Tag Archives: Communication

Who Decides What Done Means for a Program?

2012 Johanna Rothman When I start working with new-to-agile teams, one of the first things we do is to discuss what done means. Chances are good they have not discussed what done means before. The developers dont agree with each … Continue reading

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Why Not Ask Why?

2011 Don Gray It all started with a tweet I posted: “Why” questions trigger feelings bypassing data input and thinking. #dontdothat As this got retweeted, interesting questions started coming my way: What about the Five Whys? Do you have data? … Continue reading

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Self-Facilitation Skills for Teams

(c) 2004-2010 Esther Derby Self-organizing teams don’t just organize the technical work. They make technical (and non-technical) decisions. Not every situation requires facilitation, but when a team faces an important decision, applying facilitation skills to the problem saves time and … Continue reading

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Skills for Software Smoke Jumpers

©2007 Don Gray Do you know about smokejumpers? They’re brave, self-sufficient firefighters who parachute into remote areas wearing eighty pounds of gear and ready to fight a forest fire. If the jump goes well, they land safely. After extinguishing the … Continue reading

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Framing Your Thoughts for Management

©2009 Steven M. Smith, www.stevenMsmith.com You have what you believe is an important thought to share with management. You’re concerned though that management may dislike what they hear. How do you assess how safe it is to share your thought … Continue reading

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Coaching Whiners

Ban whining. It’s destructive communication inside organizations. Read this story about how a manager coached an employee to transform a whine into a complaint with recommendation. Continue reading

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Temperature Reading

©2009 Steven M. Smith, www.stevenMsmith.com Virginia Satir developed this method for discovering a group’s temperature — what we in technology often call the system’s state. A facilitator leads the discovery. He or she keeps the group focused on each agenda … Continue reading

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The Virtual Cyber Cudgel

by Gerald M. Weinberg In 1977, Tom Gilb and I published a book called Humanized Input: Techniques for Reliable Keyed Input. We hoped to improve the pitiful state of input design for computer systems, and ten years later, we imagined … Continue reading

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Drawing Out the Facts: The Art of the Discovery Interview

(c)2007 Steven M. Smith “What?” raced through Janet’s head as she read the email. “Now that’s a surprise.” The message was from Jack Johnson, vice president of development. It said she would receive a meeting request from Rajan Alak, an … Continue reading

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Catch Them Doing It Right

(c)2008 Steven M. Smith A smile formed on Eleanor’s face as she saw me approach her doorway. She and I were meeting to discuss her views on recognizing and rewarding employees. She had been my manager for three years when … Continue reading

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Communicating Up

© 2004 Esther Derby This column originally appeared on Stickyminds.com Imagine this scene – you’ve just gotten back from lunch and you’re checking your email. The first email you open is from the VP: Effective immediately, starting with the release … Continue reading

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Communicate Early and Often

©2002 Naomi Karten, www.nkarten.com Have you ever had an experience where you gave your all for your customers and still they were unhappy? One possible reason for their reaction is that you implemented a major change without preparing them for … Continue reading

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Bi-Quinary Search

© Gerald M. Weinberg, 2004 www.geraldmweinberg.com “1,073,741,823 lines of correct code, but one unknown bug is going to send us into that Sun.” “Do not panic.” Peri said, using Calming Voice. “We have adequate time to find it.” “Peri is … Continue reading

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Beyond Blaming

© 1996 Jean McLendon and Gerald M. Weinberg, www.satir.org and www.geraldmweinberg.com “England, though at present enjoying a very high state of prosperity, still shows some symptoms of a decaying nation. Propose to an Englishman any principle, or any instrument, however … Continue reading

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The Liar’s Contest

In this game, the only way to win is to stop playing. (c)2004, 2005 Don Gray and Gerald M. Weinberg It may look like a crisis, but it’s only the end of an illusion. – Rhonda’s First Revelation The Setup … Continue reading

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Lullaby Language

©2004, Gerald M. Weinberg, www.geraldmweinberg.com Late one summer, I was called in to help an IT client learn to work better with their customers. I don’t ordinarily travel in the summer, but this sounded like a real emergency, one where … Continue reading

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Reasons

©2001 Gerald M. Weinberg, www.geraldmweinberg.com [Note: In September, 2000, at the SEI’s Software Engineering Symposium in Washington D. C., Jerry was the recipient of the 2000 Stevens Award. The award recipient is recognized for outstanding contributions to the literature or … Continue reading

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Seeing the Other Person’s Big Picture

©2000 Gerald M. Weinberg, www.geraldmweinberg.com You’re entering a new situation, and you’re ready to gather the Big Picture of the other people involved. Whatever you do, don’t try the following process without first getting a Big Picture of yourself, as … Continue reading

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Seeing Your Own Big Picture

©2000 Gerald M. Weinberg, www.geraldmweinberg.com The editor of Contract Professional chose the name for my column there, “The Big Picture.” He told me he chose the name “because you (Jerry) look at the business of contracting and consulting and the … Continue reading

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Treaties to Deal with Communication and Conflict

©2002 Gerald M. Weinberg, www.geraldmweinberg.com On a typical day, I get 100-200 email messages, and some of my clients in large projects receive even more. Though emails improve my ability to communicate clearly and quickly, they may also prove a … Continue reading

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The Big Picture: Four Different Ways of Participating

©1999 Gerald M. Weinberg External consultants are seldom sent to classes by their customers, but often pay for their ownprofessional development. As such,they’re eager to get full value for their time and tuition. Moreover, external consultants often find themselves as … Continue reading

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Yielding to Pressure

©2005 Gerald M. Weinberg In a previous article, I wrote about the usefulness of treaties between technical teams, but I didn’t give much detail about the actual negotiation process that goes into making a successful treaty. To learn about such … Continue reading

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Waiting For People Who Arrive Late

©2007 Steven M Smith What does it say about the participants of a weekly meeting when the meeting consistently starts 5-10 minutes behind schedule? Answer, the participants are cooperating with each other to start late. Starting late is the status … Continue reading

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Tell Him?

©2006 Steven M Smith It’s ironic that the Baseball Writers Association of America named Joe Girardi the National League’s 2006 Manager of the Year. Giardi was recently fired by the Florida Marlins despite managing a young, low-rated team into contention. … Continue reading

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Communication Disconnects

©2007 Don Gray “Why doesn’t my manager listen when I explain the details?” “Why doesn’t the developer just give me what I ask for?” If you’ve ever heard these complaints-or made them-you’re not alone. Questions like these are a symptom … Continue reading

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Safety Margin

©2005 Steven M Smith Jake tossed and turned. He looked at the bedside clock. 3 AM. “I need sleep,” he thought to himself. But sleep would not come. Only worry about tomorrow’s meeting. Edmund, Jake’s manager’s manager, enjoyed probing managers … Continue reading

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Communication Gaps

©2003 Don Gray, www.donaldegray.com I just got off the phone with Joel. We worked a project 12 years ago where he was the client’s technical rep, and I supplied some specialty software to his company. As we renewed acquaintances, he … Continue reading

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Safety Check

©2005 Steven M Smith He is wearing his traditional garb — dark suit, white button down shirt, red tie, and black tasseled shoes. The glare off his wire rimmed glasses makes it difficult to see those steely blue eyes. Harry … Continue reading

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Rethinking Stand-Up Meetings, Part 2

©2007 Steven M Smith I argued in my first article about stand-up meetings that the right participants were the key to a successful meeting rather than whether the participants were standing up or sitting down. Despite my dislike for forcing … Continue reading

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Rethinking Stand-Up Meetings

©2007 Steven M Smith Stand up meetings are popular in software development organizations now. What makes a stand-up meeting more effective than a traditional meeting to socialize status information? Nothing. The effectiveness of a stand-up meeting, like the traditional status … Continue reading

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The Dismal Theorems of Contract Negotiation

©1999 Gerald M. Weinberg My friend Brad, a Los Angeles cop, mentioned that he regularly sold traffic tickets. “But it’s not what you think,” Brad smiled. “I work at night and go to school during the day. If I have … Continue reading

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Don’t Tell Doreen

©2005 Steven M Smith Jarrett, Doreen and I were on the verge of a closing a big sale. We had crafted the Statement of Work (SOW) for two weeks and had finally reached the point where it satisfied both the … Continue reading

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Getting Some Good Out Of Bad Interviewing

©2007 Jerry Weinberg Contract professionals, on the average, change jobs more often than employees, so they are involved in lots of interviews. One of our SHAPE forum threads was started by Pat Ferdinandi, an independent consultant, who complained: “I am … Continue reading

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Decide As a Team

©2007 Steven M Smith Do some members of your team make agreements during meetings but fail to support them afterwards?If this behavior is happening, I suspect your team is using an obscure process to make decisions. Identifying Obscure Process An … Continue reading

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