Collaboration Explained: Facilitation Skills for Software Project Leaders Review

Collaboration Explained: Facilitation Skills for Software Project Leaders
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A challenge faced by any project leader is how to lead the team without resorting to a command-and-control management style. This book's essential premise is that the project leader can do this by fostering collaboration among team members. Jean Tabaka's Collaboration Explained is really two books in one. The first explains the benefits of collaborating and why project leaders need to foster collaboration among their teams if those teams are to perform at a high level.

The second, and by far longest, part of Collaboration Explained is a compendium of techniques that will foster team collaboration and will help the reader become a more collaborative leader. Any reader will finish this part having learned new techniques. Nominally this book is about team decision making and so most of the book is about the various decisions teams make and how the project leader can ensure that the team makes the best decision. Covered are decisions about project requirements, estimates, priorities, vision, resolving conflict and more. Tabaka provides both general purpose advice that can be used in many contexts as well as very specific advice for each of the contexts or meetings she describes.

This book is well-placed in a series devoted to agile software development. However, it is important to point out that the techniques covered here will be applicable to any team with any development process. Any project leader who wants to help his or her team work better together will benefit from reading this book.

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"Collaboration Explained is a deeply pragmatic book that helps agile practitioners understand and manage complex organizational and team dynamics. As an agile coach, I've found the combination of straightforward advice and colorful anecdotes to be invaluable in guiding and focusing interactions with my teams. Jean's wealth of experience is conveyed in a carefully struck balance of reference guides and prose, facilitating just-in-time learning in the agile spirit. All in all, a superb resource for building stronger teams that's fit for agile veterans and neophytes alike." -Arlen Bankston, Lean Agile Practice Manager, CC Pace "If Agile is the new ‘what,' then surely Collaboration is the new ‘how.' There are many things I really like about Jean's new book. Right at the top of the list is that I don't have to make lists of ideas for collaboration and facilitation anymore. Jean has it all. Not only does she have those great ideas for meetings, retrospectives, and team decision-making that I need to remember, but the startling new and thought-provoking ideas are there too. And the stories, the stories, the stories! The best way to transfer wisdom. Thanks, Jean!" -Linda Rising, Independent ConsultantThe Hands-On Guide to Effective Collaboration in Agile ProjectsTo succeed, an agile project demands outstanding collaboration among all its stakeholders. But great collaboration doesn't happen by itself; it must be carefully planned and facilitated throughout the entire project lifecycle. Collaboration Explained is the first book to bring together proven, start-to-finish techniques for ensuring effective collaboration in any agile software project. Since the early days of the agile movement, Jean Tabaka has been studying and promoting collaboration in agile environments. Drawing on her unsurpassed experience, she offers clear guidelines and easy-to-use collaboration templates for every significant project event: from iteration and release planning, through project chartering, all the way through post-project retrospectives. Tabaka's hands-on techniques are applicable to every leading agile methodology, from Extreme Programming and Scrum to Crystal Clear. Above all, they are practical: grounded in a powerful understanding of the technical, business, and human challenges you face as a project manager or development team member.· Build collaborative software development cultures, leaders, and teams· Prepare yourself to collaborate-and prepare your team· Define clear roles for each participant in promoting collaboration· Set your collaborative agenda· Master tools for organizing collaboration more efficiently· Run effective collaborative meetings-including brainstorming sessions· Promote better small-group and pair-programming collaboration· Get better information, and use it to make better decisions· Use non-abusive conflict to drive positive outcomes· Collaborate to estimate projects and schedules more accurately · Strengthen collaboration across distributed, virtual teams· Extend collaboration from individual projects to the entire development organization

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