the reluctant tester

Perpetual learner of the craft of Software Testing,Servant Leadership and creating better Teams

Continuing the “Better Leadership” meet up

I facilitated another “Better Leadership” meet up last week , that I started a month or so ago , based on an unconference style , mob learning format ( versus a single speaker and an audience format) .

The format is simple, every attendee brings one Leadership experience/achievement to share (How did I achieve<………>?) and one Leadership challenge that they are currently facing (How can I solve <…….> ? )

And then we dot vote on topics and go around the group to enable fellow Leaders to share their stories

There is no bar of Leadership experience required to attend , from the turnout so far we have an even mix of experienced and aspiring Leaders.

Here are some of my key takeaways from the Meetup on 16th of August

The How can I solve <………….> theme ?

How can I drive accountability with a peer who consistently over promise but under deliver ?

Context –

“My cofounder are unfortunately not delivering to their potential , they are consistently letting the rest of the founding Team down by not delivering on their commitments, how do I confront them on this (ensuring that the working relationship is not impacted)”

Suggestions from the group –

— Set clear expectations on outcomes that each of you (within the founding Team) are accoutable to deliver . Forming a charter of behaviors and values through which everyone will deliver on their comittments

— Provide “impact feedback” to them i.e. 1:1 describe the impact of them not delivering on their commitments has on you as their peer e.g. it demotivates you , brings the Team down, risks the goal that your start up is supposed to achieve

— If the above does not work , dont hold back from asking them to leave the Team , as you only get one shot at making your start up successful and with such a small founding Team everyone needs to have skin in the game

How can I keep my Team motivated in times of prolonged BAU work

Context –

“Our company has gone through an extremely busy phase where we released a major product release earlier this year. Now as the product is already in market, my Team is only working on minor bug fixes and support work. This has recently started impacting the morale of the Team in terms not getting exciting pieces of work, how can I sustain the motivation of my Team during this phase”

 Suggestions from the group –

— Encourage the Team to look for side projects that could benefit the Team e.g. automating your regression tests or paying off your technical debt

— Look for opportunities for your Team members to be temporarily seconded to other functions (e.g. Customer support , Marketing , BA etc) so that they can pick up new insight,skills and develop empathy for other Teams

— The might not necessarily be a one-off phase of lull . analyze the root cause of why your feature pipeline has dried up ? Are there any areas of concern in communication between you & the Product Owners ? Do you as an organisation have a Product road map ? Are you guys following that road map ? Are your POs siloed from the Team ?

The How did I solve <………….> theme ?

How did I lead the Team to move away from Scrum

Context  & story –

Irrespective of how much grooming and prioritization we did , invariably the PO used to disrupt our sprint due to unavoidable changes in priority or customer direction. This was proving to be demotivating and disruptive to be the Team. I facilitated a move away from hard-core Scrum principles of fixed duration sprints and planning cadence, by adopting a more Kanban-esque approach wherein now –

  • We dont have fixed sprint iterations , we plan as & when needed
  • We have weekly cycles of release
  • Once the Team completes something they just pick up the next available item from the groomed and prioritized backlog (and run a planning session only if required)

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About Me

I’m Sunjeet Khokhar

An experienced People Leader,Practice Lead  and Test Manager .

I am driven by the success of people around me, am a keen student of organisational behaviour and firmly believe that we can be better craftspeople by being better humans first.

CoNNECT with Me

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