As programmers, we’re very used to dealing with systems that are easy to understand and behave predictably (though I have worked with some codebases that are the exact opposite).
Aside from code, the majority of our day-to-day interactions in the workplace are with team members, managers, clients and other colleagues. These human interactions are often much harder to predict and respond to, but can have a much greater impact on your work environment, productivity and workplace happiness.
I attended Roy Osherove’s ‘Lead Better London’ course held at Skills Matter back in July (and have been meaning to post a follow up about it ever since). Roy was / is a leading voice in the .NET community (though now he’s exploring what Ruby has to offer) and is the author of ‘The Art of Unit Testing‘, which I consider to be THE book to read if you want to learn and become better at writing test code for your software. Roy regularly blogs about software team leadership issues over on FiveWhys.com, and it is from there where I found out about the course.
The 2-day course caught my eye, as it was focussed on managing people and software teams rather than any specific project methodology, such as agile. Courses such as these give you a great opportunity to take a step back and view your workplace and your interactions within it in a different light, without the distraction of your ‘real work’. Roy is a great mentor and from the off, ably demonstrated the ‘ninja’ leadership techniques he was trying to teach to us. His ability to listen, comprehend and consolidate a problem down to a fundamental is a skill I really want to perfect.
Things I took home with me from the course:
- Confidence to Lead: motivation to tackle the issues I see day-to-day in my workplace
- How I react: ability to recognise my own and my colleagues behavioural traits and adjust my response to suit
- Who I want to be: a clearer idea of the characteristics I believe make a good leader and the willpower to make sure I follow the right path.
Roy is holding another course in London this November (2011) , so if you’re interested in learning how to lead and grow a software team, then you should do what you need to do to get yourself on his course.
For me, the challenge now is to take the skills I’ve learnt and put them into practise in my day-to-day work life.
Let the human experiment begin……