Doing Valuable Work and Learning

Photo by Thompson Rivers University

Photo by Thompson Rivers University

According to Seth Godin, the proven way to add value is to "do extremely difficult work."  I agree with the sentiment, and in software development, teams are regularly asked to develop features they have never created before.  The work is complex and requires some learning.  I've written before about using spikes for learning, and Johanna Rothman wrote a very nice article on the same topic.  I love that she goes on to explain what should happen to the code written during the spike:

You can throw out the code. You can use the code as a basis for real development. Or you can refactor the code to get to something reasonable. It all depends on where you start. Any of those will change the estimate of how long the rest of the work will take.

The team is ultimately responsible for quality.  If the team needs to do some upfront learning, then use a spike.  Just don't be fooled into using that code afterwards if it's not the right thing to do.

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.

Your Best Work

Photo by Kim

Photo by Kim

When I was a sophomore in high school, my English teacher asked me to participate in a writing competition.  I didn't realize it at that moment, but it was a highly selective writing competition--only 8 students out of my class of 1700 were asked to participate!  One of my friends was also asked to participate, and for whatever reason, we felt the need to outdo the other.  I asked another friend for advice, and his words were simple: write from the heart.  Similarly, Seth Godin recently posted about competition as a crutch to bring out the best in a person.  He argues that it is better to be in competition with yourself instead.  I prefer to work from the heart.

Growing up, I never believed the wisdom "Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life"--it seemed like a fairytale.  And as much as I love my job, there are days when it feels like work.  I've been reminded by a fellow consultant that we wouldn't have work if each gig was easy.  Whether it feels like work or not, I try to work from the heart by focusing on the people around me, focusing on change, and improving as much as I can.  I was pleased to see that Work Happy Now listed that the 3 things that made people happy at work are:

  1. Passion
  2. Focus
  3. Strengths

Working from the heart not only makes me happy, but it is also my goal to try and make others happier in their work.  Rather than competing for promotions or job security, more people should focus on being genuine in their efforts--I've found that good things tend to follow good work.

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.

Start With Nothing

Photo by Camilo Rueda Lopez

Photo by Camilo Rueda Lopez

When thinking about how to change an organization, it is easy to limit your thinking based on where the organization currently is and its existing processes and policies.  To break down barriers to change and dream up the impossible, sometimes you must start with nothing--a clean slate, a blank piece of paper.  Seth Godin's blog reminds us how to get beyond stuck.

Allison Pollard

I help people discover their agile instincts and develop their coaching abilities. As an agile coach with Improving in Dallas, I enjoy mentoring others to become great Scrum Masters, coaching managers to grow teams that deliver amazing results, and fostering communities that provide sustainability for agile transformations. In my experience, applying agile methods improves delivery, strengthens relationships, and builds trust between business and IT. A big believer in the power of community-based learning, I grew the DFW Scrum user group significantly over the five years I served as an organizer. I am also a Certified Professional Co-Active Coach, a foodie, and proud glasses wearer.