Wednesday, October 28, 2015

They Vs. We (Part 2)

This post has been a loooong time coming and is the follow up to my original They Vs. We post in 2014. Sorry! I highly recommend reading that first and then coming back to this.

I've been paying much closer attention to those around me at work and in the community. I've become increasingly convinced that "We" vs "They" is a very powerful indicator of how closely someone identifies to the team or community they are in; "they" is a really bad sign in anyone other than a brand new team member.

From the last post:

"We" implies that you're one of the team. The goals of the team are your goals. The risks the team faces are your risks. You're engaged. "They" implies you're not connected to the team. You're an outsider who isn't committed.

That's all great, so what can I do?

I've written and deleted multiple posts worth of content at this point because either my opinions have changed, or the things I wrote seemed like common sense. Instead of giving you a bulleted list of the things your team needs to do to improve, I've come up with on single thing that you should focus on. Please pardon my language.


The more I think about this, the more I've come to believe that the single most important thing a leader can do to help his or her team is simply care about the team and the people in it. Leaders who care about the needs, wants and challenges of their team members seem to naturally build healthier teams.

This is harder than it seems. You probably don't have enough time or emotional energy to become best friends with everyone you have to work with. Caring about people can be exhausting, and teams can grow much faster than personal relationships can scale. So what do you do?

First, pay attention to problems

Make it clear that you'll listen and try to help whenever someone is having a problem. Sometimes you can fix little things that have a big impact. However, sometimes people will want something you can't give them, or be struggling with a weight you can't remove. Sometimes you will have to tell people "No".

Regardless of the solution (or lack), you'll get a lot of credit for listening and caring.

Second, share how you make decisions

People have a lot of capacity for going along with decisions they don't agree with if they understand why they were made. On the flip side, people can be extremely resistant when they feel like a bad decision is being forced on them.

If you have to tell someone "No", or make a decision people may not like, give them insight into why. You may be surprised with how they empathize with your situation and see your point of view.

Third, make "team" a stated priority

Make it clear that "we" is important, and ask your team members to help grow the team as whole. They may be aware of problems that you don't know about, or see simple changes that can improve the health of the team.

It's a bit circular, but you can strengthen your team and pull people into it by making them responsible for strengthening it in the first place.

So that's it

That's all I have. I had hoped to provide a lot more insight, but the more I think about it, the more I think it's pretty simple.

Please tell me in the comments if you disagree!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Dog Food 2015

Thank you to everyone that came to my Dog Food 2015 talk about ES6/ES2015 today. You can find my slides (and the little server that does the AJAX stuff) here.

You need to have Node.js installed. Once you do, the readme should take you the rest of the way. If you run into any issues, use the contact form or send me a tweet @jaredthenerd and I'll be glad to help.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Slides from Louisville .NET Meetup Group

Thanks to everyone who attended my talk on ES6/ES2015 tonight! You can find my slides and directions on how to run them on GitHub here:

You can run the slides/index.html without Node installed, but to run the server for AJAX requests, you'll need it. You can find instructions on how to get it working in the Readme file.

I've uploaded the slides to an Azure website here: Unfortunately, I haven't spent the time yet to wire the server side up yet. If you want to play with promises, you should probably run local.

Thanks again for coming and seeing a rough new talk. I had a great time and would love to come back!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Humana DEC

I had a great time joining Humana's Digital Experience Center today to talk about software estimation. The space was awesome and I was really impressed by the turnout and engagement. I hope everyone got value out of the talk and have some new estimation tools in their toolbelts.

Feel free to invite me back anytime. I'm always looking for an excuse to visit Louisville!


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Findlay Area .NET Users Group Slides & Info

Thank you to Brian Cobb (@brianjcobb) and the Findlay Area .NET Users Group ( for inviting me to join their group last night. I hope my talk on the F12 debugging tools was helpful and maybe a bit entertaining.

If you're looking for the slides (using RevealJS), they're on Github here: Once downloaded, you can load index.html to see the entire slide deck.

You can also view a live version of the slides online here:

I mentioned a few conferences I help with. If you're interested in any of them, more details are as follows:

  • Stir Trek - 1 day, multi topic development conference in the spring for 1500+ people. The conference is followed by a movie (this year it was Avengers)
  • CloudDevelop - 1 day, cloud computing/dev-ops/big data focused conference for 150-200 people.
  • Dog Food - 2 day, Microsoft technology conference that covers a wide variety of topics for 500+ attendees.
I hope to run into you again at one of these events or another user group!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Self.conference Estimation Slides

Had a great time today at Self.conference talking about software estimation. Thank you to everyone who came to the talk. I'd love to hear feedback here or on Twitter!

A few links:

Friday, May 1, 2015

Stir Trek Slides

Thanks to everyone who attended my Stir Trek talk on software estimation. You should be able to find the slides here.

If you're looking for the book I referenced towards the beginning of the talk, it's Software Estimation: Demystifying the Black Art.