Reading List: 3rd January 2016

For my first reading list of 2016 I’m still catching up from the last few weeks of 2015 when I didn’t get to make any posts. This post contains articles on the role of testers in agile teams, the real rules of life, a brief history of Yahoo, #noprojects (read below to find out more!), radical candor, unicorns v donkeys and how project managers can be an agent for agile change.

As usual if you have any thoughts or comments on the articles, please leave one below.

Role of Testers in Agile Teams

When you’re making the transition to an agile process it’s often not quite clear how people’s roles will change. This interview takes a look at the role of a tester in an agile team – something we have personally been practicing (with our own pitfalls and learnings) for the last couple of years. Thanks to my QA lead Le Phil for mentioning.

The problem isn’t that life is unfair — it’s that you don’t know the rules

An interesting look at the real rules of life. Even though it’s not really an amazing reality check to find this out, it’s nice to see someone pointing it out in an easy to see accessible way!

Once Upon a Time, Yahoo was the Most Important Internet Company

Wired takes an interesting look at the history of Yahoo. Something to learn for all companies who believe they are unstoppable and at the top of their game! Never stop moving!

TED: Talks on How to Love Work Again

A playlist of TED talks on how to love work again. Valuable watching for anyone who influences the work of others. It has been proven time and again that happiness = a better, more productive business. What are you waiting for? Learn from others and put it into action!

#noprojects – If you need to start a project, you’ve already failed

It’s been a theme of my articles recently that we should focus on products, no projects. This even appears on the ThoughtWorks Radar for the last couple of quarters in the adopt sector. This article takes a look at the reasons why, in far more detail, projects are just wrong. Personally working in an organisation where much revolves around projects, I can definitely see the pitfalls raised – now I just need to work out how to persuade others to change!

What Makes Joy,Inc Work? Part 1 – the Menlo Way

I like to read and learn about companies doing things differently and creating new ways of working. This three part article looks at Menlo, a software design company, and how they’ve created their way of working. I do take it with a pinch of salt, especially in the consulting space, where everyone is looking for ways to be different and stand out – but there are some interesting points it makes. If nothing else, it allows you to see how others do things and what has worked for them.

Radical Candor – The surprising Secret to Being a Good Boss

There are many people that tell you the secrets to being a ‘good boss’. Since being a leader I’ve seen this often depends on the people you’re leading. I really like the advice from this article around giving candid feedback. In reality, think about it, if you don’t tell someone, how will they work it out themselves! I’ll be looking to practice this with my teams throughout they year!

Unicorns v Donkeys: Your Handy Guide for Distinguishing Who’s Who

You’ll have noted that if you regularly read this column I often raise articles about unicorns. Last week I also read an article from Paul Graham of Y Combinator about growth in start-ups. This article shows (with full mathematical working) how to judge if a company will be a unicorn or a donkey. Interestingly the author looks at companies currently valued as unicorns – and suggests they might be donkeys. Let’s see who will be right!

How Project Managers can be a Positive Agent for Agile

I’ve worked with a few project managers in my career and have seen good PM’s and bad PM’s. What I’ve struggled to see is a PM who really buys into agile, and still reverts back to their old, traditional ways. This article is an interview with an agile project manager looking at ways in which PM’s can be a positive agent for change. I personally feel that if project managers want to have a long term (10+) year career working with technology projects they need to consider what skills and techniques will be valuable – and I don’t believe it will be the ones they currently practice in most cases.

Image courtesy of Charis Tsevis on Flikr (licensed under Creative Commons)