Working in an agile team can sometimes be stressful, when the needs of the customers are unclear, if there is a lot of work to be done, or when team members are having difficulties doing their work. You might ask the question if having fun could reduce the feelings of stress, increase motivation, or increase productivity? And if that is true, then what can you do to have more fun in agile teams?
Mobile Backend as a Service provider AnyPresence continues to hone their chops. Launching the fifth update to their self-titled platform geared for the enterprise. Co-founder Rich Mendis provides some insights for InfoQ readers…
Agile retrospectives are used by teams to improve their performance, by reflecting on the way of working and defining improvement actions. But retrospectives can also be used for personal improvement, additional to or as a replacement of performance appraisals. Such retrospectives can be done as a one-on-one by a manager and an employee, individually by an employee, or in a team.
The way that agile teams and organizations take decisions impacts the value that they can get from agile ways of working. To become agile, it can help to learn different decision making techniques, and pick the one which is most suitable for a situation.
Guillaume Duquesnay uses his experience with games and roleplaying in his work as an agile coach. At the Agile Tour Brussels he talked about leadership, facilitation and management styles where no authority was involved. InfoQ interviewed Guillaume on his coaching, facilitation and leadership skills, and asked him if playing games gives happiness and fun to people, and make them more productive?
At the Agile Tour Brussels conference, Luc Taesch facilitated a workshop about understanding and listening. He applied "cognitive science" or "neuroscience" for IT Professionals, and provided solutions to help them dealing with interrupting thoughts and feelings.
Teams sometimes consider to skip a retrospective meeting, when they feel time pressure, or do not see direct benefits of doing one. Next they question themselves if they have to keep doing retrospectives? Agile retrospectives help teams to learn and improve continuously, and there are valid reasons to keep doing them also with mature teams.
When enterprises implement agile ways of working, questions can arise if changes are needed in the way performance appraisals are being done? Several authors have suggestions on how you can use feedback next or as a replacement for existing appraisal processes, to improve the performance of individuals and teams.
To stay competitive, enterprises look for ways to do innovation inside their organization. A first step can be to make time available which people can use to think about new products and services and discuss ideas and develop concepts, for instance with a dedicated “full-time” innovation team, by arranging frequent innovation time-slots, or by organizing short and intense innovation workshops.
The principle of “responding to change over following a plan”, is it a strength or a flexibility that can’t work in practice? For example, what about agile projects that had difficulties managing changes and customers who expect too much flexibility? Can agile not live up to its promises, or is it the way that teams and organizations have adopted agile that is causing the problems?
Retrospectives are often considered to be a valuable agile technique, but sometimes teams have difficulties doing them: insufficient control of things, thinking that they can’t improve, difficulties defining good actions, or much complaining. Teams may find retrospectives boring, and a waste of their time. How to deal with this, and help teams to discover better ways to do retrospectives?
Collaboration between developers and testers is often considered important in cross functional agile teams to become successful. There is also a benefit of having independence for testers, so that they can report about the quality of the software without fear. How can you balance testers independence with collaboration in agile teams?
Martin Fowler talked about software development in the 21st century, discussing agile essence and how teams adopt agile. He presented at the GOTO Amsterdam 2013 conference how teams can increase their agile fluency, from a first star level up to four stars.
The first day of DevOps Days Amsterdam had its focus split between continuous delivery and promoting a DevOps culture. Talks focused on how to automate the deployment pipeline but also system recovery in case of failure. On the culture side leveraging distinct personality types to successfully introduce changes and the positive impact of strong company culture on hiring were some of the takeaways.
Inspired by the photo “Melly Shum hates her job”, Jurgen Appelo, Maarten Volders and Vasco Duarto initiated Happy Melly with the purpose to help people to become happy workers and live better lives. The Happy Melly business has now taken off to help organizations to survive in changing environments, with happy workers that are motivated to engage and contribute.