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  • The Right Phrase at the Right Time: Priceless

    Saying the right thing at the right time can transform an interaction. But it's difficult! In a recent StickyMinds article, Michele Sliger suggested a handful of phrases to help keep the conversation going in the right direction.

  • Selling Your Good Ideas

    In this month's edition of StickyMinds, communications consultant Naomi Karten has written a short article "Developing Sales Savvy" which may help your new ideas reach the ear of a resistant colleague. She notes that, while sometimes you just get lucky, there are other times when *how* you sell can be as critical to your success as what you sell.

  • Agile Coach = Agile Secret Police?

    Software engineer Paul Tyma, in a recent blog entry, tells us "I don't get this new craze of a job called 'Agile Coach'. I mean, everything I've read about Agile and XP seems dead simple." Though not a proponent of Agile, Tyma has done XP, so perhaps there's a basis for his view that an Agile Coach is not so much a 'coach' as "a hall monitor or a secret police officer."

  • Book Excerpt: Agile Retrospectives

    InfoQ brings you an exclusive chapter excerpt from the recent book "Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great", by Esther Derby and Diana Larsen. These expert facilitators show how teams can run focused, helpful retrospectives themselves, without an outside facilitator. We asked the authors a few questions about the making of their book.

  • Throwing the Keyboard is Not the Answer

    Conflict is inevitable at work. Sooner or later, you will disagree about what to test, when to test, or how long to test software. How you approach the conflict affects the outcome and, more lastingly, how you feel about the exchange. On StickMinds last week, Esther Derby looked at some of the ways we approach conflict and how they affect solutions - and relationships.

  • Studies Concur, Small Teams Are Best

    Knowledge@Wharton asks: Is Your Team Too Big? Too Small? What's the Right Number? Decades of research suggest the sweetspot may be between 4 and 6, though corrections to team size are unlikely to resolve all of a team's problems.

  • InfoQ Book Review: Collaboration Explained

    David Spann introduces Jean Tabaka's book: "Collaboration Explained" in which she shares stories and facilitation techniques to make groups more effective, and provides templates to get them started.

  • An Experiment in Clear Communication

    Rather than keeping customers and developers apart (to avoid "misunderstandings"), Agilists intentionally bring them together. Communication tends to improve faster than one might expect, and soon everyone is interacting constructively. But in a team or between teams, there is always room for improvement: Cory Foy blogged what happened when he tried a new idea in "The Dreyfus Model Experiment".

  • Health Check: Has Your Team Got Rhythm?

    Agile work keeps things simple by putting in place some basic patterns. Sometimes, when problems arise within the process, complex solutions can be averted by simply re-establishing a rhythm in the cycle of releases, iterations, days, stories/features. Agile Journal, in their Metrics edition, published three articles which mention the importance of rhythm as a diagnostic.

  • A More Holistic View of Organizational Change

    Change in the workplace affects more than just our nine-to-five lives. We sometimes feel it at a very deep level, and it's a good bet we'll take that stress home. On the Future Of Work blog, Charlie Grantham has proposed that we lose valuable opportunities to facilitate change when we ignore the deeply personal, or spiritual, aspects of workplace change.

  • Sowing Organic Change

    Kevin Rutherford blogged recently on fostering change, rather than imposing it, this latter strategy being more likely to backfire. He's provided three tools useful to get the ball rolling and keep it moving.

  • Keep those Stand Up Meetings Short and Sweet

    Keeping the daily Scrum, or standup meeting, short is a challenge. Many of us are familiar with the "Talking Stick" used by some indigenous peoples to run run well organized tribal meetings. It's an elegantly simple way to keep a group focused and respectful. Kane Mar, a west coast XP coach has blogged about how a number of teams have adapted this idea. But seriously - using a Pig?!

  • "If you can't say something nice..."

    David Anderson reflected recently on one simple tool for building trust in the workplace. What a difference a few words can make.