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Mike Bowler
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Helps IT teams improve through coaching & training. Agile, lean, technical, brain science, games.
Helps IT teams improve through coaching & training. Agile, lean, technical, brain science, games.

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TL;DR summary: Soft skills are more important than hard skills, even in tech heavy companies like Google.

"Sergey Brin and Larry Page, both brilliant computer scientists, founded their company on the conviction that only technologists can understand technology. Google originally set its hiring algorithms to sort for computer science students with top grades from elite science universities.

In 2013, Google decided to test its hiring hypothesis by crunching every bit and byte of hiring, firing, and promotion data accumulated since the company’s incorporation in 1998. Project Oxygen shocked everyone by concluding that, among the eight most important qualities of Google’s top employees, STEM expertise comes in dead last. The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills: being a good coach; communicating and listening well; possessing insights into others (including others different values and points of view); having empathy toward and being supportive of one’s colleagues; being a good critical thinker and problem solver; and being able to make connections across complex ideas."

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/12/20/the-surprising-thing-google-learned-about-its-employees-and-what-it-means-for-todays-students/?utm_term=.94a0822278b1
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Join +Ellen Grove and I at the Toronto Agile Conference this Tuesday to learn how #MobProgramming can help your team improve. Detailed steps, real examples, and of course, some fun.
#TOAgile2017
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Code branching is a great workaround for problems elsewhere in the system that we are unable or unwilling to fix.

Consider why we choose a workaround instead of fixing the real problem.
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‪Curious about #MobProgramming? Join +Ellen Grove and I at the Toronto Agile Conference to learn about it!

"Running with the Mob: Extreme collaboration with Mob Programming"

This is a technique that I now use with all my clients. It's one of the best tools I have for coaching teams. Join us and find out why.

http://www.torontoagilecommunity.org/display/PUBLIC/Conference+2017 #TOagile2017
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Intrigued by clean language at Play4Agile North America this past weekend? I'll be doing more of that at GTA Agile Coach Retreat - join us.
https://www.eventbrite.ca/e/gta-agile-coach-retreat-fall-2017-tickets-36841317372
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In yet another example of why measuring the wrong things is harmful:
http://www.bbc.com/news/amp/world-europe-40848289

When you reward people for putting out fires, you'll get more fires. Yes, this is an extreme example and yet it's hardly the first of its kind. Consider carefully what you measure as you'll get more of that.
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I've said for a long time that where we really deliver value isn't in knowing one skill, it's in the intersection of two or more skills.

This author makes a really compelling case that software development skill by itself is becoming increasingly worthless unless it's combined with business domain expertise (the intersection of two skills). He then looks at remote workers through this lens in a really interesting write-up.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/hard-thing-software-development-jesse-watson
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In hypnosis, the term "Apex Problem" refers to a situation where the client is cured so effectively that they don't remember ever having had that problem.

Imagine a client coming in with a fear of flying. We use hypnosis on this client and the session is so effective that he forgets that he ever had this fear. This may not seem like much of a problem until it's time to get paid for our work. Now we invoice the client for fixing a problem that he honestly believes he's never experienced. Why would he pay that invoice?

To address this problem, hypnotists usually insert "convincers" into the process to prove to the client that a change did actually happen. Although not as obvious as with hypnosis, we can see the apex problem in agile work as well.

More at... http://www.unconsciousagile.com/apex_problem
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Don't leave TODO's in your code. Either fix it now or accept that you never will. We almost never go back to fix it later.
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There is so much evidence for the benefits of hand written notes that I hand out pens and paper when I teach a class. I tell the people in my class that I'm not just here to entertain them, I'm there to ensure they get the skills they need and here are some simple tips to retain more from this class.

"Brain scans during the two activities [writing vs typing] also show that forming words by hand as opposed to on a keyboard leads to increased brain activity (pdf). Scientific studies of children and adults show that wielding a pen when taking notes, rather than typing, is associated with improved long-term information retention, better thought organization, and increased ability to generate ideas.""

https://qz.com/1037057/keyboards-are-overrated-cursive-is-back-and-its-making-us-smarter/
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