Coaching

Random Coaching Tips

As a person who has been successfully coaching software development teams for twenty years, let me throw out a few ideas to chew over. With luck, maybe one of them will jiggle the frame enough for you to find a next step. Nothing, absolutely nothing, always works. There are thousands of forces in play in a typical team or organization, and many of them are inherently or ontogenetically anti-change. I vary my game a lot, and I have a lot …

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Three Short Coaching Pro-Tips

A respondent asked that I combine these three short Pro-Tip muses into one post, so here goes: Coaching Pro-Tip #1: Everything good about agility is rooted in relationship, so everything good about coaching is, too. As coaches, we usually start from negative trust, and our central priority has to be reversing that position. In the early days of most coaching engagements, one sees lots of issues, of various size and shape. The temptation to start issuing criticism and directives is …

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Two Mantras, One Theme

Two recurring phrases in my work are 1) It is like this because we built it to be like this. 2) The code works for you, you don’t work for the code. Two sides of one page, phrased on the front as negative critique, and on the verso as positive encouragement. Before we dig in, I remind you of the relative unimportance of geekery to me just now. This is just respite. Please work for change and support the others …

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On Agile Methods

A couple of days back, I tweeted about SAFe. It created some stir on the timeline, which was great, as I got to see a lot of perspectives. I want to use that tweet as an excuse to talk about something much larger. This will be a long one. 🙂 Meanwhile, I remind you, geekery’s not as important right now as some other things. Please, stay safe, stay strong, stay angry, stay kind. Black Lives Matter. We are the only …

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Standup Braindump

The standup is a short recurring meeting used to (re-)focus the team-mind on effectively moving stories through our workflow. Here’s my recommended approach to having standups be useful and brief. The general sequence is 1) address team-wide emergency issues, 2) work story-by-story, 3) distribute new work, 4) address team-wide non-emergency issues. Note that, quite often, there is no part 1, and no part 4. Sometimes there’s not even a part 3. Some general tips, then. 1) Don’t over-engineer standups. Stay …

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An Early TDD Experience

HOT TIP! Click the image below to get $75 off Ted Young’s new interactive online class running March 8th-11th 2021. Use special code "GEEPAW" at checkout. Thanks! When we talk about transitioning to microtest TDD, we have to figure out how to provide the right experiences in the right order. That’s why I propose we start by getting the experience of changing a well-microtested graceful class. Folks, my ideas about changing code are thoroughly entangled with my ideas about changing …

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Technique & Transition

HOT TIP! Click the image below to get $75 off Ted Young’s new interactive online class running March 8th-11th 2021. Use special code "GEEPAW" at checkout. Thanks! Microtest TDD is a "way of coding", not an after-market bolt-on to old-school approaches, and as a result, we have to constantly intertwine our conversation about technique with our conversation about transition. Geekery’s fun for me, and it’s comforting, but it’s not the most important story going on around us. Enjoy this thread, …

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Old Coach at the End of the Bar

I am supposed to be shooting the next Real Programmer episode today, but I had a really good wrap-up meeting that was important, and I’m waiting for one more piece I need to send a first invoice to a new client, and I want to talk about coaching. In another part of the forest, some folks are discussing the frustrations of what is, by whatever name we call it, coaching. And the long and the short of it is "they …

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Human-less Change Fails

  A lot of the reasons that change fails, inside & outside technical organizations, come down to one broad statement: the people who have to make the changes are humans, and the people who want them to make the changes have not successfully taken this into account. Before we proceed: Changing a software development process is kind of a sideshow to me right now. Changing the world out on the streets is the real story. Black lives matter. Please go …

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Pull & Swarm

Sooooooo. I’m gonna write a little bit about geekery. But I do want to frame it for you a little. Geekery is not very important right now. My country is in the throes of facing down a violent uprising by uniformed militia, spurred on by parts of the government. So, geekery, no. Not important. But, to me, and to many of my followers, thinking and talking about geekery is a kind of comfort food. Comfort doesn’t eliminate problems. But the …

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