Category Archives: insights Newsletter

Back issues of my newsletter, insights. You can sign up to receive my newsletter using the form on the right side of the screen.

Self-facilitation Skills for Teams

© 2004-2010 Esther Derby Self-organizing teams don’t just organize the technical work. They make technical (and non-technical) decisions. Not every situation requires facilitation, but when a team faces an important decision, applying facilitation skills to the problem saves time and yields better results. Jason was frustrated. The Release 6.0 team had been chewing on a…

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Hiring for a Collaborative Team

If you’re a hiring manager, you know that a typical hiring process emphasizes technical skills, functional skills, and industry knowledge. Interpersonal skills are near the bottom of the list, if they make the list at all. However, if you’re hiring for an agile team, or any other team that must collaborate to succeed, put interpersonal…

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A Manager’s Guide to Getting Feedback

© 2006-2010 Esther Derby Author’s Note: In general, anonymous feedback in the workplace doesn’t work. It destroys trust, and doesn’t give the opportunity for followup, clarification, or problem-solving. But there is an exception.  Sometimes the only way to get feedback up the chain–from direct reports to managers–is to use a process that anonymizes individual responses,…

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Achieving Agility: Means to an End, or End in Itself

(c) 2010 Esther Derby I recently spoke to a senior manager who wanted to know how “agile” his company was compared to other companies. When I asked what he’d gain from that information, he responded that then he’d know what practices the development teams needed to implement next. I’m not the only one receiving calls…

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Building a Requirements Foundation with Customer Interviews

© 2004-2010 Esther Derby This article originally appeared in my newsletter, insights.  You can sign up to receive my newsletter using the form on the right. “Our customer doesn’t know what he wants,” complained Sandy. “I try to get him to talk about the product and tell me what he wants, but it’s like pulling teeth.”…

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Seven Lessons from a Top-Down Change

© 2007-2010 Esther Derby This article originally appeared in my newsletter, insights.  You can sign up to receive my newsletter using the form on the right. You’d think that since I’m president of a one-person company, I could change anything in my office in a snap. But a recent incident reminded me that change is…

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