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What Others Can Learn From IT

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In my introductory post I wrote about how I want to help in filling the gap in leadership practices between Information Technology and other industries. I focused on practices that IT leaders could learn from other areas. In this article, I’ll focus on the counter perspective.

There’s been an increased interest in Agile methodologies over the last few years. Agile was not born out of IT, but that’s where some of its applications (e.g. Scrum, XP, Kanban) have been widely adopted. Results were so great by comparison to traditional processes that other industries are now adopting Agile methodologies based on IT experiences.

One of the most interesting examples came from Joe Justice, the founder of Team WIKISPEED, who decided to apply Scrum to building… cars (yup – those with engines, 4 wheels, and everything else that’s needed for driving around). In doing that, he is utilizing a number of practices adopted from software developers. I strongly recommend watching his TEDx presentation (see below), where he explains details of the approach – I’m sure every developer will find them very familiar:

Several years ago, I experienced a similar situation myself, while attending a Scrum workshop. It turned out that only a fraction of the attendees had anything to do with software. I met a geologist, a publishing house PM, and lots of other interesting people who had nothing to do with IT. They simply came to the workshop to learn more about the topic that is becoming increasingly famous in the business world, to see in practice what all those geeks have been doing and how Scrum works under the hood.

People from both worlds, IT and business, can learn and benefit from each other. I trust the articles published here will be of use and value to the wider audience.

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Why I Decided To Write This Blog

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I’ve been leading software development teams for over 7 years now, and throughout this time, I’ve encountered great content published in the industry: books, articles, videos, presentations and lots of other stuff. Almost all of that knowledge was either purely technical (describing a specific technology or a set of programming practices), or related to particular software development processes. Unfortunately, there wasn’t much about the general aspects of team management in IT.

Sure, there are lots of blogs about Scrum, Kanban and other methods of driving software projects, but I’ve been always lacking a solid resource about people stuff – describing how to lead others, build your authority, manage relationships properly, coach team members, resolve conflicts, communicate feedback… Lots of the soft skills that other industries train their people in very early when they get the role (well, in good companies at least).

For an IT person, when they become a manager of some sort, it is difficult to shift the focus from technical aspects, and they are often left on their own to figure it out. The most curious ones will get to some general management resources – and there are many great ones, of course, but applying them in a quite specific IT environment may be challenging and could raise a lot of questions.

And that’s the gap I want to fill with this blog: gather the knowledge at the interface of Management and Software Development. Some of it will be from my own experiences, other pieces may come from various external sources. I am also hoping for lots of good discussion and knowledge exchange with all the development managers, team leads and lead engineers out there!

I would also like to help those who want to become technical leaders, or have recently started in that role. I still have much to learn myself, but I believe some of my experiences can prove valuable.

So let’s see how it goes – at the moment I have a number of ideas for articles, but I would love to hear topic suggestions from you, Dear Readers – please remember to mention them in the comments.

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