Even though technology projects require close collaboration and creativity to solve problems, there remains a strong tendency to apply industrial management techniques and work as individuals. The cost of these behaviors is not as clear as it can be in other fields, but the magnitudes can be devastating. If we really want to improve the way we develop technical solutions, we need to start by understanding the team itself – what each person bring to the table. The context of skills, cultures, and attitudes of all the people involved plays a critical role in determining which approach will be most effective, and indeed how we should deploy changes to our approach within the team.
While emphasis is generally placed on adoption of the hard skills such as new tools, techniques or methodologies, this personal and team context dramatically influences the overall results, and should be consciously managed.
After briefly describing the pitfalls of typical approaches to improvement, this presentation presents a sequence to follow for effective team change. Specific practices for consciously building technical teams are illustrated with case studies and anecdotes where soft-skills effectively solved difficult team issues. The need for effective follow through for change is discussed, and the authorâ€™s actual data from teams illustrates the need to think of what we generally call â€˜best practicesâ€™ more as tools for effective collaboration among the team.
Jim Brosseau has a career spanning more than 20 years in a variety of roles and responsibilities. He has held successively more responsible positions in military and defense contracting, commercial software development, and training and consulting. He has worked in a QA role, acted as team lead, project manager, and director. In addition, Jim has worked with more than 80 organizations in the past 10 years with a goal of increasing collaborative effectiveness. An integral part of this effort has been a focus on techniques for measurement of productivity gains and ROI for refined development and management practices. His first book, Software Teamwork: Taking Ownership for Success, was published in 2007 by Addison-Wesley Professional.
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