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Category: General Musings

Community Influence when Building a Habit

December 23, 2020
together-we-create
Trying to build or change habits is challenging work. There's a reason that many books have been written about the topic. One thing that cannot be overestimated in value is the impact a community can have in this process. Finding a community of like minded individuals can help overcome the initial inertia of habit formation as well as sustain momentum. They are there to celebrate victories together and hear through the struggles. Engaged communities can check in with you in earnest to see how you are progressing towards your goals. Lately I have been rediscovering my passion for writing and attribute overcoming the initial friction to a group of friends. They were already writing frequently and sharing their content in a group chat. I'd…
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High Notification Rates and Psychological Safety: Decreasing the Learning Curve

December 22, 2020
vintage-telephones
Last week my colleague, Mike Crittenden, wrote a post on how good teams are noisy. In it he discusses the concept of successful teams having high notification rates and tangible benefits he has observed. Interestingly enough, last week also brought a tangible example of how high notification rates and psychological safety can help reduce the learning curve. What are Notifications? On July 10, 1989 United Airlines flight 232 experienced a catastrophic engine failure at altitude disabling the pilots' ability to control the plane. In conjunction with a pilot trainer who was seated in first class, the two pilots were able to conduct an emergency crash landing with 185 survivors. Conversely, in each of the National Transportation Safety Board 2…
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What Mistakes did you Make This Sprint?

December 11, 2020
together-painting
It's time for the Sprint Retrospective and people are submitting their thoughts on what went well and what to improve. As the team submits their ideas, the what to improve column remains minimal if populated at all. Are things going so well that there is nothing to improve? This seems statistically unlikely; how can we seek a more balanced retrospective? Before we can do anything we should first examine if the group has a shared sense of psychological safety. This is the foundation for healthy discussions within the group. Without it, the group is unlikely to engage in sharing obstacles to overcome for fear of retribution or appearing incompetent. A tell-tale sign that the group lacks psychological safety is if people are afraid to say they…
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Empower Teams with Sprint Goals

November 25, 2020
bullet-journal-planning
The Sprint Goal is a core tenet in Scrum, an agile development framework. According to the Scrum Guide, the sprint goal is the “single objective for the sprint....The Sprint Goal also creates coherence and focus, encouraging the Scrum Team to work together rather than on separate initiatives.” It is an artifact of the Sprint planning session and empowers the development team to prioritize and focus work. Recently I had the pleasure of working on a project that embraced the creation of Sprint Goals for each sprint and experienced first hand the focus and empowerment they provide. Inevitably there is the sprint where some tickets take longer or other tickets are created mid-stream to help achieve the Sprint Goal. When these occur, the Sprint…
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You Can't Have Empathy without Active Listening

December 15, 2020
watch-listen-reflect-bench
Dr Carl Marci explored how people connect in active listening relationships. His research indicated empathically displaying understanding in relationships is key to creating connections and increasing the perceived closeness between individuals. Marci says, "It’s very hard to be empathic when you’re talking. Talking is really complicated, because you’re thinking and planning what you’re going to say, and you tend to get stuck in your own head. But not when you’re listening. When you’re really listening, you lose time. There’s no sense of yourself, because it’s not about you. It’s all about this task—to connect completely to that person." It's easy to get sucked into the cycle of making our thoughts known. Many meetings expose this pattern…
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