Although it's widely accepted that diversity leads to innovation and performance, visible leadership in the IT community often doesn't represent the diversity of the community itself. What can be done to increase diversity in the leadership of our high-tech communities? One suggestion is to actively help a more diverse group to get their talks accepted at conferences.
High-performance teams constitute a mere 2% of the workforce, but Agile processes appear to stimulate the formation of these types of teams. This article discusses Steve Denning's perspective on how such teams can be nurtured in the workplace; it also looks at a recent talk by Ominlab Media's Stefan Gillard on how to select and employ for the formation of high-performance teams.
The Extreme Programming Yahoo Group has been discussing the pros and cons of low tech information radiators, such as task boards, compared to high tech tools. The original poster preferred a physical task board to a spreadsheet, but found himself unable to explain why to his boss. The ensuing discussion uncovered a variety of reasons to choose simple physical means of reporting information.
Apache Tribes, a Tomcat 6 module, supports group communication in the server cluster. Filip Hanik talked about the challenges in heterogeneous clusters and how Tribes helps with group communication requirements of Tomcat clusters. He did a presentation at SpringOne Americas conference about Tribes messaging framework.
Recently there has been an active discussion in the Scrum Development Yahoo Group about handling an "under-performing" team member. In the 130+ response thread, "Rotten apple in Scrum team", talk ranged from advice for the primary question, to talk of team morale and who manages it, to the classic debate of measuring individuals, to distinguishing whether a team is really a "team", and more.
In this interview made by InfoQ's Greg Young, Steven "Doc" List talks about Open Space conferences, a way of running meetings of groups of various sizes by facilitating self organizing the sessions.
In this interview filmed during Agile 2008, following the presentation "Who Do You Trust?", Linda Rising shows how prejudices can affect the relationships between team members. According to Linda, we all have a tendency to categorize others based on characteristics like race, religion, sex, but also based on more trivial characteristics, and many times we are not even aware we are doing it.
Talk about agile can often tend toward the tangible things that people do day-to-day, toward the "process of agile", but true agility is really less about process and more about principle. Travis Birch presents his perspective about some of these more intangible aspects of agile, namely "truthfulness".
During Agile 2008, Dr. Linda Rising held a presentation centered on experiments conducted many years ago, presenting how deep, powerfully affecting, and difficult to avoid are human “prejudices” and “stereotypes” as seen from the perspective of psychology and cognitive science. The article, written by Tsutomu Yasui, is a summary of that presentation.
A Scrum team has no designated leader; the team is expected to self-organize. Similarly, one of the world's most renowned orchestras has dispensed entirely with the role of conductor in favor of a process where leadership is shared and decisions are made by the team. Along the way, they have learned lessons and ways of working together that any Scrum team can benefit from.
XP might not be for everyone. An interesting discussion on the Extreme Programming group, tries to find the factors, on which, an individual should be evaluated, to determine, whether he is fit to be on an XP team.
Declan Whelan wrote a thought-provoking blog citing an idea he learned from Mishkin Berteig about an (unspoken) principle behind successful Agile teams: truthfulness. The idea is simple: without individuals being honest and open, most agile practices will not work.
On Agile teams there is a definite possibility of having a team member who is not a good fit. Members of the Agile community discuss the reasons and possible ways of voting someone off the island.
An Agile team is mostly a cross functional team comprising of generalists and specialists. Jurgen Appelo, challenges this concept and suggests that having just specialists on an Agile team adds more value. The post tries to correlate various view points on team composition by other members of the Agile community.
Joseph Pelrine has come full circle: from university studies in Psychology, journeying through SmallTalk, XP and Scrum, and now back to broader questions: Why and how does Agile work? In this interview, Joseph talked about Complexity Science, and how story-telling, "sense-making," network analysis and speed-dating's gut-feel approach may prove more useful than our old toolkits for managing teams.