Programming Leadership
Making Software Development Teams Hum with Ron Lichty

Making Software Development Teams Hum with Ron Lichty

April 2, 2020

Is your team running so smoothly that it hums? In this episode of Programming Leadership, Marcus and his guest, Ron Lichty, discuss what makes high-performance teams versus what makes low-performance teams. Most teams already know which category they fall into, but the solution to a low-performing team isn’t always clear. Drawing on 20 years of Agile experience, Ron narrows down the three root causes of low-performing teams as well as solutions that managers can implement to improve them. 

 

Show Notes

  • Learning what makes software development teams hum (1:40)
  • What prevents a team from humming (3:31)
  • Building effective stand-ups (10:32)
  • Do < Accomplish (15:43)
  • The high value of predictability (19:28)
  • Implement the “fist-to-five” to your stand-up (23:50)
  • How to observe psychological safety (29:28)
  • Misunderstanding so-called “introverts” (31:31)
  • Planning is every team member’s job (36:58)
  • Providing value for stakeholders is an infinite game, not a finite one (38:44)

 

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Being Your Own Leader in Times of Transition with Han Yuan

Being Your Own Leader in Times of Transition with Han Yuan

March 19, 2020

Episode 40 What does it look like to be your own leader in times of professional transition? In this episode of Programming Leadership, Marcus talks with Han Yuan, friend and former Senior Vice President of Engineering at Upwork, about transitioning into entrepreneurship from a traditional job and vice versa. How do you know it’s time to make a transition? Where do you find the support you need? How can you prepare team members for their own transitions? It’s a scary proposition for anyone. Fortunately, Yuan says it can be managed effectively with a combination of objective benchmarks, meaningful relationships, and authenticity.

 

Show Notes

 

  • The dangers of becoming an entrepreneur (2:41)
  • When it’s time to leave your “good" job (4:00)
  • How professional managers can help employees think this way through career development (6:30)
  • Helping team members transition out of the organization (8:37)
  • Avoid win-lose situations by mentoring people, not professional roles (9:56)
  • Dealing with uncertainty during transition (15:05)
  • Connecting activities to outcomes (19:39)
  • Be authentic when “parachuting” into a new work culture (23:17)
  • How entrepreneurs can maintain structure and build peer groups outside of traditional work structures (28:37)

 

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Changing How We Change Software with GeePaw Hill

Changing How We Change Software with GeePaw Hill

March 5, 2020

What if we could create a trade culture that allowed for change rather than relying on mechanical thinking? In this episode of Programming Leadership, Marcus and his guest, GeePaw Hill, discuss how the doubling rate in the software industry has resulted in a complete lack of trade discipline. Drawing on his 40 years in the software industry, GeePaw’s solution is to develop a thick culture in which certain standards are established across the industry. They also discuss why the industrial model of work is so unsatisfying, the real reason why good workers leave organizations, and the importance of luck.

 

Show Notes

  • The doubling rate of makers has resulted in a total lack of culture in the software industry (2:12)
  • Defining Thick Culture, Thin Culture, and the Frame (4:01)
  • Using the generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) as a model for the kind of frame the trade needs (5:40)
  • How the doubling rate resulted in a lack of leaders that can develop an industry discipline (6:34)
  • Why good workers leave organization (18:05)
  • Developing a common language of change in the trade (24:24)
  • The real-life challenges leaders face when implementing change in their organizations (31:40)
  • Why managers and HR are wrong about why employees leave (41:10)

 

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Improve Your Product Management with Ellen Gottesdiener

Improve Your Product Management with Ellen Gottesdiener

February 20, 2020

How do we improve in the area of product management? In this episode of Programming Leadership, Marcus and his guest Ellen Gottesdiener, President of EBG Consulting, discuss ways companies can better oversee the development and lifecycle of a product in its entirety. Marcus and Ellen also discuss her Agile Product Planning method, best practices in the area of product management, and effective decision making methods with product management within your organization.

 

Show Notes

  • A working definition of product management (1:15)
  • The product lifecycle (1:45)
  • Answering the question, “What’s my product?” (8:30)
  • “Outside-in” thinking over “inside-out” (11:30)
  • Ways to address product production backlogs (15:33)
  • Managing the work vs. the product (19:19)
  • Engaging a product engineering team (21:58)
  • The role of story in product development (28:35)
  • Product development without a structured value system (33:47)
  • The decision making process in product development (40:49)

Links:

Leadership Strategies from Nature with Dr. Kathleen Allen

Leadership Strategies from Nature with Dr. Kathleen Allen

February 6, 2020

What can nature teach us about how to get the most from our organizations? In this episode, Marcus welcomes Dr. Kathleen Allen to discuss changing our perspectives of assigning roles within teams and organizations to what she calls leading a “living systems”. Dr. Allen is the president of her consulting firm, Allen and Associates, and has written many articles and contributed to a variety of books, including The Transforming Leader: New Approaches to Leadership for the Twenty-first Century and Innovation in Environmental Leadership: Critical Perspectives. Her most recent book, Leading from the Roots: Nature-Inspired Leadership Lessons for Today’s World, is available now.

 

Show Notes

  • An alternative to reorganization (1:45)
  • “We are human beings living and working in an environment, and when you have a collection of human beings, then your organization probably isn't an object, either. It's just that we're thinking that it's an object.” Dr. Allen (2:50)
  • The “living systems” perspective (4:45)
  • "Living systems are interdependent. They're not separate. And our job descriptions are designed and written to keep us separate from each other." Dr. Allen (9:00)
  • Strategy comes from patterns rather than details. (13:00)
  • "So the old leadership question is, what do I need to control? And the new leadership question of a living system is, what do I need to unleash?” Dr. Allen (16:45)
  • Work with you as opposed to working for you (19:30)
  • Empowering employees with a common shared goal versus controlling employees through management tactics (28:00)
  • "Influence, not authority." Marcus (33:00)
  • "It's the illusion of control and power. And that's what we're selling is the illusion. But nature doesn't have a CEO." Dr. Allen (36:30)
  • Growing change versus making change (41:00)

Links:

The Art of Leadership with Michael Lopp

The Art of Leadership with Michael Lopp

January 23, 2020

How can you build trust as a leader? In this episode of Programming Leadership, Marcus and his guest, Michael Lopp discuss the small practices that make a good leader. Listen to learn about building trust, respect, and relationships in a leadership role. 

 

Show Notes

  • Leadership practices are small things done repetitively over time. @2:29   
  • Leadership is a skill. @3:32 
  • Empathy is a powerful skillset. @5:17
  • The practice of one on ones is important in connecting to a team. @6:44
  • Asking for feedback can build trust and relationships. @9:04
  • Respond to feedback with a thank you and follow up comprehension questions. @11:35
  • Feedback is a gift. @18:04
  • It's not personal, it's professional. @21:37
  • Leadership is an outfit that you choose to wear for others to see. @25:41
  • Managers tell you where you are, leaders tell you where you're going. @31:55
  • "There is no substitute for enthusiasm."- Ken Beck @34:20
  • Your peers become your allies. @36:51

 

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Collaboration and Notqmail with Amitai Schleier

Collaboration and Notqmail with Amitai Schleier

January 9, 2020

On this episode of Programming Leadership, Marcus and his guest, Amitai Schleier, discuss a new project Amitai is working on regarding reviving an old, but useful, open-source program called qmail. Strategy and collaboration on this project as well as how to manage a project of this nature are discussed. 

 

Show Notes

  • The ‘old’ project is called notqmail. @1:10 
  • Last stable release was in 1998 then it was abandoned. @2:45 
  • Elders decided to make some changes in 2007 and called it notqmail. @3:49 
  • Amitai decided to revive this old C code. @7:16 
  • He wanted to join together the other people still running with qmail or netqmail and collaborate to make the best modern version possible. @10:24 
  • The best advice was to take everyone's add-ons and then his own and let the users decide which to implement to avoid egos. @14:04 
  • Collaboration depends on the properties of the code being worked on. @16:51 
  • Amitai put together individual persuasive invitations to get people to join his team. @24:19 

 

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Becoming a Better Manager Means Starting with Yourself with Johanna Rothman

Becoming a Better Manager Means Starting with Yourself with Johanna Rothman

December 19, 2019

To be a modern manager, you must manage yourself first. In this episode of Programming Leadership, Marcus and his guest, Johanna Rothman discuss how you must learn to manage yourself to be effective at managing other people. They will discuss some common mistakes managers make and some important values to instill in yourself that will make you a better manager, such as integrity, vulnerability, and congruence.  

 

Show Notes

  • If we don't manage ourselves, we don't have the capability of managing other people. @2:42
  • Micromanagement comes from fear and that fear is out of incongruence. @3:07
  • Blame cuts off options and relationships. @8:25
  • Admitting you're afraid and need help and being vulnerable is a sign of strength not a weakness. @13:48
  • Take small steps in building trust. @15:28
  • Value-based integrity consists of these 5 values: honesty, fairness, consistency, taking responsibility, and treating people with respect. @18:43
  • Self-awareness is difficult, but often is as simple as asking people. @25:14
    • ROTI (Returned on Time Invested) method for a meeting @27:29
  • A challenge for technical managers is actually knowing how to do the work very well. @30:14
  • Take control of your schedule to deal with the time pressure. @36:21

 

Links:

Rise of the Resilient Manager with Lara Hogan

Rise of the Resilient Manager with Lara Hogan

December 11, 2019

Are you a resilient manager? Do you want to become one? In this episode of Programming Leadership, Marcus and his guest, Lara Hogan discuss what it means to be a resilient manager. She will discuss some effective management skills and thought processes. She will also introduce us to the idea of the manager Voltron. 

 

Show Notes

  •  New manager care packages @1:00​
  • Becoming a manager is scary for different reasons for everybody. @5:10 
  • Management skills are the same across the board. @9:15
  • At every stage of management, you start over with the same new feelings, new fears, and lack of internal barometer of success. @12:06
  • It's okay to get comfortable and confident in what you know, but remember you're going to encounter new things. @14:01
  • Build out your manager crew of support, a manager Voltron. @15:19
  • Your Voltron should include people inside your company and people outside your company. @20:13
  • Manager dens- where you can experience coaching, mentoring, and a safe space, Vegas rules session. @23:57
  • Mentoring is sharing advice and perspective; coaching is helping someone come to their own conclusions. @25:56
  • Coaching is what helps people grow. @26:26
  • What are you optimizing for? @30:24
  • Resilient management has to do with making sure your bucket of energy is healthy. @35:01
  • When thinking about being cut out for management, it's about given the context, responsibility, and people you work with, does this work for you? @36:52
  • Showing is better than telling. @39:41

 

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Compassionate Coding with April Wensel

Compassionate Coding with April Wensel

December 5, 2019

Are you compassionate? In this episode of Programming Leadership, Marcus and his guest, April Wensel discuss compassion in technology and how it affects people. April shares how to become more compassionate as individuals and how we can bring more compassion into our organizations. Dive in to learn about a more compassionate future.

 

Show Notes

  • Compassion is about reducing suffering. @1:09​
  • Compassion is what's missing in technology. @1:22
  • Emotional intelligence ties into compassion. @4:36
  • We're all hardwired for cruelty and compassion- it's our choice which we choose as humans. @5:44
  • Everyone has the potential to practice compassion in daily life. @6:25
  • To practice compassion, you must have empathy. @7:48
  • Curiosity and inquiry are risks worth taking to show compassion. @8:23
  • The four pillars of being a compassionate coder are compassion with yourself, with your coding and non-coding coworkers, with users, and with society. @11:58
  • Organizations contribute to keeping uncompassionate patterns in place (higher pay and special treatment for coders for example). @18:01
  • Everybody has the capacity to develop compassion; it's about how we direct our energy, time, and effort. @21:29
  • Pausing, or taking a beat, to think is often the beginning of compassion. @25:20
  • You need to operate at human speeds rather than machine speeds to be compassionate. @26:53
  • Environments and working culture need to change in order to allow more compassion. @27:28
  • Burnout is an indicator that there's been a lack of compassion somewhere in the organization. @27:48
  • Compassion  is important in all relationships, especially with power dynamics. @28:53
  • Open up to build relationships and communicate to learn what others are thinking and actually going through, instead of making snap judgments. @32:48

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