Working Together

Working on a new project is a great way to review what you think you know in a different application. I think as a veteran developer, the hardest part of doing our job is to avoid doing just the ‘cool’ stuff and being continuously objective about the work you are doing.

Devs will often spend more time on things they think are important which really aren’t in the scheme of things. A good dev will figure this out him/herself without help, and benefit the team and the product for doing so.

The other side of the coin is that the business isn’t always aware of things which would add efficiency to the product or process and can be hard to convince, even with several team members’ support.

Establishing trust in the environment is paramount to working together, and eroding that trust is so easy that it is a cautious game. The other issue is that building trust happens best when you achieve common goals, and many people will change jobs within a few years. It also seems like the less time you have been at a job, the more passionate you are about it, and the more energy you give the project.

Perhaps the solution is to only have short projects? =)

A good question is how engaged is the team? How often do you see people working together? You will normally see groups of people in the same process (streams) working together, and eating together. This is because you need a level of teamwork day to day to do your work. Examples are developers with developers, testers with testers, BAs and product owners.

A more important question is how often you see people from different streams working together, having whiteboard discussions, creating stories or eating lunch together or socialising. Forget metrics, KPIs, meetings, building a good relationship will pay off in orders of magnitude. Why?

If you build a relationship, you build respect and trust. Even if it’s not work related. You also build empathy.

By building empathy you tune your listening skills. You put yourself in the other person’s shoes and try to understand their points of view. Having two-way empathy and understanding is the ultimate level of communication.

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