Your Backlog Isn’t a To-Do List – It’s Self-fulfilling Prophecy of Success or Failure

Your backlog is an imperfect, always changing, self-fulfilling prophecy for how your software will be built. Not only that, but at a software consultancy like Atomic, it’s also a prophecy for how the engagement will end and deliver on your brand promise.

All this to say: Tending to the backlog is one of the most important activities development leaders can engage in to ensure a project goes well overall. Read more on Your Backlog Isn’t a To-Do List – It’s Self-fulfilling Prophecy of Success or Failure…

Five Reasons You’ll Be Asked to Cancel Sprint Retros – and Why to Say No

The sprint retrospective is one of the main Agile ceremonies. By definition, it is an opportunity for the team to reflect on the work completed over a short period of time and make changes. However important that may seem, eventually, you’ll consider canceling your team retros. Read more on Five Reasons You’ll Be Asked to Cancel Sprint Retros – and Why to Say No…

Five Steps for Tying Up a Project Unexpectedly Cut Short

As consultants, we always have to be prepared for the unexpected. In rare cases, the surprise can be that a project is suddenly wrapping up. This can happen for a number of reasons. It could be a clerical error in accounting that resulted in the project unexpectedly reaching the limit of its budget. It could be that a planned project extension was canceled due to unforeseen circumstances.

These situations can be unsettling for both the consultants and the client. Read more on Five Steps for Tying Up a Project Unexpectedly Cut Short…

Navigating the Rough Seas of Cultural & Technological Changes

When companies make technological changes to keep pace with their industry, they inevitably have to make culture and process changes, too. And those are often significantly more difficult.

I was struck recently by similarities between modern corporate culture changes and those described by Dan Carlin in one episode of his Hardcore History podcast. Read more on Navigating the Rough Seas of Cultural & Technological Changes…

Wizard Consultant Skills – Protection Spells for Saying “No”

Atomic is home to lots of very high-level wizards. Their abilities and specialties span the whole of the software craftsmanship space, and each one has their own skill set to leverage when tackling the many unique problems that come through our door.

I’m not a very high-level wizard yet, but I’ve found that deliberately striving to steal/pick up spells/skills from others as I observe them has been a pretty productive way to level up. Read more on Wizard Consultant Skills – Protection Spells for Saying “No”…

Three Things to Remember when Ramping in New Team Members

Having new team members join a project is an exciting time, but it can often be difficult. Projects can have a huge variety of things to learn: new technologies, application architecture patterns, business models, etc., so it’s good to find a balance between ramping them up quickly and overwhelming them. Read more on Three Things to Remember when Ramping in New Team Members…

Seven Quick Strategies for Effective Scrum Stand-Up Meetings

The daily stand-up meeting is an important component of the SCRUM process. It helps the whole team stay in-sync and up-to-date on what’s happening with the project, and it alerts everyone to blockers as soon as they become an issue. However, if you do a stand-up meeting wrong, it can become a real drag—and a time-waster. Read more on Seven Quick Strategies for Effective Scrum Stand-Up Meetings…

A People Management Perspective on Self-Managing Teams

At Atomic, we describe our project teams as self-managing. I recently read The One Thing You Need to Know…About Great Managing, Great Leading and Sustained Individual Success with a group of others at Atomic. The book got me thinking more about that description of our teams and some different perspectives on self-management. Read more on A People Management Perspective on Self-Managing Teams…

Creating Psychological Safety Leads to Happy Teams

Have you ever loved being part of a team? It’s a great feeling. Often, it doesn’t even matter what you’re working on as a group. Everyone shows up to work with enthusiasm, and all members support one another. The feeling of being on the team makes you excited to go to work every day. You could be digging ditches in the rain, but as long as you get to do it with that team, it’s going to be a positive, inspiring experience. Read more on Creating Psychological Safety Leads to Happy Teams…

Six Ways to Ensure People Don’t Dread Your Meeting

Meetings fill a lot of our working days, yet most people dread them or don’t understand why they have to attend so many. I haven’t confirmed this with Google, but I think meetings are in the running as the subject of the most memes. (Spoiler: None say, “Please schedule another meeting!” without sarcasm.) I have a theory, though, that the people who hate meetings just have not attended many that are well-run and productive. Read more on Six Ways to Ensure People Don’t Dread Your Meeting…