedia entry. This post is aimed at software craftsmen and journeymen and perhaps even masters - to inspire a bit of thought along the following dimensions that impact the solutions that evolve:
- the understanding of the functional requirement
- the understanding of the non-functional requirement
- approaching the solution in primarily an iterative approach (managing complexity, perhaps)
- approaching the solution in primarily an incremental approach (managing complication, perhaps)
- the understanding of the requ…

My favourite coaching tools: Labels and Believing Is Seeing!

This is a group exercise and great for team building. At certain times during the session some people's emotions might rise due to frustration at being misunderstood.

As coach you MUST manage the level of frustration (a little is good, too much is bad) in order to allow the group to fully experience and gain from the steps below. Most participants however are quick to see the simulation for what it is and self-control themselves accordingly. If you feel unsure, practice with a smaller group of friends, for instance, who can safely give you feedback throughout to ensure you are able to facilitate it correctly to the intended benefits.

Always remain on the safe side - for your sake and for your participants' also!

- Enough labels to get people into groups of 6 - preferably the labels are on little hats so that the people who are labelled do not know their own label (sometimes I use post-its stuck to foreheads but this does not work in warm sweaty conditions, …

My favourite coaching tools: Motivational direction discovery and visualisation to achieve

Some people reject/debunk NLP (Neural Linguistic Programming) in its entirety. I find some of it useful to know and to teach to others. I do this by skipping the whole NLP thing and just honing in on the particular tools where relevant - for example below.

A bit of time to chat through various situations

Step 1:
According to NLP: the New Technology of Achievement humans are motivated in 2 ways:
- TOWARD what we want
- AWAY from what we don't want

For instance:
- Going to pat the friendly happy dog
- Keeping distance/getting away from the angry aggressive dog growling and barking madly

Another way to think about these motivational directions:
- Toward oriented people are goal-directed (outcome focussed)
- Away oriented people are more interested in identifying and solving problems (journey focussed)

Step 2:
Of course, as is clear in the example, humans use both motivation directions depending on a variety of factors - eg environmental, experience, etc.

However, …

Update on SEM

For those that are interested:
- Through May traffic (New AND Returning Visitors) to this blogsite tripled
- Through June traffic (New AND Returning Visitors) to this blogsite doubled
- Google impressions through June (when I started tracking those as well) have more than doubled
- Early days in July, but already looking on track to double again :-)

Thank you all readers and supporters!!

At the same time, my research with Twitter has come to an end for now - the Twitter disconnect from linkedin announcement on Friday seems like an opportune time to deactivate. In reality this site attracts far more new+real visitors (hang around and read for 4-6 minutes) via google. :-)

My favourite coaching tools: Retrospective timeline cartoon

Caveats: None. Getting a group to draw together, to make and convey meaning in story format by using the retrospective timeline cartoon pictures is an incredibly powerful team building activity. The retrospective timeline often raises team awareness, very gently, with humour, of something some of the team members are experiencing - eg providing feedback about a particular behaviour of one of the team members.
Required: Large paper and markers. 20-30 minutes to draw 10 minutes to present and explain
Optional: For distributed team members, the easiest is a way to scan/photograph cartoon contributions and email/upload to a shared space.
Step 1: Simply give the materials and the instruction to the group. Part of this experience is to allow the group to figure it out for themselves - ie, less is more. A typical instruction is simply:
"Spend the next 20 minutes drawing a cartoon of a couple of frames that capture the key things that occurred during this past sprint/iteration/month/week/y…