How unclear roles can damage your teams performance (and what you can do about it)

Roles and responsibilities can cause confusion and upset in our teams unless we take the time to openly discuss them. But, it can be easy to solve when we knew how to shine a light on the issue, here's how.

Coaching is often described as “holding up a mirror”. So that teams and individuals can reflect on what they see. It’s not about impart “right” or “wrong”. Coaching is not limited to only managers or supervisors. Coaching can be ran and facilitated by anyone in a team. 

The important questions I ask myself every week, and why.

By rewriting your concerns as questions you move from anxiety to curiosity.
This is a paraphrased quote from the book Sprint. Author Jake Knapp is talking about gathering a list of “what could go wrongs” on a project as part of a design Sprint. Knapp is tapping into the elephant in the room and testing the worst case scenarios. But rather than listing them as statements, Jake says to list them as questions. “If we don’t get our customer to understand X we’ll fail” becomes “How can we encourage the user to understand X?”.

Does your agile team have a “learning disability”?

It has been argued that the best determinate of a businesses success is based on it's ability to adapt and learn. Whilst building a "learning organisation" sounds desirable, it is distinctly abstract. We're going to look at 3 concrete "learning disabilities" that prevent teams from operating optimally.

The term learning disability is taken from Senge’s The Fifth DisciplineIn the book, Senge discusses how to transform organisations into what he calls “Learning organisations”. Organisations that are quick to pick up new skills and responsive to change. To become one we must recognise what Senge calls “learning disabilities”.
 
Learning Disabilities are behavioural traits that teams exhibit. These traits cloud our ability to learn and grow as teams. Out of the seven total three, in particular, I know will resonate for developers.

5 ways to get more out of your non-fiction reading

Flicking through pages can only take you so far. If you want to digest and get the most out of your non-fiction reading time, you'll need a plan; a strategy.

I’ve been recently pushing myself to improve certain knowledge gaps. Whilst thinking about how to tackle the problem I ended up posing myself a question:
 
When have I made the biggest learning improvements in the past? How did I do it? And can I repeat that process?
 
The answer took me back to when I was a student …it was when I read non-fiction. a lot.

Why “Should you build your portfolio with code or a template?” is the wrong question

Asking which way to build your portfolio is only half the question: the real question is how do you deliver what the market demands.

If you want to step up your developer career you might be considering creating a portfolio. If you are, bravo! Having a portfolio immediately puts you ahead of the curve. So, you sit down with a coffee in hand and debate the best ways to create your website and a thought crosses your mind:
 
Do I create my portfolio in code, or do I use a template?
 
This question came up recently on a front end developer forum. The answers that emerged were short and shallow. Did they answer the question? Yes. Will they help the developer get hired? I’m not so sure.

What the hell is “The socratic method” and why as a developer you should care

Teaching is a lesser flexed muscle of the software developer. Yet, being a strong teacher can enable a strong team and a strong career.

As software developers, we’re always teaching each other. It’s a core part of what we do. Yet, most developers get little formal training in areas outside of software developing. Most developers wouldn’t think to read a book on teaching to improve their career. But, doing just that could make some profound changes to your career and your team.