My Agile 2015 Roundup

Agile 2015 was the week of Aug 3-7 this year. It was a great week. Here are the links to my interviews and talks. Interview with Dave Prior. We spoke about agile programs, continuous planning, and how you might use certifications. I made a little joke about measurement. Interview with Paul DuPuy of SolutionsIQ. We also spoke about agile programs. Paul had some interesting questions, one of which I was not prepared for. That’s okay. I answered it anyway. The slides from Scaling Agile Projects to Programs: Networks of Autonomy, Collaboration and Exploration. At some point, the Agile Alliance will post the video of this on their site. The slides from my workshop Agile Hiring: It’s a Team Sport. Because it was a workshop, there are built-in activities. You can try these where you work. My pecha kucha (it was part of the lightning talks) of Living an Agile Life. I hope you enjoy these. I had a great time at the conference....

Early Release of Agile and Lean Program Management Available

I have finished integrating comments from the early review of Agile and Lean Program Management: Scaling Collaboration Across the Organization. I decided that the book was good enough to release to the general public. I find it difficult to release books in progress. The in-progress part challenges my perfection rules. I also know that some of you who want this book will wait until it’s done, or worse, available in paper. However, since this is an agile and lean book, it seems nuts to not release it, even though it is not quite done. If you get the book, please send me comments about what confused you, what you thought was crazy, and anything else. Thanks so much!...

Do You Need a Degree to be Hired to Develop Software?

I retweeted a link to Here’s a Thing: There’s No Correlation Between a College Degree and Coding Ability. I was a bit surprised by some of the reactions to that link. One colleague said, “I question whether people who wait until a college assignment to learn to code have the same obsessive interest in the topic.” I was quite surprised. Back when I went to college, people didn’t have access to computers except in school. And, what about those of us who only discovered programming by accident, say our sophomore year in school (me), or a few years later (another colleague)? Would a hiring manager penalize us for not knowing about programming when we were 12? Do developers need an “obsessive” interest in programming? I don’t think so. When I hired developers, I looked for a number of preferences, qualities, and non-technical skills: Ability to learn our system fast Ability to get along with the rest of the team Ability to take feedback and provide feedback Problem-solving abilities in several domains: ways to look at both technical and non-technical tradeoffs More things depending on the role and environment Of course, I looked for technical skills also: Ability to explain their code to me and others We always did a technical audition, so we could see somebody’s technical skills at work Ability to explain how their code fit into the whole of the system they were working on at the time More things depending on the role and environment In all the time I hired developers (about 10 years), I never made a college degree a requirement. Nor did I make obsessive...

How to Hire for Cultural Fit Without Becoming Insular and Mediocre

Have you read The next thing Silicon Valley needs to disrupt big time: its own culture? If not, it talks about hiring processes where companies Hire people “just like us” Where candidates can’t tell they are on interviews Where, if you wear a suit, you might be disqualified, because, hey, we don’t wear suits here. No, it doesn’t count that you are the one interviewing There’s more, but this is all done in the name of “meritocracy” and “cultural fit.” You can call it cultural fit, but it’s not. It’s lazy interviewing. It’s bias against anyone who doesn’t look like us, sound like us, or is us, whomever us is. It creates an insular culture. It’s a shame, because for any challenging product and knowledge work, you need diverse teams and diverse ideas to work together, to collaborate to create a great product. I’ve said it, in Great People Create Great Products. Anita Wooley says you need women in Defend Your Research: What Makes a Team Smarter? More Women. If you read Diversity and Innovativeness in New Product Development Teams: Diversity can be a resource that helps to strengthen the innovativeness of a NPD team. On the other hand , diversity can act as a risk that leads to diminished team cohesiveness and thus obstructs innovativeness. I didn’t say it was easy. Here’s the problem: if you are creating a product for the marketplace, where the people don’t all look like you, you need to understand your market. You need to understand how those people think, how they use the product, and what they might want to buy. If...

Pragmatic Manager Posted: Time for a Decision

I published another Pragmatic Manager this week, Time for a Decision. It’s about program management decisions, and collaborating across the organization. Do you receive my Pragmatic Manager emails? If you think you are on my list, but are not receiving my emails, let me know. Some of you long-time subscribers are not receiving my emails because of your hosts. I am working on that. Some of you don’t subscribe yet. You can subscribe. I write something valuable at least once a month. I post the newsletter on my site when I get around to it, later. I hope you enjoy this newsletter. If you don’t already subscribe, I hope you decide to sign...