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  • Episode #121 - Ask For Help - Integrum
    we re in a lot where we record this podcast It s not uncommon if there s 50 60 people in the room that you might pop up and say Hey will somebody help me by telling me where a pair of scissors are That s really low cost and the reality is somebody probably knows where those scissors are But if I sit there and look at all 50 people and I say I have no idea which one of these 50 people would know where the scissors are I might not ask any of them I think it s getting over the barrier of even when you don t know who can help you sometimes just saying I need help is helpful The person drowning that says I m drowning generally gets a life raft The person that doesn t say that doesn t get the life raft Roy It s interesting because people in general like to help People like to receive the attention and to take advantage of knowing something that other people don t I think there s even probably a little bit of I don t want to say it s malicious but a little bit of one upmans Like Hey I m helping you because I m able to do something that you can t so that gives me a little bit of self confidence boost or whatever In fact I ve even seen people help when it s not even asked for and when it s not wanted just to have that either one upmans or just to help out Derek One of the things I find very interesting is that people do not like to ask for help but damn do they like to give it out even when it s not solicited Jade laughs Derek We really like to rescue people but we don t like so much to ask people to help us which is really odd to me You think that it would be Roy The other way around Derek An even metering out Roy Because helping people out has a way higher cost associated with it It actually takes time Derek Something in our wiring makes us want to help people If we know that we like to help people even when they don t ask for it wouldn t we think that when we want help that Jade People who want to help Derek People would really want to help but it s like we re wired the opposite way Jade If asking for help is cheap and waiting too long to ask for help is very expensive how do you create a culture of asking for help Derek I think the same way you create a culture for anything you want is you just have to model the hell out of it I think you have to insist on it You have to constantly be in a mode for modeling that behavior potentially even asking for help when you don t necessarily need it I think you also have to model that it s OK to say No so that you don t create a culture where people feel obligated to help when they ve got other priorities or other things and that people don t get offended when they re told No that they get a healthy dosage of what it s like to ask for help and get it but also ask for help and maybe not get it or have it delayed and that that s OK too It doesn t mean that if I ask you for help and you say No that it doesn t mean you ll never help me again Jade Or you hate me laughs Derek Or that you hate me or there s something personal but that it just might be you re really busy trying to do something else Roy Or have no knowledge to help you Derek Or I don t have the ability to help I think it s just modeling that a lot I think you have to model it a lot I think it happens pretty quickly when you get results I think when you ask for help and you get help it feels like you re cheating It s almost like Damn I ve got the stables easy but indecipherable 09 19 smacking this sucker over and over again and it s getting easier and easier the more I do it I think that it becomes a pretty Pavlov response of I really like this thing so I m going to do it a little more often Jade You re saying if you are feeling like nobody around you is asking for help that s probably a good indication that you need to ask for help Derek Yeah I would say if nobody is asking you for help that probably means that you don t ask anybody for help Roy I m pretty sure though that the quantity that I think we have a mutual understanding of is not what most people are thinking of what we re talking about I m thinking about asking for help multiple times an hour maybe a dozen two dozen times an hour That s once every few minutes That s not once a day or twice a day It s a lot Derek How could you possibly need help that often Roy I do a lot of complicated stuff laughter Roy I m a very dumb person so I do a lot of laughter Derek Can you give me some examples of how you re asking Jade Actually you re a very smart person if you re asking for help a lot Derek Can you give me some examples of how you asked for help today Roy indecipherable 10 20 multiple times where Jade and I were pairing and I didn t understand something so I asked him to explain things that were

    Original URL path: http://integrumtech.com/2013/09/episode-121-ask-for-help/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Application Configuration or Settings in Rails Applications - Integrum
    is another alternative It is a super cool simple and feature rich configuration system for Ruby apps You can set defaults use hashes use yaml and even namespace configurations You can even do temp delayed or dynamic configurations If you are currently using global variables constants do yourself a favor and check one of these gems out PREVIOUS Rails Bridge Removing Excuses To Participate NEXT jQuery Lightbox for Ruby on

    Original URL path: http://integrumtech.com/2010/01/application-configuration-or-settings-in-rails-applications/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Episode #90 - A Thanksgiving Potluck of Topics - Integrum
    that rely on feedback from somebody else that might take a day or two for those to go it becomes difficult for how do you deal with those Clayton Just to shift gears a little bit Roy you recently have an experience using the Checkout Protocol during the retrospective I was wondering if you could maybe share that story Roy Sure We were having a retrospective I think it had been going on for about an hour and a half and I think a little bit in we decided to come up with a smart goal The smart goal is actually suggested by the scrum master so it s a little odd from that perspective In general the retrospective was going around in circles and we were lost to what was going on It didn t seem like it was moving forward at all like it suddenly repeat back on itself and it just go for some iterations The rest of the team that I was working with was all familiar with the Decider Protocol I ask them if they re familiar with Core Protocols and I ask them if they knew what the Checkout Protocol was and they said No I explained to them how it works If you feel that you are able to provide more value somewhere else or if you feel like you are I believe the word Jim uses is emitting random emotional signals or something like that the idea of you re just firing off random emotional stuff and you can t deal rationally with the situation I explained to them that if that type of thing happens you can say I check out and walk away You are able to get out of whatever the thing that you are participating in I explained to them how that protocol work and then checked out which I think shocked quite a few of them because they were not quite used to that type of thing Clayton The retrospective is like a meeting and you can never really leave it But in your case maybe you felt like your time is better used elsewhere or you couldn t rationally participate at that point Roy For me I definitely felt like my time could better be used elsewhere I was probably misusing the Checkout Protocol in that I was trying to use it to send a message that I didn t feel I could send in any other way which is This is a waste of my time and I should do something else It wasn t so much that there was something more important for me to do as much as it was a This is something that s not important at all Clayton I was wondering when using the Core Protocols if you have a team that is familiar with them and especially if they re familiar with the Core Commitments I think using them can be the super powerful tool If you get a group of people or team that is only tangentially familiar with them and doesn t really know the Core Protocols I wonder if it s like playing with fire Roy Yeah I definitely stepped on a few toes and I did that I think some people were probably rightfully offended or at least hurt by it Clayton Do you think you ll see someone use the Checkout Protocol in the future Roy I don t know I hope so I think I talked to Derek about it afterwards and he was present at the retrospective as well He feels like if you were to ask anybody at the time if they want to leave they probably would have said yes because I don t think it was a secret that the retrospective didn t feel like it was adding value I don t think I was the only one who had that impression Clayton Speaking of adding value you guys have been working with a team that has been trying to adopt pair programming or promiscuous pairing and doing a lot of pairing with different people on the team I think that you guys are facing that common criticism of pair programming that If I m an expert or I think of myself as an expert I can t pair with novices because they re too slow They slow me down I ll be so much faster on my own Is that an inaudible 09 43 Have you guys been seeing something like that Roy Mm hmm Derek Yeah I think it s a little bit odd It s not probably different than you d see in any other organization but one of the things that this particular team has a little bit of a challenge with right now is they got a really significant skills gap between some of the people on the team They were not a cross functional team before They are now a cross functional team and that has created a significance skills gap in both knowledge and domain as well as technical skills Early on the senior developers for a lack of a better term really didn t want to pair with some of the people that had a skills gap because they felt that it was really slowing them down At some point during retrospectives the folks that feel like they re slowing people down admit that they are slowing people down but they came to the conclusion If you don t pair with us how are we ever going to close the skills gap They came up with one of the retrospectives goals that the senior people were not allowed to touch the keyboard at all Their mindset there is if they are not allowed to drive they are forced to teach us Of course this frustrates the developers to go a whole sprint without being able to touch a keyboard Roy That would frustrate me Derek The retaliation back was that We

    Original URL path: http://integrumtech.com/2012/11/episode-90-a-thanksgiving-potluck-of-topics/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Episode #14 - Retrospectives - Integrum
    you re a little bit on edge and it takes a little while to getting a little more relaxed and get out of the doing the work stage to talk about the mental part of reviewing the work in retrospect and all that It takes that time to say let the guard down and really do that I think if you can pick activities if you know you ve got a team that s a slow mover team if you can pick activities that help break down those barriers and get it into the mood of being able to share more openly that you try to do those more often Jade I also think that you need to inspect and adapt on your retrospectives and if you re always having this problem maybe you need to change the timing or the length of your retrospective to deal with that If it takes your team an hour to even get to moving beyond the surface level maybe your retrospectives need to be two hours You spend the second hour really digging into the meat of that I think you really need to pay attention to what s working and what s not working with your teams Clayton Maybe change format like the CNN Crossfire laughter Clayton SMART goals Good or bad Jade Hate them laughter Jade It s not very Crossfire ish Derek I like the concept of SMART goals I like setting a tangible action to improve I like the principle of SMART in that it really allows you to keep things where Yes I can do this Yes it s reasonable Yes it s timely Yes it s actionable all of those things I think some of the problems that come out of that is it s very hard to do the follow up on those and to build upon them I think if you re doing discipline retrospectives where you say Over a period of time we re trying to make this change and you ve got multiple SMART goals it maybe makes more sense We ve done them It s difficult to follow through sometimes all the way to the end Then where it s really been a problem I think is the problem with SMART goals is you don t do the habit setting You say Oh we re going to this for the next iteration You do it it works really great and then you do it the next iteration Then it starts to follow across on the third iteration Then it s gone on the fourth iteration Then in six more retrospectives it comes back as Hey we need to solve this problem and everybody goes Haven t we already talked about this Jade The problem I have with it is not the actual SMART goals and the follow through like you re saying I agree that those are issues The problem that I see is in the context of the retrospective the way

    Original URL path: http://integrumtech.com/2011/05/scrumcast-14-retrospectives/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Episode #65 - New Team Members with Mark Levison - Integrum
    lack of a crisis a strong vision That might have been the driving force behind it Mark A crisis is exactly what it takes for team formation Luckily in Scrum we usually get the crisis fairly quickly It s one of the joys of Scrum I might point out In my course I simulate this I actually use Scrum to run my course so I have a burn down I have a back log The course is a product back log there isn t printed agenda We have our first crisis at the end of sprint one when it becomes clear we cannot achieve all of the material that we ve set out Then we have to do some radical reprioritization That usually has them desirable effect of throwing the team into crisis in the sense of a real Scrum team maybe not on my CSM course I don t need to create artificial crises They usually take care of themselves quite nicely Roy That s a good point Mark Honestly I ve never seen a team that didn t after the first few sprints quite naturally start trending into storming My favorite analogy is If you interrupt me and I m in the IDE your interruption had better be damn good Actually it better be a serious reason If on the other hand I m browsing cnn com Hey any old interruption is good That s the beginnings of storming there I ll yell at you if it s not I won t really I might pretend to yell at you if it s not a very good interruption and I m in the IDE and I m doing something I think is valuable I might be more open to it when it s just cnn com Roy Earlier you mentioned about people entering that scope of Scrum Mastering that will allow them to avoid conflict I ve seen that in the past where there are individuals that are so against the idea of conflict that they ll do anything to prevent it from happening even when they wouldn t even be involved For example Scrum Master just hates conflict so much that they will try to prevent it You had mentioned that it doesn t really seem possible to avoid the conflict but is it healthy to even try Mark In fact it s even worse If you try you ll probably set the team back I try it all too often myself and what I find happening is I can t remember I think it s Kirby and Markman I m pretty sure are in conflict Let s say we go to Kirby Kirby would you please stay clear of Markman s tasks for at least the next two weeks Mark would you please stay clear of Kirby for the next two weeks I haven t really resolved the problem All I ve done is taken two warring parties and told them to back off A much

    Original URL path: http://integrumtech.com/2012/06/episode-65-new-team-members-mark-levison/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Episode #101 - Working Agreements - Integrum
    agreements Jade The trick is a lot of times we want to write them down and carve them into the tablets in the Ten Commandments of the team when really they re a fluid living thing The intent is that they re there to help reinforce behaviors that we wish we had Once we ve addressed that we should get rid of that working agreement Once it has become habit let s move on They should be very fluid living things It s hard to live with that reality They can be changing all the time Roy Does it make sense to have a team working agreement to revisit all of your other working agreements on a regular basis to review them Should instead have a working agreement until something comes up that causes us to question it That s the time to bring up whether or not we should continue to have it Derek I m starting to lean more and more in life towards working agreements are evil hell In the sense of they look like what we call policy elsewhere We d be much better suited as teams if we rooted ourselves in values and principles We could say Behavior X is violating value Y Opposed to Here s some hard and rigid rule we have to revisit As we continue to add to them it doesn t fit on an index card Then it doesn t fit on an 8 5 11 sheet of paper Then it doesn t fit on a poster board Next thing you have got the 795 page working agreements book that people are trying to Subsection B 593 of the working agreement states In this case if the team said We value working together more than value working independently They could say each one of those things Is it valuable enough for us to do this first They could weigh values against each other Roy I totally agree We used to have that problem with Integrum back when we were doing contract development work We used to come up a smart goal every week Five weeks in you totally forget what your smart goal was five weeks ago Until you break it and it is convenient for somebody else to point it out After a while it builds up so much stuff it s hard to remember all of it A base system of values is not hard to remember You just use logic to figure out the rest Derek Smart goals are a little bit different It s important that you set marks for success to say If we do X can we change our behavior Y and measure a change If we have a hypothesis and then we do something to work against that hypothesis can we get the thing we are trying to measure to move That s a little bit different than a working agreement For retrospective goals they are only as good as that sprint Unless the next sprint they decide to do this again They are temporal Working agreements are a little different When people put them down they think of them a lot more like policy They exist until somebody says we terminate them Jade It really comes down to a fixed mind set versus a learning mind set If we treat the working agreements as rules which is not their intent but it tends to happen that they become the rules of the team We re really missing the point We re probably doing Agile and not being agile That s what we really need to be weary of as a team Even values and principles if they are being used in such a way that they are a weapon against your fellow team members you re missing the point Clayton One thing that s interesting If you took a team that wasn t especially mature from a team perspective Let s say they knew about XP They knew that courage existed Courage means a lot of things to a lot of people Even if they read into what they mean in that context they might agree to it If the team is immature they might need something that is more of a specific working agreement As the team matured and grew with that working agreement they probably would come full circle to Hey we are now at courage again It means something different to us I wonder if as the team matures they can shed some of the weight of those things being rules and can get to the principles They were always at the principles and values the entire time They just didn t realize it Roy That makes sense I like that Clayton I don t know if that s the case or not It seems like that s the way things go Roy you had mentioned the idea of having a working agreement to revisit the working agreements Jade you had mentioned that they are a living document I don t even know that a lot teams take working agreements seriously They treat them more like rules like what Derek s getting at How much effort should you put into those things How much meaning should they have on the team You mentioned team rules which sounds bad Doesn t the team need something like that Roy As little as possible so that there is as little resistance to change if you want to change them down the line Jade I have a question real quick This team that you re working with have you guys discussed your principles and values Are those things that you ve identified or did you just jump right into working agreements Roy I want to say yes but I m not entirely sure if we ever have I don t know sorry Clayton That s another thing I ve seen too Roy I wouldn t be able to tell you what our values

    Original URL path: http://integrumtech.com/2013/03/episode-101-working-agreements/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Episode #46 - Corporate Cultures - Integrum
    to do what that really does is that just tells them that they don t have to think about it They don t have to think about the problem or what to do You end up losing a lot that way because there are a lot of smart creative people out there that think of things and think of the ways to do things that are different than just you If you re not taking advantage of that and providing that freedom for those people to think that opportunity for those people to think by just telling them what to do you re missing out Alan I ve also seen in kind of a similar way where the management says that they re open to criticism or open to new ideas but then the people that work for the organization are almost guilt tripped into choosing what management wants anyway The choices are presented and you get an illusion of choices but then there s an obvious right answer and if you pick anything other than one of those three options it doesn t feel that you have more than three options and there s only one right answer and those three options I ve seen that happen in the past I don t know if that still works If the developers still get a choice or if they consciously or subconsciously see right through that and if that really hurts them I don t know Jade What are risks to the teams in a culture like that Alan The Company that I ve been thinking about is normally always doing Scrum and what they end up with is this ritual that doesn t really have too much meaning They do the retrospective and they talk about the little things that can be changed but not big things because they re waiting for the boss to tell them what the big things are and they plan things that are safe They know exactly what the boss has told them through the product owner and maybe just the boss directly what they should be working on and how they should create it They just plan it as if they re going to do it the way they re told and they don t interject any contrarian ideas in the planning etc It becomes very flat Perry I think what problem we get with that is that you ve a bunch of mindless drones that are working You lose a ton of creativity and innovation because really you have one in that situation where everybody listens to the boss and then the boss comes up with all the ideas You have one creative person within the entire organization and there is no way no matter how creative that person is that he is ever going to be able to be even close to the sum of how creative an entire organization could be if everybody was allowed to add their own experiences

    Original URL path: http://integrumtech.com/2012/02/scrumcast-46-corporate-cultures/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Episode #33 - Agile Tweet Controversy - Integrum
    more no less elizabethraley Scrum Rule No Additional Requirements Can Be Added to a Sprint scrumology Comparing velocity between teams Not everything that can be counted counts and not everything th rslawrence In case you missed it over the weekend Why Longer Sprints Probably Won t Help rramirez4444 What are the TWO best qualities of a good Scrum Master agile scrum non SM respondants given more weight on this one alechardy Purpose of sprint review is to inspect and adapt Demo during review is to prompt inspect and adapt conversation PREVIOUS Episode 32 Usage of Agile Tools NEXT Episode 34 A Sense of Urgency Join the conversation on Facebook Subscribe to the podcast Make your mark Get involved with the Agile Weekly Podcast by volunteering to be a guest recommending a speaker submitting a question or suggesting a topic Step up to the mic Build up your toolkit Learn new tips and tricks for empowering your team and transforming your business See the blog Hungy for More Info Agile Weekly is a quick way to stay up to date with the latest news techniques and events in the Agile community Signup today for the best Scrum Lean Kanban and XP

    Original URL path: http://integrumtech.com/2011/11/scrumcast-33-agile-tweet-controversy/ (2016-04-26)
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