(3 related links, aligning on a purpose of joyful life and work)
I just read this highly Recommended article, with a team exercise, by Viktor Cessan, on how to help the individual team members (you included), achieving and finding direction for their personal growth by including the whole team in the discovery process. Also aiming to make the team and organization evolve.
The missing dimension in the traditional approach is team’s context i.e. its challenges, growth areas, and goals (short and long term). Teams that seriously consider and let those aspects influence individual goals, outperform teams that define individual goals in isolation of context.
A Brief of My Thoughts and Beliefs regarding development of software – and other things.
January 2020, a winter resembling a mix of late autumn and early spring (stretching February – why is it so hard to finish this article? 😊 Finishing off, end of August, it was a long summer “holiday”, and now the need to transfer the writings from Word into wordpress, always a pain, another obstacle to fight..
Apart from being a believer in test driven design, quick feedback loops and delivery of real value… I believe in Magic.
Perhaps the most important, in software products, is to create a ubiquitous language, connecting business and programmers with a common understanding of the domain, pushing the development into the domain knowledge space; with this in place there is a good chance of doing the right thing.
All above, together with the many other optional tools born in the thriving community around DDD Europe – I am convinced magic things will happen.
Software development – is all about the outcome based on the theories built by one or more persons, often a team; a team is all the people involved, such as experts, developers/programmers, users and other stake holders that can affect the team and the product.
The actual fit – of the outcome of an implementation in the real world, is highly effected by the designers understanding of the problem space, the current system and the wanted state, and the designers abilities and his intentional alteration of that system by adding, removing or changing some part(s) while hoping for the intended outcome.
The question of when and how well a solution fits, hints that short feedback loops are extremely important during the design, prototyping and implementation of a system – unfortunately many teams don´t work with feedback until they deliver a “ready to ship” product or feature.
Mob programming could be compared to modern processors with multiple cores. A single brain does not have the same capacity, for thinking and exploring, as two or more brains do; therefore, I see this as a fundamentally better way to do qualitative knowledge work, while also gaining social stimuli, and providing a more challenging and creative environment.
I believe one of the reasons we left the mob programming style in favour for individual work is due to management seeing software production as something that can be broken up to a manufacturing production line, and when computers became less expensive than people this was a natural step in the “factory setup”; this is in many ways how “teams” work today, even “agile” teams, with a Kanban board and tickets for as small tasks as possible, sometimes even broken up by “upper level people”.
Trust – the more we know the people we work with on a personal level, the more we trust them for their proven track record; working in tight teams forces you to become closer.
Flow – according to science, the most fulfilling type of flow is achieved in collaboration, like in a football team or solving problems together with colleagues. I believe it is also easier to maintain a flow state in a group of engaged people, than when working alone – especially if working “alone” in an open plan office
Magic teamwork – when work becomes teamwork, work becomes play; when work is play, work becomes fun; when work is fun people get on fire; when people get on fire by doing work they love – magic things starts to happen. I want magic teamwork in any game I play.
Reading “Design thinking – The key to enterprise agility, innovation and sustainability”, by David West and Rebecca Rikner gave me an awakening, of some kind, realizing who I am and what lights my fire.
I have always loved to understand how things work, fascinated by the beauty of nature and in love with functional design. Being creative with my hands since childhood, forming for usability or mimicking nature, I guess other paths could have led me to become a carpenter or architect (of buildings).
This is me, Design Thinking + IT Thinking + Business Thinking
When I opened this page, it was like Dave had picked my brain and soul and found my core interests, background and future.
An “explanation” of the mapping I see when I read this picture…
A former colleague told me “you are an organizational genius – that’s just how it is”, others have said “You are extremely quick in picking up and understand the core of the overall system”.
I studied to become avionics engineer and liked the idea of fixing airplanes but didn’t love it, so I moved on.
I have studied business finance and liked the accounting but loved the marketing and had fun, with my friend, creating print and web marketing for restaurants and nightclubs – and a golf course panorama overview (long before street maps).
I have studied history of arts and design, materials and production techniques, and liked the ideas of Lean manufacturing but loved the creative process of product design with brand recognition.
I have worked in many non-IT related areas such as mechanics, manufacturing, sales, support, warehouses, and in a variety of IT related areas such as tech support, infrastructure (servers, network etc.), and since 2013 in different software development teams, mainly in product companies but also as consultant.
Wherever I have been, I have seen ways to improve things, like management, the way of working or the physical working environment – in most of the places I have left a footprint, either by changing a process, way of working, or at least by challenging the ways of doing things. If needed I also act as a secret janitor to fix or improve things at the physical work place just because I care about my environment (have problems with broken and filthy things, not OCD but probably closer than many 😉)
I need to feel joy and ease in my working environment
To be continued… part 2 in this context is about ”Teams – and groups”
As always, not just in the ”strange” time of now, I start my morning with I writing down my dreams if I remember any, then write my thoughts arriving just before and just after getting up, then write what I should do today (work and other). To wake up the body I do a short (15-30 minutes) stretch and physical exercise (kind of yoga but not), sometimes adding a short meditation (although the stretching becomes a little meditative most times).
This makes me tuned in/on for the day with awareness and declutter my brain.
: Now (strange times) : For the last weeks, instead of commuting to work (by metro or bicycle) I either take a short walk (~20-45 minutes) in the ”forest” around the block, or just sit in my armchair with a coffee watching the clouds and trees and birds outside my window (sometimes both).
I’m ready for work – my mind is clean and focused.
I do ”focused” work for about 3-4 hours, with a daily morning meeting somewhere in the beginning or middle. Then (as usual) I go for a lunch walk, about 30-90 minutes, to get movement and to allow my mind to rest and work on the problems I’m trying to solve. Sometimes I eat before, sometimes after. After lunchbreak, I continue work for about 1-4 hours depending on my mood and time balance (working 6 hour days on contract, but, with flex, in reality sometimes 4 and sometimes 10+ and everything in between).
: As usual : Regarding the focus
I try to use the pomodoro style with tomato-timer to set 20-25 minute chunks where I rest my eyes from the screen for a minute or two, doing the 20/20/20 exercise, (previously I used protectyourvision but is made in flash..), perhaps do push-ups to energize. The tomato-timer is also good for setting breaks and restrict you from going back to the screen before the timer is done or to time box ”social media” and news.
My phone is always (95%) in silent mode (not vibrating) unless I know I have important calls, most notifications are hidden. BUT.. it does happen that I get distracted from notifications when I have to use the authentication app to login on to vpn etc. (a nice benefit of working at home is the lack of ”others” phones, in the open office at work there are always phones around me..)
My email is open in the start and end of the day, sometimes I check it after/before breaks, notifications are off.
Slack and Teams are used to communicate inside the company, notification sounds are turned of, popups turned of. (the only distracting is the Slack icon showing I have unread messages, if the app is active in my ”activity field” (windows)
: In normal times : when I’m at the office, I try to have regular breaks for coffee and chat with colleagues, but we don’t have set times where we have breaks together so.. it really depends.
: Now : I do have a couple of set times during day where I will check in on the news (usually don’t watch news, but these days I think it is important), and do some chatting on facebook etc. with friends and family and sometimes a call. The time slots are ”after morning meeting”, ”before/after/during lunchtime” around 14-15 to tune in to the daily covid press meeting updates on SVT.
Relax, rest and recover.
: What I believe (and as science proofs*) is very important, not just now: is to really take qualitative breaks – meaning RELAX YOUR MIND , e.g don’t use the phone for a paus in your work, don’t bring the phone to the toilet, allow your brain to relax and recover, allow your eyes to rest, and.. allow your wrinkles in your forehead to relax and sink back =D – you look younger and happier when not doing that 😣 FPF (frown phone face)
* I highly recommend you to Read or Listen to ”Why We Sleep: The New Science of Sleep and Dreams” by Matthew Walker
I enjoyed the audio book
and if you feel the need.. to do something creative or take a nap, meditate, exercise.. just do it! REMEMBER! work is not all about the input and output of crunching hours (although I also do that.. as it’s stated in my contract to ”deliver hours”); doing meaningful work is about outcome, and outcome is not the same as output, outcome is about delivering value and quality – things that comes from awareness, creativity and a relaxed mind.
A relaxed mind is a creative mind ~ seek for qualitative breaks to refuel
: What I do think is hard : not just now, but perhaps even harder when working at home, is to not do work when my mind goes to work even outside my ”working time”, and perhaps it is harder for us, that like me, have work and interests/hobbies that overlap – to be a craftsman in any profession requires you to have a desire to use the knowledge and skills to do great things, creative, beautiful, helpful and valuable for others.
~ Sometimes ~ I tell my self that I envy those who can switch of the brain when leaving the office or factory ~ but I do love to think deep and collect knowledge and use it to solve big problems (though I haven´t really solved any big problems yet, I have the desire and a couple of plans in the pipeline ~ I’ll be writing more of that later so stay tuned )
: Finally : Please take care of yourself and those who are important to you, and be nice, be kind, to everyone you meet. 🙏