Agile Podcast #3 – Time for Learning
This is transcript of the podcast. Download it here.
Hello and welcome to the third episode of the Agile Podcast. I’m André Faria your host.
In this episode I’m gonna talk about the importance of having time for thinking and learning. On last November, Lisa Crispin has written a nice post about this subject. She mentioned some insights that she had, attending a Linda Rising talk.
Many people says they don’t have time for thinking and learning, but probably, they aren’t analyzing the root cause of their problems, and fixing them.
In order to have a good learning environment, it’s important that we don’t criticize or blame our teammates. Every team member should feel safe to raise issues and propose ideas, said Crispin. So the trust between team members is essential.
According to Crispin, a very nice approach related to learning is the Google’s 20% rule! Lots of companies, big and small, have done something similar to increase team members professional growth. For example, take Bluesoft, the company that I’m working for. We have a program called Bluesoft Labs (unfortunately all the videos are only in portuguese) that gives each team member 4 hours a week to study something that he or she thinks could be useful for the team, then the person presents what was learned in a talk of 45 minutes every two months. The talk is recorded and then published in our website, so it can also help other developers from other companies too.
Most of the people get books to read and them prepare a presentation about it. Clean Code, Working Effectively With Legacy Code, Refactoring Databases, The Toyota Way, and Lean Software Development are some examples of the books that have already been read and presented. This program really helped people to get into learning, and the challenge of presenting to the other team members gives every person a bigger sense of responsibility.
Try considering if a similar approach could be useful in your team. In fact, a lot of people says that they are not improving themselves because they don’t have time enough to study. Well, you know, it might be just an excuse. But giving the people the time to get into learning, and a helping the team to get accountable for their improvement as professionals, can really change the scenario and performance of a software development team.
There are also several other things like pair programming, coding dojos, attending conferences, participating in open source projects, agile retrospectives and book clubs that can help a lot to create a good learning environment to a software developer team. We are gonna talk more about those on the next episodes.
Well, I guess that’s all for today. Thank you very much for listen, and please post your comments, questions and feedback. Let me know what you think. I’m André Faria, great to have you listening. I’ll talk too you again next week.