Work expands to fill all time available for its completion
I’ve been thinking lately about time and deadlines. Do any of these sound familiar?
You go to a meeting scheduled for an hour. A project decision is made in the first fifteen minutes, and the next forty-five minutes are spent discussing and re-hashing that decision…only to then settle on the original decision.
Your software team works in two week sprints yet seems to scramble in the last several days of each sprint to finish the bulk of the work.
In a project with a deadline months away, the requested feature list continues to change and grow while the deadline remains the same.
These examples are all instances of Parkinson’s Law: “work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion.” Read more
At the last Indianapolis “Leadership Rules!” meetup, we had some great discussions on celebrating wins and rethinking failures. I realized how infrequently my team actually celebrates our wins. We tend to hold off on celebrating while we work toward the end of the project, only to then just slide into our next project. When considering how my team handles failures, I recognized that my team doesn’t always acknowledge the lessons learned from any stumbling blocks we hit.
I took a road trip to Cincinnati, and I learned a lesson about Agile software development from a decoration in my Airbnb host’s bathroom! She had made this sign and posted it on the wall. Without any context, I read it and thought, “This is how we’re supposed to be building software!” Read more
A retrospective activity to show gratitude and accomplishments
I was very fortunate at work to be managing a large, high-performing team. Despite team members being located across three continents, we all had a lot of fun, got along great, valued and respected each other, and got lots of stuff done! But, as the saying goes, all good things come to an end. My team was to split into two: half would be leaving to staff another high-priority project. The remainder would merge with another small team assigned to me to finish out our project.
I knew the activity of splitting up the team could be bittersweet and upsetting, so I wanted to do something in our final team meeting together that would allow us to leave with some great memories. I came up with a Team Achievement Award activity that worked really well for us. You can also do this activity with your team in a retrospective, when you want to recognize accomplishments, or to help with team bonding by getting folks to acknowledge the good things they see in other team members. Read more