Saturday, July 30, 2011

Strange sources for learning new stuff

I am watching "seconds from disaster" for a while now until 3AM everyday for their engineering educational value:
- Disaster Prevention
- Possible Mistakes both in human factors and engineering design, based on designs and situations.
- and Investigation after accident.

It might be strange but I am getting new ideas that I can apply in my own field of expertise.
Airplanes design pushes engineers to their limits in disaster management and prevention.

Not everything I want is in software books.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Social Teams

Is a short huddle in format of Scrum good enough for a company? Or do we need long meeting of discussions between team members.

I think eventually the right place is neither here nor there.

Scrum based huddles are short. In Scrum there is no time for discussions. Discussions are one of the main and best source of sharing opinions and information. In one study, researchers found after showing disgusting pictures, people can memorize things slightly better than after watching nice pictures. In scrum  there is no emphasis on discussions or creating bonds in teams.

It seems that human brain is not so delicate, and needs challenge and opposite opinions in  regular basis to be able to grow and shine.

On the other hand lengthy meeting tend to make people bored and dose them off the topic.

We should find a middle ground here.

The first step is to find people who are able to socialize. That is the essence of every active team. That person must also be a competent person in the team. I think there is no need to be the top technical member as long is that person knows about how to start conversations and slowly brings others into conversations.

Conversation starter could be anything from "how was last night party?" to "Did you buy a car?". Starting with non technical topics helps people to create bond beyond technical subjects. It can create a care factor between team members.

Creating bond is essential in teams. It will help people to feel more responsible about the team goals, and  put more effort to help each other and also express their opinions more relaxed.

In this situations for a person who is the source of team social aspects seniority and age is not a big factor. Technical discussion and skills will show up during meetings in a different dimension.

Conversation starter normally should not last very long to create a long meeting. A number like 5 minutes can be a soft limit.

After starters, team should have a 10 minute or more technical discussion in form of friendly talks. Reports my experience are most useless. I rarely saw any value coming from reports. On the other hand friendly conversations about projects, with almost no format are more useful.

To be able to do it, teams should have a limited number of members.

Scrum works better is number if  size of the team is bigger than 5. But in my opinion creating few small teams with less than 5 members are more affective than having larger teams with more people. Growing social factor and creating bonds are harder in large teams.