I previously blogged about the nature of expertise, and resulting questions about the efficiency of expert-expert pairings.  Here I’d like to tidy up some loose ends with regard to the relationship between expertise and pair programming. How does expertise develop? Kahneman’s book points out that expertise develops, virtually inevitably, when a practitioner has long experience… Read More

Let’s start this post with a thought experiment.  Not in software development, but in playing chess. Imagine two novice chess players, working as a team. (We’ll assume their opponent is a computer, so it can’t overhear them talk.)  Our two novices will benefit greatly from their collaboration.  They’ll discuss all their thinking – everything from… Read More

I was talking to my Mum recently.  I mentioned that I’m becoming even more interested in people skills, and she said, “Oh, so you’re interested in management then.” Actually, no. I’m interested in people who are not managers improving their people skills. I’m interested in busting the myth that “people skills” is a topic exclusively… Read More

Imagine looking at a dog.  You instantly know that it is, indeed, a dog.  That’s an incredible feat of pattern recognition, performed almost instantly and without any conscious effort. Is it really incredible?  Yes.  It just seems easy because you’ve been doing it effortlessly since about age three.  To remind yourself how difficult it actually… Read More

I’m reading the book “Crucial Conversations: Tools for Talking when the Stakes are High”.  It’s absolutely excellent.  And not just for conversations when the stakes are high – but also when the stakes are rather more mundane, such as your typical day-to-day business meeting.  I’ve been consciously trying to apply the principles from the book… Read More

The three keynote presentations for Agile 2011 have been announced.  I’m thrilled to see that two of them are on the people side of agile, rather than the technical side.  Barbara Fredrickson will speak on how positive emotions feed a virtuous circle in the workplace, and Linda Rising will talk about how viewing ourselves as… Read More

This video summarises they key points I aim to make in this blog, that people skills are: Important, and Learnable (with time and practice) The video is an edited extract of my talk at the AgileRoots conference, at Salt Lake City in 2009.  For the benefit of people who, like me, prefer skim reading to… Read More

At Agile Roots, I promised to post references for my talk “Better Agile Through Stealing”. Here are my favourite references on the topics I talked about. For each of the books, the main link is to a “dead tree” version of the book, with a secondary link to an e-Book version (if available).… Read More

The right attitude for learning and creativity is to "argue as if you are right and listen as if you are wrong" "The best people and organizations have the attitude of wisdom: The courage to act on what they know right now and the humility to change course when they find better evidence." [sounds a… Read More

I recently enjoyed reading In Good Company. The book is addressed to a general business audience, but I found it very relevant to agile software development (particularly agile’s emphasis on people and their interactions). I recommend it to anyone interested in that side of agile. From the back of the book: “In Good Company is… Read More