There are times in life where no matter what happens, you feel like a fraud. Where your inner critic says you aren’t worthy or capable of doing a certain task, even if you’re good at it. I asked a few friends to share some experiences of theirs where their inner imposter spoke over their own skills:
“Sometimes when I’m part of a discussion on politics I just say something and shy away”.
“How can I ask for more pay? I’m nowhere near as good as …”.
“I can’t hold a presentation at [some event]. I’m no expert on this topic”.
“I love pair-programming, but hate when I’m typing. What if they realise I need to google simple things? Would they think less of me?”.
“I can’t write blog posts. People will laugh at my lack of knowledge”.
You’ve probably experienced some thoughts along those lines. You doubt yourself with every brain-cell and are afraid someone will call you out for being a fraud. I know I have. You see, those experiences arent from friends of mine. They’re actually my own.
Yet I know I can do all of them, I get feedback from my friends, peers even strangers confirming the value of what I do. Why is it then so hard to recognize my accomplishments?
Working in a distributed team isn’t easy, especially when members are spread across 4 locations. I was recently part of a team that was doing pretty well, but wasn’t functioning as a cohesive unit. There seemed to be hesitance towards pair-programming sessions, even though doing quick Skype calls seemed to be fine. We were relatively open during retrospectives, but were missing out on the deep conversations.
I had a feeling this was a trust issue, and that spending more time together could help. Sitting in an online meeting doing team-building exercises didn’t seem like the best approach, which is when I stumbled over Mob Programming as a way to both get work done, and build up the team’s collective trust and understanding. Continue Reading
Many software development teams have a process including retrospective meetings. An opportunity for the team to look back at a period of time and assess how it has functioned. It’s often connected to the Scrum, but you don’t need to be adhering to any process / approach to see the value of having retrospective meetings. The goal of the retrospective is learning. What worked? What didn’t work? How can we improve something that’s broken? Should we continue with something that’s working?
Another aspect of the retrospective is that it’s meant to be a safe place for team members to speak their minds. The idea being that given a safe place, a team can figure out its own problems and possibly even solutions.
To create that safe place there needs to be trust. Enough trust so that team members can be candid with each other about issues that arise while working together. Enough trust that allows the team members to be vulnerable, and know that they won’t be judged. Where blame isn’t handed out, but rather bonds created and learnings are formed.
But how do we create a space in the busy life of a software development team, where deadlines and bugs are commonplace and there’s often a pressure to deliver something that will create value? Continue Reading
I recently wrote about candor as a better way to achieve truly open and honest communication. Candor Inc created the framework of “Radical Candor” as a way to categorize your feedback and communication.
What I didn’t do in my previous post, is dive into how the different ways of communicating actually would sound like. In this post I’ll explore the framework more deeply and also look at an example.
Working in any team environment will involve communication between its members. To really bring the best out in others and yourself, having a culture of where honesty is important. It’s also something almost anybody will verbally agree to. Yet being open and honest in a good way is extremely hard. How often do you refrain from saying something completely honestly because you don’t want to embarrass someone. Or what about the time somebody called you out on something in front of the team? Sure you may have needed that feedback, but what happens to your relationship with that person? What about the team dynamics?
Blunt honesty can not only be harsh, but downright devastating to hear. How then are we meant to move beyond the complications of honest communication and get to a place where our being honest actually provides room for everyone to grow? Continue Reading
The video in question is #43 in the funfunfunction series and addresses a very important subject: “Does a developer need to be nice?”. I’ve written a summary of the video, and added a few of my thoughts a the end.