Warning: this post has almost nothing to do with testing and it barely has anything to do with software development. Managers should read it however.
Last night, at the Atlanta Scrum Users Group, I saw Peter Saddington’s talk, “The New Role of Management for High-Performance Teams”. Peter has three master’s degrees and claims to be Atlanta’s only Certified Scrum Trainer.
Here are some highlights from my notes:
- Managers should see themselves as “managers of inspiration”. Don’t manage issues. Instead, manage inspiration. Help people love what they do first, then you don’t need to manage them.
- Everyone can improve their job performance by taking time to reflect. Few bother to, because they think they are too busy.
- Stop creating processes. Instead, change the rules as you go. The problem with process is that some people will thrive under it and others will die. There are no “best practices”; (Context-driven testers have been saying this for years).
- The most important question you can ask your directs is “Are you having fun?”. Happier employees are more productive.
- Play and fun at work have been declining for 30 years (in the US).
- Burn-out rate has been increasing for 30 years (in the US).
- Myth – Agile teams should be self-organizing. Fact, marriages are about the only true self-organizing teams that exist; only about 50% are successful (in the US). Instead of hoping your teams self-organize their way to success, get to know your people and put them on teams that make sense for them. Try re-interviewing everyone.
- If you learn 3 things about a co-worker’s personal life, trust is increase by 60%. “How did Becky do at her soccer game yesterday?”
- Motivate your teams with these three things:
- Autonomy – People should not have to give it up when they go to work.
- Mastery – Ability to grow one’s craft. Help people make this happen. Put people in places where they can improve their work.
- Purpose – People do their best work when they know why they are doing it.
- Any manager who asks their directs to work on multiple projects at once, should be fired. Study after study shows that multi-tasking and switching contexts burns people out and causes them to work poorly.
Peter did a fun group exercise to drive home that last point. He had some of us stand in a circle and take turns saying the alphabet or counting by multiples of 3 or 5. He began forcing us to switch patterns on the fly, as we worked. Afterwards, we all hated him and his stupid exercise. …He was representing a manager.
Labels: Managing Testing