Collaboration.

Working in a large global corporation, it always baffles me how little we actually collaborate and utilize each other’s talents. I don’t mean working within my small team or even my extended product owner team, but across disciplines, teams and departments. Why do we hesitate so much to seek the assistance of others? Do we shy away from admitting that we could use some help? Are we afraid to lose control if we let others in on “our” area of expertise?

You might wonder what this post has to do with agile and well, perhaps it doesn’t specifically. It only crossed my mind since agile puts such a large emphasis on team work, collaboration, co-location, crossing skill sets… seems that these are all things we should embrace, not just on our agile lanes and scrum teams, but in our organization as a whole.

I try to encourage exchange of ideas by reaching out for help, offering to assist someone and most of all, genuinely invite somebody to challenge my point of view. I seem to get the best ideas when somebody challenges my initial approach and calls out my assumptions. I mean, as much as I would like to, I can’t be right all the time…and I am sure we can all benefit from a little more constructive feedback.

As it stands today, I think we have quite a way to go to communicate and collaborate successfully… There is a lot of talent out there and we can only to reach our full potential if we continue to challenge ourselves and others.

The post Collaboration first appeared on Agile, Now What?

Don’t Lose Focus on Collaboration.

I was looking for inspiration for the blog when I stumbled across this post by Satish Thatte on the Agile Management Blog.

Balancing Individual Focused Work with Collaborative Team Work: Open-Office Bullpens are Harmful!

I have always been a believer in making sure that my work is a balance of team-time to catch up on what’s going on and focus-time for the more complex and intricate tasks of my day-to-day. Working remote from my home office, it’s pretty easy for me to make that happen. When I really need to focus, I can just avoid my instant messenger, screen any non-urgent calls and dive into the deep pool of total concentration.

My colleagues who work in our “agile friendly” open plan offices are not so lucky. Yes, agile promotes co-location, but how useful is it really to have non-focused chatter in the background while you work? Let’s be honest, not every conversation that happens in an office is actually productive or even related to the work going on. We all chat with our co-workers about our weekends, where we should go for lunch, and so on… Yes, we also discuss our work, but not all the time is the topic of conversation really worth the interruption of and breaking our concentration.

Therefore I question, are open plan offices really the best layout for productive work?

Crossword.

Since most of my friends are actually not involved in the world of software development, when trying to describe what I do and how we do it, I tend to try and make comparisons to real life scenarios they can relate to. Today, I thought I’d share a wonderful example I stumbled across a little while ago;

 The Crossword Effect by Clarke Ching (Clarke Ching’s Rocks And Snowballs)

Wish I had come up with that one myself….