Autobiography

25 years ago, I have been told that I should read autobiography of famous people to understand how they found their way to achieve great things.

I did not understood the advice. My understanding was that looking at famous people was a little bit like what poor magazines are doing following the life of rich and celebs.

I was wrong.

When I read Benjamin Franklin autobiography in 2016, I understood the advice; a little bit late; I discover why it was so interesting to read people who are telling the stories of their life.

Autobiographers are trying to share what they learned during their journey in hope that it could help others.

There’s probably some ego involved in the process, and when you read autobiography, you could need to deal with that, with a nice smile on your face: yes, sometimes what we are doing is definitely ego driven.

To give you an idea of things I should have discovered earlier:

  • how he found a system to create good habits (based on a calendar where you mark your success and that helps you reflect on what needs more focus or improvement)
  • how he discovered the ideal size of a group for a meaningful conversation (the answer is maximum 12 people)
  • how he refused patents for one of the invention because it was for “the good of the people”
  • and many other things

The question is now, what is the next one I should read?

The Five Dysfunctions of A Team

“If you can get all the people of an organization  rowing in the same direction you can dominate any industry on any market against any competition at any time.”

When the author use this quote from a friend in front of executives, they are all nodding, not only to express their approbation, but to express their inability to make it happen.

TheFiveDysfunctionsOfATeamSuccess comes to those who are able to overcome the human bias that undermine the teamwork.

The five dysfunctions of a team is a book by Patrick Lencioni (not a new one, but it’s often useful to re-read some “classics”). This book use a novel at the beginning to make easier to understand the ideas that are further reexplain at the end.

The five dysfunctions can’t be treated in isolation, the first one is the foundation of the next and so on.

TheFiveDysfunctionsOfATeam-2The five dysfunctions are, according to the author:

  • Absence of trust: unwilling to be vulnerable within the group
  • Fear of conflict: seeking artificial harmony over constructive passionate debate
  • Lack of commitment: feigning buy-in for group decisions creates ambiguity throughout the organization
  • Avoidance of accountability: ducking the responsibility to call peers on counterproductive behavior which sets low standards
  • Inattention to results: focusing on personal success, status and ego before team success

The author suggest tools to resolve each of the five dysfunctions. It’s probably there that the age of the book is visible as some of the tools had been overpass by others more recent and more effective.

Nevertheless, the model proposed by the book is useful to help a team understand what they will need to achieve to become an efficient team.

A book to recommend to many 🙂

You will also appreciate Rafael‘s review on goodreads (and all the others that will motivate you to read (or re-read) some books.

Header picture is from Adam Przewoski.

Manage it!

Manage it! is a book by Johanna Rothman published by Pragmatic Programmers. You probably know already Pragmatic Programmers, they published Agile Retrospectives by Esther Derby and Diana Larsen, and also Agile Coaching by Rachel Davies and Liz Sedley that my friend Fabrice Aimetti translated into French. If don’t know Pragmatic Programmers yet, I recommend a visit to their book shelf.

When I started the book, I have been surprised, badly, by the classic project management tone, and at the end, it is something I really appreciate in this book. Why ? Because it means that you can recommend this book to project managers and managers that are used to classic methodologies and classic work environments. And they will not think that you are trying to enrolled them into a sect.

Well, this book will not cover principles and values that make the culture of an organization, principles and values that can be reinforced or hustled during an agile adoption.

This book covers project management, as seen by project managers, program managers or managers, sometime as seen by team members. It covers the start of a project, the planning, life cycles, scheduling and scheduling games, estimation, creation of teams, steering, rhythm, meetings, dashboards, multisite projects, multiple projects, test integration, programs and portfolios, and of course project completion. With this short view of all the chapters, you can see what you can expect from this book. Recommendations are simple to understand, and argumentation could be useful to enrich your existing range.

I really like the way powerful questions were introduced, like :

  • What does success look like ?
  • Why are these results desirable ?
  • What is the solution worth to you ?
  • What problems does this system solve ?
  • What problems could this system create ?

I appreciate also the recommendation to introduce retrospectives in the project life cycles (and the way to insit not to call this a postmortem at the end, cause we hope that nobody will die during the project).

This book can be read fast (I read it in the plane on my way back from Red Hat Tech Exchange) and I believe that it can be a useful reference when you are ready to start a new project and to work on an existing one.

Management 3.0 #Workout

Lorsque Claude Aubry a publié cet article à propos du site du club de lecture de Toulouse, j’avais déjà en projet l’idée de lancer un club de discussion. Je m’étais donc dis que c’était une nouvelle bonne raison de le faire.

La réunion du Klub de Toulouse se déroulait lundi 2 février, le livre du jour était #Workout de Jurgen Appelo. Les participants ont accepté que je m’invite à cette réunion en me connectant à distance en video-conférence.

Un grand merci donc à Marie-Josée, Nathalie, Jean-François, Cyrille, Jean-Pascal et Claude pour leur accueil sympathique.

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Comment cela se passe ?

La facilitation de Claude est discrète et efficace, il lance une question à laquelle les participants répondent le temps d’un tour de table. Les questions sont par exemple : « quel lien feriez vous avec l’agilité ? », « pensez-vous que le type de management proposé dans l’ouvrage devienne « mainstream » ? », « quels sont les pratiques que vous avez expérimentées dans vos organisations ? ». J’imagine que les participants sont habitués à l’exercice. Le temps de parole se réparti harmonieusement, les éléments issus du livre et de l’expérience se complètent avec équilibre.

Concernant le livre en lui-même, les participants ont apprécié #Workout. Ils ont apprécié les explications simples, les illustrations issues de l’expérience, les propositions d’exercice de mise en pratique avec une équipe ainsi que les nombreuses références.

Ils ont également apprécié les nombreux arguments permettant de diffuser le message vers différents publics.

Vous pouvez retrouver ce livre ici : http://www.management30.com/workout en version gratuite ou commander une version payante.

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Le force du Klub est de pouvoir profiter du regard des autres, de voir ce qui les intéressent et qui parfois m’avait échappé. Un exemple : je n’avais pas remarqué qu’à la fin de chaque chapitre, il y avait une page de références… Bien sur, avec le livre sous les yeux, j’ai été étonné de constater cela lorsque quelqu’un a abordé ce sujet

Cette expérience très agréable me motive pour proposer un club de lecture à Bordeaux, je propose que ce soit un samedi et que le premier livre soit également #Workout de Jurgen Appelo.

Je vous propose donc de prendre le temps de la lecture du livre et de nous retrouver soit le samedi 14 soit le samedi 28 mars entre 10h30 et 12h00. Le Doodle suivant permettra de choisir la date : http://doodle.com/ttdm3t283m2k4kwz

L’année du bonheur

Nous sommes au début d’une nouvelle année, la période ou l’on se souhaite une bonne et heureuse année, la période ou l’on prend de (nouvelles) bonnes résolutions…

Et si cette réflexion dans le choix de vos résolutions vous conduisait à choisir d’être heureux ?

Je vous souhaite d’être heureux bien sur, mais que pouvez vous faire pour y parvenir ?

Dans un précédent billet, La Science du Bonheur, j’avais rapporté que 40% de notre niveau de bonheur dépend de nos activités quotidiennes, et non de nos gènes ou des circonstances.

HowofHappiness-coverKira M. Newman, assistant du cours sur la Science du Bonheur sur edX, a eu l’idée de faire découvrir au fil des mois de cette année 2015, les 12 pratiques du livre de Sonja Lyubomirsky, The How of Happiness.

Chaque mois sera structuré pour faire découvrir une pratique, comment la pratiquer, comment cela nous rend heureux, et enfin comment dépasser les résistances.

Prêt à être heureux ?

C’est ici !

Je vous souhaite une très heureuse année 2015.

This post in english: http://www.the-agile-and-open-source-way.com/2015/01/20/the-year-of-happy/

The Happiness Advantage

TheHappinessAdvantage

The Happiness Advantage is a book from Shawn Achor describing the seven principles that fuel success and performance at work and in life in general.

The main idea of positive psychology is that happiness comes before success.

What are those 7 principles:

  1. The Happiness Advantage. Training ourselves to focus on the positive boost our performance and our relationship ability.
  2. The Fulcrum and the lever. The fulcrum is our mindset, the way we see the events that occurs. The lever is our potential (we believe we have…)
  3. The Tetris Effect. Training ourselves to look for positive patterns drives us to detect and seize opportunities.
  4. Falling Up. There’s two different paths after failure down toward depression, or up to learning and growth. It’s up to us to choose the one we want to follow.
  5. The Zorro Circle. Agilists will find this one obvious. When faced with a complex situation, focus on small steps we can handle.
  6. The 20-second Rule. Form habits with small tasks that can be started fast.
  7. Social Investment. Because social support is the predictor of your future success.

Shawn Achor finishes is book explaining how behavior (good or bad) is contagious. Probably a good thing to know to start something 🙂

I recommend this useful book 🙂

In future posts, I will tell you about how we are struggling with our Happiness Index at eNovance, and what I learn from “The Science of Happiness”, the Berkeley course I am following on edx.

You can also watch this TED Talk from the Author:

Header picture by Jarno, Creative Commons 2.0.

Version française de ce billet.

Office not required

Remote, Office not required is a book from Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson 37 Signals cofounders (the company is called Basecamp nowdays).

Capture d’écran 2014-05-20 à 22.32.17Remote is a plea for remote working. It provides arguments and solutions to those who want to try to work remotely or even organize their business so she could spend offices.

Some arguments you will find in the book among others:

  • Collaboration and communication tools are here, the missing upgrade is the human mind
  • Work don’t happen at work because of interruptions. People who have an important job to do… will do it elsewhere.

Mc Gregor’s Theory X and Theory Y, will help to understand the weakness of the arguments of opponents of remote working:

  • If I don’t see them, how would I know that they are working?
  • If I see them, I can control them

We need a mutual trust to work together… And we need to manage work, and not the presence of people on their chairs.

The book, composed of small posts, addressed also: tools, tips to work from home, coworking spaces, starting to introduce remote working in a team, work from home with customers, recruitment and onboarding.

There’s also a chapter on Open Source learnings, my favorite subject !