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I’ve thought a while about where to put the definition of “done”. I think it belongs to the team. Even though – and of course – the Product Owner must understand the definition of “done” and agree to it, it’s the Team that should come up with a definition of “done” that they are able and willing to commit to. It is most crucial for the Team to understand what “done” means. So this article is a guideline that you should consider when you’re working on a definition of “done”.
David Allen: Getting Things Done (45 min + 30 min)
David Allen is the author of the book “Getting Things Done”. In this compelling lecture he gives you an impression what his approach to getting things done is. The interesting bit is that if you know how Scrum works, this lecture gives you an insight into why it works. Now you can understand it from the behavioral biology side of things, and so appreciate the concepts of the Scrum framework and where it leads to even more.
80:20 rules! – Building software smarter (Erik Petersen, 60 min)
I’m not sure if you need a full lecture on this topic but if you’ve never heard about the concept before, check it out! Otherwise take the refresher from Wikipedia on the Pareto principle (80:20 rule). This is such an elementary principle, everyone faced with a number of tasks and not knowing where the point of diminishing return is – well, you don’t really have to think (that much) about it by applying the 80:20 rule.
Understand why having a multitude of different skills is better than being a specialist – at least in Agile teams.
Balance, Stress, and Optimal Health (60 min)
In this lecture we learn what causes stress in our modern world, how it is different from stress that used to save our lives, and how we should deal with stress so that it doesn’t affect our health negatively. I was hesitant to watch this lecture at first but Dr. Miller is a very good presenter and captivated me with his “theatrical skills”. It’s funny and insightful. Stress is what we do with it. And if we can’t manage our stress level over time, it will affect our health. For me personally, i suddenly realized certain negative characteristics of my behavior and health that i see completely gone after a 4 week holiday. And the bad thing is, i wasn’t even aware how much stress i was feeling over the course of the last couple months, maybe even the whole year 2008. So, watch this lecture – i highly recommend it – and from then on keep monitoring your stress level throughout your life, so that you can counter-act on it.
Coaching Series: Leading from Strength: Making a Difference (60 min)
By identifying and further developing our unique talents and character strengths, we contribute more effectively and enjoy the process. This talk will draw on findings from positive psychology, brain science, and resilience research to describe practical strategies for articulating passions and reaching goals.
Here’s the link to the Authentic Happiness website mentioned in the talk. And here’s the direct link to the VIA Signature Strengths Questionnaire in case you can’t find it from the homepage. In order to do the test you have to register, however you can enter any bogus data and you don’t actually get a confirmation e-mail, you can just take the test directly after filling out the form. Beware: it’s 240 multiple choice questions!
In case you’re wondering, here are my top 5 strengths (as of January 2009):
1) Curiosity and interest in the world
2) Creativity, ingenuity, and originality
3) Love of learning
4) Citizenship, teamwork, and loyalty
5) Humor and playfulness
How Open Source Projects Survive Poisonous People (60 min)
Even though the talk is given by experienced Open Source developers (SubVersion) and centered on those communities, many of the observed behaviors can also be found in any company – some even more so – and hence in any team. What’s different is that most of the communication happens via IM, IRC or forums. However, so does many corporations communications with the introduction of local IM tools and Wikis.
Even though i didn’t really learn how to deal with these people it brought me a little closer to understanding the types of poisonous people, their behavior patterns (warning signs) and their motivation. Often it’s just too much motivation that isn’t focused on the community’s goals.
Kent Beck, the inventor of Extreme Programming, gives a subjective talk about how programmers (but i dare to say that anyone in Software Development can relate) feel at work and how this changes over time and what the causes are. This talk is not instructive and he doesn’t have any hands-down numbers … it is more a philosophical talk. It’s one of those talks that you follow in your mind, mapping it to your own experiences, trying to find patterns. It’s one of the rare talks that make you think.
Plus i believe that the state of agitation at work Kent describes is exactly what Scrum – if implemented correctly and supported at all levels – reduces or even completely removes from the workplace.