The core of Agile is all about communication. Its routines and rituals encourage teams to communicate and plan as well as tackling their issues and problems as they share lessons from their achievements and failures. Our physical environment, communication culture and our attitude to multitasking and distractions are less obvious levers which can have a profound impact on our teams and how effective they can be.
In my mind the whole Agile movement is really just one part of answering our key question, how do we build great software that delivers real value ? I think the answer boils down to creating the right team, process and environment; this requires four things.
“Be obsessive about only hiring the best talent” – Me
Motivate them through “Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose” – Dan Pink
Recognise that “Culture eats strategy for breakfast” – Peter Drucker
Now we come to core of my topic, something two of my heroes have been talking about since they wrote Peopleware in 1987:
Have the “Correct environment, method, and structure” – Tom DeMarco and Tim Lister
Agile is all about communication; routines and rituals which encourage teams to communicate, tackling issues and problems as well as sharing and learning from success. Our communication culture, physical environment and attitude to multitasking and distractions are less obvious levers which can have a profound impact on our teams and how effective they can be. I often have this quote from Deming rattling around in my head as I look at problems at work.
“95% of the performance of any organisation is attributable to the system and only 5% the individual”
So over the next few posts I’m going to look at three key parts of our ‘system’.
Jan Banning has captured these wonderful photographs of Government Officials in their office around the world. Take a look at them and then stop for a minute. Imagine your ideal office … what would it look like ?
There is more to software productivity than just removing distractions. Communication is equally as important. A developer may be in the zone and writing perfect code, but if they are writing the wrong code because they are isolated then we haven’t done anything to help productivity have we ?
Our instinctive behaviours remind us that our brain rejects distraction. For instance, to really zero in on a faint sound in the distance we instinctively stop moving, shut our eyes, and focus entirely on listening carefully. Your brain does not multitask when it’s time to really pay attention.
Stay tuned for some ideas and answers.