In the previous issue, we introduced the performance management framework OKR (Objectives and Key Results) and how it can help us build and grow performant product teams. In short, OKR is a set of measurable objectives and key results that we set quarterly. Each objective has a responsible, and at the end of each quarter we draw the line and evaluate the results: how many goals we were able to accomplish? Next, we will consider a timeline for implementation of OKR in a company, with a snapshot of annual and monthly activities.
A set of well-defined objectives is an essential prerequisite for the success of any company. Company objectives are extremely important for Product Teams because they guide strategic decisions in a manner which seeks to align itself with the solution meant to solve the issues product users are confronted with. Even if there are many models and methodologies for performance management, the OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) model is one of the best means of keeping the people involved in development focused on the target. The model provides a clear and simple view of objectives and key results, as well as a transparent and measurable way of tracking the progress made to reach those objectives.
Despite everybody’s good intentions, seemingly ignoring the effort invested and the relevance of the ideas thrown into the game, extremly lots of projects end-up creating products that nobody wants, nobody asked for and/or cannot possibly be sold. So, which might be the causes for such situations, considering that we live in an increasingly measured society, over-exposed to management processes and formal models, which practically guarantees minimum exposure to risk, from the success rate point of view?
When I began my career as a software engineer, I could not have imagined the important roles adaptability and soft skills would play in achieving successful outcomes for projects. In those early days, I believed that everything was black or white, that analytical and problem solving skills were my greatest assets, and that communication should always be direct and concise. Reality showed me a different picture. I joined Flow Traders in 2011 and I immediately found myself working with a wide variety of people, not just the machine in front of me. I had never considered that I might need to sell a solution to someone, or that I would need to explain the architecture of a big project to a non-technical person. These were new skills that I needed to learn. In this article I will share my experience of working at a company where diversity feels at home - the perfect place to develop communication skills and learn the value of our differences.
A while ago, I wrote an article addressing some important aspects in the world of client communication, or at least that was what I thought I was doing. I talked about how important it is to find a common ground when talking to somebody, especially if the people involved have different backgrounds. I also talked about the importance of emphasizing the value of what we are communicating, to point out what our ideas are bringing to the game. Since then, I have continued to improve my communication skills and I have discovered how important it is to pass these messages in a very efficient manner, especially when there are time constraints in the game. This is almost always the case when discussing with a client. There have been a couple of game changers for me lately, which I think have really helped me improve my efficiency when communicating. In this article I want to pass along these additional teachings.
Software development exists, in the end, to solve Business problems and bring as much Business value as possible. If our role is the one of “Business Analyst” in a software company, we feel not meeting our goals if we are not able to identify the real Business needs and if we are not able to prove the Business value delivered by the applications or features to be developed. Is it enough to have a number set as “Business value” for each user story? Should we also be aware of the real Business value behind that number? Would this help us and our teams provide the best possible solution and do things right from the very beginning?
Ahyper-productive team is the dream of every team leader. How cool would it be to apply a 10-step algorithm and create a team 10x more productive? Or tweak the team communication a little bit and get the team to the productivity nirvana? As we all know, things are not that simple. This paper will detail ways in which you can create a balanced and motivated team that knows its weaknesses and its strengths.
We live in a world where, in developed countries such as the Netherlands, Denmark, Norway, the relationship between the lay person, and the public and local authorities can be kept efficient from home, via Internet, without walking piles of papers and documents in between offices, without the need to take days off or a leave of absence to solve bureaucratic issues. There are cities where printed documents are not required at all because the performant IT systems ensure control across all activities. Therefore, these things should not be "Science-Fiction" for Romania. The Cluj IT Cluster is an association which includes a large number of companies that are experienced in developing software, as well academic institutions, research institutions and public administration institutions. The Cluj IT Cluster showed a consistent and continuous interest in enhancing the efficiency of the public administration through IT. Moreover the Cluster is actively involved in making the "Smart City" concept real. This includes the extended promotion of IT services in administration, information technology and communication (IT&C), intelligent technologies in areas which define the urban ecosystem (traffic and mobility, public safety, health services and education, culture and entertainment, tourism, infrastructure for utilities, energy, work space and residential areas etc.). These are all means of enhancing the quality of life and the safety of the citizens. The Cluj IT Cluster advocates in favor of an integrated approach, oriented towards the lifecycle of any Smart City project.
The overall perception of the interview process is that of a scenario in which the roles are, apparently, clearly defined. The interviewer and the interviewee entertain a relationship similar to that of a student and his examining teacher, giving rise to a classic academic setting. By contrast, the modern approach, considers that the roles go both ways. Throughout an interview, the parties act both as the interviewee and the interviewer.
In this article we suggest to change the perspective on agility from a technical perspective to a more humanistic one, even a systemic one. First, the premises that we have taken into consideration when writing this article were the following: