As any good manager knows, a team infused with a strong sense of responsibility will produce a higher quality outcome. Instilling ownership across a team is more an art than a science. It is a transformation that requires a deliberate communication style, some leadership savvy, delicate execution, and patience.(more…) Read More
For too many people, the concepts of “acting as a responsible CIO” and “taking risks” are mutually exclusive. A Traditional CIO is accustomed to a world where if nothing breaks, their job is safe. If they don’t touch anything, they can’t break anything. In this paradigm, taking risks is unwise.
In my opinion, rampant risk avoidance is the reason CIOs now lose their jobs at the second highest rate among the C-suite. Inaction—or maintaining the status quo—carries a much greater threat to the CIO (and the organization) than does taking an active stance and assuming the associated risks. In the digital age, where IT is the business, being CIO is like playing quarterback: if you stay in the pocket long enough, you will get sacked. You have to make a move.Read More
In work, as in life, we can’t succeed on our own. In fact, the cornerstone of execution, change, and success in any organization is not a single person, but rather teams of people who work together to make things happen.
But why is it that some teams knock it out of the park while others struggle? The secret lies with organizational leadership and management—are you giving your teams what they need to succeed?Read More
Trust is the grease that keeps a team running smoothly. One of the most effective and low-cost ways to improve the delivery, performance, and morale is to gain the team’s trust. As a Scrum Master, it’s your responsibility to build trust with your team. A team that trusts their Scrum Master has an advantage over others. Broadly speaking, teams perform better when they feel they’re in good hands.
Scrum Masters can seem like outsiders, as you tend to interact with the team, not with their work. The dynamic is exacerbated during Agile transformations: Scrum Masters who are brought in to work with a team that is used to a waterfall approach can struggle to gain the team’s trust.
Here are 5 ways to connect with your team, and demonstrate that you are here to help and support them:Read More
When hiring new team members, most interviewers discreetly study applicants to see if they would pass The Airport Test: “Could I get stuck in an airport for 8 hours with this person and not lose my mind?!” We recently took this idea to an entirely new level.Read More
Managing an IT project often requires working with resources across other teams—not just those fully allocated to your initiative. Supporting resources and teams can be important to the success of your project. (Ideally, all the resources you need are fully dedicated to your project. In reality, this isn’t always possible.)
How do you ensure your team can deliver results if you’re dependent on these partially allocated supporting teams?Read More
Rhode Island-based Amica Insurance provides auto, home and life insurance nationwide and employs more than 3,800 people in 44 offices across the U.S.
Amica was looking to upgrade its web and mobile applications. To reach its goal, the IT team established a digital program and decided to pilot an Agile SDLC framework for rapid and iterative delivery of customer value.
The Agile implementation worked for Amica because the organization from top to bottom accepted a bit of discomfort in the short-term to give the change effort a chance. Management agreed to support decisions made on the front line. Product owners, SMEs, and developers were game to try new approaches and grew professionally. In return, they achieved a level of productivity and speed they had not seen before. Here’s how we helped.Read More
When executives don’t see the outcomes they expect from a technology, they often bring in external help to assess the situation and propose a get-well plan. We have all been a part of those meetings where someone says: Enough is enough! We keep discussing the same issues over and over, but the answer is not in this room. Let’s ask someone outside of this room for an independent opinion.
Often, it’s a management consultant who gets the call for help. But, for most IT issues, executives also need to talk to software developers for their advice and perspective.Read More
Your company is moving to Agile from waterfall, and you want to ensure a smooth transformation that keeps projects healthy. As a scrum master working to transform a traditional waterfall SDLC process into an Agile one, I have learned a few pointers when navigating this transformation. An important concept to keep in mind during this transformation is empowerment.
One of Agile’s core tenets is the value of “individuals and interactions” over “processes and tools”. The idea is to foster a high-velocity decision making process, which hinges on open and honest communication in a co-located environment. However, implementing this change can be very difficult for team members who have previously worked on waterfall projects. You may find employees reluctant to volunteer for work, or hesitant to take on new challenges. Why is this so?Read More
Part 5 in our 5-part Managing Needy Team Members series.
As project managers, we often run into team members that require a great deal of attention. In an opening post for this series, we discussed a general approach to dealing with resources that need TLC. This post offers techniques for managing superstars, who are often in need of TLC but it is not as apparent.Read More