Collaboration in Agile Teams

Sharing what I learned from the “Collaboration & Communication Tools for Agile Team Leaders” webinar, hosted by Seattle Puget Sound Chapter, Project Management Institute (PMI).

Agile in project management is a process used to monitor a project throughout its life cycle. Agile  life cycles are composed of incremental steps, adapting to changes and repeating cycles to measure the process while working towards project completion. The Agile process is used in software development to define requirements and developing solutions throughout the collaborative effort, cross-functional teams and end users.

The webinar focused on ‘Collaboration’ which involves consensus brokered by a facilitator to engage partnership and alignment within the team. Trust is important when cultivating a team. People are more productive when they feel safe and can team members can take risks and make mistakes without a blame culture. Lack of trust within a team can be a result of technology, lack of transparency, egos, or poor communication. Culture change starts with us through processes and procedures.

Build a Psychological Safety Net
  • Create working agreements and establish boundaries
  • Be vulnerable; acknowledge your own vulnerabilities
  • Frame the work as a learning problem, not an execution issue
  • Ask a lot of questions

Leading teams implementing the Agile process in a remote environment has its own set of challenges. Face to Face communication is the best method to convey your message to your team. Listen, be in the moment and practice empathy. As a leader, trying to understand another persons point of view can be challenging. It is critical to listen to different approaches to solve a problem, especially with tight schedules.

The webinar introduced a few tools for Agile process for Project Management, I listed them below.

Agile Tools

Playtime in March

March winds chill the air

Ducks swim

People watch

Three Ducks

It was a beautiful day at the lake and playground. I wanted to be only five. I improvised; I can still act like five at the playground. Climbing the plastic mountain. Traversing across yellow and orange steps with glee.

I had a blast swinging from the monkey bars and sliding through tunnels and slides into the dirt. I did skip past puddles as I dashed towards the swing set. Swinging back and forth was uplifting.

Being silly is good for the heart and overall health Play promotes an inner joy that we tend to suppress as adults when we focus on responsibilities from daily life. It is time for a break from the dull routine.

When was the last time you played as if you were only five?

Embrace Change

We choose to embrace change, or to go with the safety net of familiarity. – Seth Grodin, It Is Your Turn to Lead, and It Is Always Your Turn to Lead

These words quoted by Seth Grodin are encapsulated in my brain as I am preparing for Memphis GiveCamp 2021, as a project manager overseeing three teams.

GiveCamp

GiveCamp organizations host weekend-long “hackathons” for good throughout the year in cities across the United States. During Memphis GiveCamp hackathon, there were programmers, designers, software developers, project managers, and technical support, were donating their time to build websites, apps, and software tools for non-profit organizations in the Memphis area.

Working with a fellow GiveCamp organization virtually offers new challenges, ideas and creative answers, forced by the dynamic push to build virtual platforms in the “Cloud”, in a socially distance world. Leadership and teams work past hurdles over the weekend on the virtual platform Teams by Microsoft. The projects entailed designing websites, creating forms, and building apps. We have 34 projects and over 200 volunteers.

My past experiences at GiveCamp and other hackathons taught me that collaboration, critical thinking, planning and optimism can lead to developing a working product for the end user by the end of a weekend. Embrace change and follow where it leads you.

Memphis GiveCamp 2021

Project status for Sunday morning at Memphis GiveCamp, volunteers were scurrying to finish and test their final products. It was amazing to watch creative and technical talent merge across time zones and countries. Volunteers were working around the world from Seattle to Nigeria. Closing ceremonies showcased the weekend accomplishments for over 30 projects. Great job everyone!

Positivity Check

“In life’s vicissitudes, there is golf, music and macaroni”, I read this quote on a tombstone years ago. It still makes me smile. Starting this work week with smiles, happiness and positivity.

“Love is that condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.” ― Robert A. Heinlein

“A smile puts you on the right track. A smile makes the world a beautiful place. When you lose your smile, you lose your way in the chaos of life.” ― Roy T. Bennett

“When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.”
 Helen Keller

Forms 1099-NEC and 1099-MISC

Non Employee Compensation

The Form 1099-NEC, Nonemployee Compensation, is used to report non employee compensation, non qualified deferred compensation and cash payments for fish. Form 1099-NEC is a new form for tax year 2020 for nonemployee compensation of $600 or more to a payee. 

Miscellaneous Income

Form-1099-MISC  is used to report rents, royalties, awards, prizes and other payable income. The creation of Form 1099-NEC, resulted in a revision to Form 1099-MISC, and box numbers for reporting income were changed. Visit the IRS website to read Instructions for Forms 1099-NEC and 1099-MISC

Schedule D

Schedule D, IRS Form 8949

If you file a Schedule D with a Form 1040; you will need to file a Form 8949, Sales and Other Dispositions of Capital Assets. Schedule D / Form 8949 Instructions .

This allows you to reconcile with the IRS, the amounts that were reported to you and IRS on Forms 1099-B or 1099-S (substitute statements) with the amounts you report on your return. This is a new form.

Snow Day for Birds

Snow day for the birds

A snowstorm in February in the Pacific Northwest is not uncommon. February 2021 has been an exception this time with birds flying past my window. Usually, I do not have this much bird activity. There is approximately a foot snow in my neighborhood: strapped on my snowshoes yesterday for an afternoon adventure. Here are my favorites.

Burke Gilman Trail

Posting photos of the Burke-Gilman Trail, a 27 mile (43km) multi-use recreational trail in King County, Washington. This trail is a popular recreational route for walkers, runners, cyclists, skaters and commuters. These photos are from the North side of Lake Washington, also known as the Log Boom Park. This trail is part of the historical railway corridor. I ride my bike and walk this trail year round; on a clear day you can see Mount Rainier. 

Drinking Fountain
American Wigeons, Ducks and American Coots
Two Ducks
Nature in Action
Community

Who Is the Disabled One

“Part of the problem with the word ‘disabilities’ is that it immediately suggests an inability to see or hear or walk or do other things that many of us take for granted. But what of people who can’t feel? Or talk about their feelings? Or manage their feelings in constructive ways? What of people who aren’t able to form close and strong relationships? And people who cannot find fulfillment in their lives, or those who have lost hope, who live in disappointment and bitterness and find in life no joy, no love? These, it seems to me, are the real disabilities.”
― Fred Rogers, The World According to Mister Rogers: Important Things to Remember

Maybe its time to alter our perspective

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