Showing posts with label team building. Show all posts
Showing posts with label team building. Show all posts

Top 3 Books for 2016

If you have been with me reading the blog or checking tweets and watching the occasional pop ups in Instagram, you will know that I read for work and pleasure. This year has seen me get back to it more than the last two years. 

So, if you like to red or looking for a last minute gift idea, you can check out these 3 books which I think have had the most impact on me. 

·    The 193 pg book focuses on the benefits of maintaining a checklist through various industries. 
·      A surgeon from NY, the book The Checklist is not about just to do lists. It’s a brief list that helps critical decision making in sensitive situations like the operating room by saving lives or during investment decisions or in aeronautical situation (mid air crisis).
The reason I liked the book is because:
§  It’s a simple idea that’s so well researched that it makes you think that we should all implement more checklists in our work places and homes to save ourselves from complications.
§  He talks about how the checklist that was created in John Hopkins hospital that raised a possibility that people talking to each other  a minute before starting the operation was a strategy to foster team work which lead to higher success rates. 
§  It made me think that the basics of any project management should be about certain checklist like its focused a lot in Agile with the ceremonies and DOD (definition of done) and exit criteria’s all set to actually ensure that everything is in its place and chances to miss it is reduced thereby ensuring the quality of the potentially shippable product.
§  It’s a book that will make you think and has take away's that you can actually implement in your work. It also provides you with enough case studies that will allow you to make a strong case with the right set of data that you will need to get buy in from your team or management to get the checklists implemented. 

If you need an awakening of your mind and soul, if you want to grow more, need a way to organize your thoughts and dreams, want to be happier....this is what you should be reading. It shook me up literally. ·It’s a must read and will be my staple on the bedside table for the next few month definitely.          

  • 223 pages excluding the glossary and others, this book will help you understand your expectation from life and how to get them. Book talks a lot about the realities that the author faced as he tried to build his own business that thrives successfully now.
  • He gives example from his own life and multitude of other people like Dalai Lama, Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington and Tony Robbins on how they look at success.
  • My favorite in the book is chapter 5- where he talks about the structure that’s split into 8 sets of qualities that we need from life and for me thinking the way he has laid it down was life changing. I really knew the actions I had to take to grow more personally and professionally.
  • This is a book that helps you look inside you, fix it... so you can fulfill your dreams outside.

·         This was an impulsive buy in airport because I was looking to read something while I was on vacation for my son’s 2 birthday this August. I don’t think I have ever thought of sleep so much in my life till I started reading this book. I will be honest, I am not much of a sleeper, I like to stay awake more than I like sleeping. I have in the recent years also been very sleep deprived; I call it the Rio Effect. The book surprised me with the health benefits and the link to better decision making and yes now that I try to sleep more I do see the payback myself.  

  • ·We all know sleeps important, but the author breaks the modern myth of going sleepless and how cool it is especially for youngsters and showing why and how it’s important to achieve our goals.
  • It talks about medications, health issues, and extra cost to government dealing with health crisis that can all be reduced just by sleeping.
  •  It also talks about how from Warren Buffet to Satya Nadella all emphasize about sleeping and its bond to good decision making and the effectiveness and efficiency.
  • If you like informative and well researched book like I do and the topic is something you can relate to- it’s a good read.
For me I can connect the dots of the take away of the 3 books- I think resting the mind to work and function better in a structured way through checklists will make me happier and give me better value for the time invested in doing it. And happiness will ensure I work through my challenges better and have the capacity to fulfill the dreams.

Pic courtesy: Google and Soma Bhattacharya
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Scrum Team has stabilized- what next?

Mar 31, 2014 | | 1 comments |
Most transformations start with the basic idea of either getting teams to start working in Agile or streamlining their existence process.

At a certain point, teams stabilize, velocity improves, quality soars and things look up.

Is the goal to repeat the same cycle day after day or is there more to work through once the team stabilizes? I have always though that the trying to get teams working in Agile is more like a bicycle- if you stop pedaling, it stops.

Here are 5 things to consider as next steps to keep the team going:
  • Baseline velocity- Always know your baseline velocity, when you started and ways you can work on it.
  • Focus factor- when the team stabilizes, it’s a good idea to know if the team has the right focus. Its velocity/work capacity. For more info read Jeff Sutherlands article here .  
  • Failure trends and patterns- The commitment made by the team always doesn't match the outcome. Looking into why stories fail and trying to identify a pattern might lead the team to understand the underlying problem. It could be user stories that require infrastructure, it can be kind of stories that haven’t been worked on, it can be a story requiring a new technology.  Once you have identified the pattern, it becomes quite easy to find a resolution.
  • Estimations- If in every sprint more than 20 percent of stories remain not done, along with other factors you might want to have a look at the way estimation is being done by the team. Some teams commit more by underestimating stories in trying to please the management and keeping to the team’s velocity. Of course by the end of the sprint teams fail to deliver. There are more managers and Product Owners who always push the team to commit more, so they have enough work on hand ever sprint fearing lesser work meaning team members might be free most of the time. Bottom-line, under estimating doesn’t help as much as over estimating doesn't.
  • Linking and tracking the layers- Stop looking only at team levels and start looking at the bigger picture, look into the your program and portfolio management and how it  is coming down to the team. Look into the quality of the user stories and how everything is affecting the team.
(Pic Courtesy: Google Images)

To learn about how to get into project management read my book Stepping into Project Management (Welcome to the #PMOT World). To connect with experienced Project Manager's from all over the world, get mentored or shadow for a day see the SIPM Community.

How should teams be build?

When an actor comes to me and wants to discuss his character, I say, “It’s in the script.” If he says, “But what’s my motivation?” I say, “Your salary.”
                                                 —Alfred Hitchcock, filmmaker (1899–1980)

Jim Collins talks about getting the right people in the bus in his book “Good to Great”. And we all agree- but how do you decide who are the right people?

Hiring happens based on the core competency, but when you put them as part of the team, how do you know they will work out?

Does team dynamics matter to you or your organization? Do you think it changes the quality of delivery?

The common failings for any team at organization level usually comes down to:
·       Develop empowered people working together to serve the best interests of the organization, and
·       Create an environment in which every employee contributes all of their talents and skills to the success of organizational goals.

To ensure we get individual players be and feel part of the team- is there a way to create teams at the first place differently? Like do you think, if teams are created based on their compatibility or interest, they will perform better OR do you feel any team if mentored and trained in team/organization culture will perform at their highest level?

To think about creating the right team, I think we should first think why teams fail at the first place? Why do teams not perform the way they should be? Is it a bad apple? Is it lack of proper management and setting the expectations? Is it freedom without no boundaries and when things go wrong, blame the team? Here are 20 mistakes that employers make.

Are we aligning people with their interest and what they want to do or do we just not hear what they have to say and push them into any role and any teams?

The hedgehog concept talks about looking into 3 aspects before putting the right people in the right role
By considering:
  • What are you passionate about?
  • What can you best in the world at?
  • What drives your economic engine?
This definitely brings out the best in individuals but how do we ensure the best is brought out at team levels also?  What if you got the right person in the right role and then had a bunch of laggards as team mates. Do you think we have set the right environment for him/her to grow and contribute to the best of ability?

How does your organization formulate teams? What do you fee is the right way to do it? 

(Pic Courtesy: Google Images)

The Broken Glass Theory: And What You Can Do About It

The Broken Glass Theory was introduced in 1982 by social scientists in Atlantic Monthly which says if there’s a broken window in a building, chances of breaking more glasses has a higher chance than in a building with no broken glasses. 
So as project managers, the goal is simple- fix things as soon as possible lest the rest of it gets broken too.
When you look from a team perspective, the goal is to ensure if you find something broken or out of order, address it immediately by having a one on one with the team member and seeing how you can help in the process.  The problem with not fixing the problem is that it will become a bigger problem when its gets too complicated to handle it and will create a furor in the team environment.

If you see the from organization culture point of view, not resolving or looking into the issues make it evident to the rest of the team that its okay to engage in these disruptive actions and management accepts it. This definitely send a wrong signal.

Address the trouble maker immediately and send the right message to your team, to ensure the process and work culture stays in place.

However, there is another research which shows that the Broken Glass Theory doesn’t work and the theory works because of dependencies because of some other action that took place.

Whether this reduces the crime rate or not (theory comes from criminal perspective), it definitely makes sense from the team handling. Leave a team with problems and it will only grow bigger and unmanageable.  

(Pic Courtesy: Google Images)

5 steps to be amazing at your job

Some people just are better than others and you know it!

Here are 5 ways to be amazing at whatever you do and show it too:Try to be content- Your first job might be to pay the bills, down the line find ways to look into what really makes you happy at work.

  •  Try to be content- Your first job might be to pay the bills, down the line find ways to look into what really makes you happy at work. Move into domains that you think are a better fit and then work on it. Content will come from your happiness at work . Turns out 41% of people think “the people” are most important factor as part of their happiness in job
  • Take genuine interest- You empower yourself by taking genuine interest in your work. Don’t restrict yourself only to your current role; look around how you can help the team, organization and take up the initiative. In the process you will learn, start thinking out of the box and be recognized for your interest.  And the morning routine sometimes helps too
  • Be good at what you do- To feel amazing, take the right steps when coming to work everyday. Come prepared, do your homework, get the facts right and be unbiased.  Try out some of these productivity secrets
  • Be social- Keeping your head down and getting the work done isn't always wise. By being social and building a good rapport with your team members and stakeholders, you make yourself visible and easy to work with. Here are 10 tips to be happy at work.  
  • Good communication- being clear about communicating the right things at the right time helps. A good communicator isn't just about being vocal, it is also abut developing your communication skills to the extent that you can customize it for different individuals. Every person has their preferred mode of communication and what convinces them (some stakeholders like data, some prefer bringing up similar case studies, some like formal presentations and report), use your knowledge about  a person to customize it for your communication plan.

Be inspired everyday and be happy. A happy project manager, makes  a happy team!

(Pic courtesy: Google images)

To learn about project management read my book Stepping into Project Management (Welcome to the #PMOT World). To connect with experienced Project Manager's from all over the world, get mentored or shadow for a day see the SIPM Community.

Team Building- Pt1

Have a team?  Have trouble communicating them. Feel you are always on the wrong side?

And you want to win them over?

Here are some theories:

Maslow’s Team Building Theory- his pyramid had 5 levels and you have to complete one to move on to the next. From the bottom:

  • Survival/basic needs
  • security/safety Needs
  • Social
  • Ego status/Esteem Needs
  • Self-actualization

So, identify your team members level, make them comfortable and let them move forward to the next.

Theory X and Theory Y-Developed by Douglas McGregor, he described 2 opposing views of style that will influence management style.

Theory X- is the tradional view of direction and style
Theory Y- a self directed workforce that takes an interest in the goals of their organisation and integrates some of their own goals into these.

Theory X assumes:
•The average person dislikes work and will avoid it unless directly supervised.
•Employees must be coerced, controlled and directed to ensure that organisational objectives are met.
•The threat of punishment must exist within an organisation.
•In fact people prefer to be managed in this way so that they avoid responsibility.
•Theory X assumes that people are relatively un-ambitious and their prime driving force is the desire for security.

Theory Y effectively takes the opposite view.

It assumes:
•Employees are ambitious, keen to accept greater responsibility and exercise both self-control and direction.
•Employees will, in the right conditions, work toward organisational objectives and that commitment will in itself be a reward for so doing.
•Employees will exercise their imagination and creativity in their jobs if given the chance and this will give an opportunity for greater productivity.
•Theory Y assumes that the average human being will, under the right conditions, not only accept responsibility but also seek more.
•Lack of ambition and the qualities of Theory X are not inherent human characteristics but learned in working environments that suffocate or do not promote Theory Y behaviours.

The color Works- Team Building Theory- The Colour Works uses a psychological model of behaviours that helps teams to understand similarities and differences in order to become more effective.

A 25-frame online evaluator measures our preferences for the use of all 4 colour energies.We will all have a dominant, a secondary, a tertiary and a least preferred energy.This detailed questionnaire is designed to measure these levels as it uses a sliding scale of responses rather than a simple YES or NO.The resulting profile is comprehensive - a minimum of 24 pages covering amongst other things strengths, weaknesses, stress points, blind spots, management style, preferred environment, communication needs, value to the team - often scarily insightful and unique to the profilee.

The order and intensity of your colour preferences places you on a 72-type wheel, made up of 8 archetypes, as follows:

Has the ability to focus on results. They decide what it is they want from life and set a strategy to achieve it. Their natural assertiveness means they will push both themselves and others to achieve goals.  They are not put off by setbacks.

Has enormous enthusiasm that he spreads to those around them.  Their drive to succeed gives them a high level of motivation to achieve their dreams.  They are not easily put off and find it easy to think positively about every situation.

Has well-developed people skills and has a constant need to enjoy interactions with others. They are persuasiveand their quick minds produce creative solutions to others' problems.

Has a genuine desire to help others and put their needs first. This makes them flexible and adaptable with a natural ability to share ideas and knowledge.

 Has a true team approach.  Their expert listening skills can uncover others' true needs and they are loyal to both their colleagues and their organisation.

Can pull all the loose ends together to organise themselves and others in a structured approach.  Their planningand time management skills make them thorough and reliable.

 Can write the book on product knowledge required for their job.  When others need the facts to make a decision, they know them.  They set the standards for others and analyse and collect the data.

Has a natural desire to monitor and judge performance.  Their own approach is disciplined and logical and they back this up with a determination to succeed.

What are you using to effectively work with your team?

(Content courtesy
(Image Courtesy: Google images)