Rank #1: Getting Started, with Confidence
I'm often asked, "How can I get started in software development?" My reply is always, "Find a problem you wish to solve, and then learn just enough to solve that problem." Learning by identifying and solving problems that are meaningful to the learner avoids endless learning without doing, and provides the motivation to keep going in the face of challenges presented by ambiguity and unfamiliarity. Best of all, it builds confidence along side capabilities.
Jul 06 2020
Rank #2: Never Rewrite
Rapidly evolving languages, frameworks and paradigms mean that when we look back on old code we instinctively want to rewrite it -- because now we know a better way to implement it! However, rewriting code is almost always an anti-pattern that overburdens teams and results in burn-out. Incremental progress toward a desired end state is the antidote.
This video is based on an article that I wrote here:
Jun 18 2020
Rank #3: Relentless Pursuit of Simplicity
A relentless pursuit of simplicity is the discipline to say no to an idea despite the potential it might hold, a dedication to simplicity for the end user despite the difficulty in delivering that, and the vigilance to divest non-core activities and reclaim those resources to power innovation of your core product.
Jun 11 2020
Rank #4: Mental Models
Mental Models allow us to step inside the mind of the user to uncover their intent, expectations and extenuating circumstances. The key to building a great app or service that your customers will love is to understand and leverage their mental model.
This video is based on the article I wrote at https://jameswilson.io/mental-models/
Jun 04 2020
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Rank #5: Difficult Conversations pt3: Follow Up
When you walk out of the room after a difficult conversation, as the person delivering the message there are some follow up steps that are crucial to making sure your message drives the change you seek. For the person receiving the message, how you respond immediate after you walk out of the room will determine your ability to be successful from this point onward.
This video is based on the article I wrote here:
Jun 01 2020
Rank #6: Difficult Conversations pt2: In The Room
When you walk in to deliver a difficult conversation, the most important thing you can do is to separate the problem from the individual. Explaining the problem you're seeking to resolve in terms of actions and outcomes, and staying away from insinuation of intent, avoids shame and instead puts the other person in a place where they can understand how to grow and learn from this. This is the second of three episodes on Difficult Conversations.
This video is based on an article I wrote here:
It references the work by Dr. Brene Brown on Shame and Guilt:
May 28 2020
Rank #7: Difficult Conversations pt1: Preparation
We make difficult conversations so much worse for everyone by delaying, procrastinating, and ruminating. Don't delay, but do prepare. Own the message and deliver it with conviction. This is the first of 3 episodes on difficult conversations that will focus on preparing, being in the room and following up after a conversation.
The video is based on the article I wrote here:
It references the following books:
May 25 2020
Rank #8: Social Style
Social Style is a typology framework that describes the four archetypal personalities in the workplace: driver, analytical, expressive and amiable. Learning about Social Style helped me identify weaknesses in my own leadership style and provided my colleagues and I with a language and understanding to improve our interactions. It's also quite powerful in a performance management scenario by allowing you to drive separation between the individual and the behavior as a factor of their social style.
This episode is based on an article I wrote here:
And refers to the Social Style framework by TRACOM:
May 22 2020
Rank #9: Agree, Build, Compare (Crucial Conversations)
Never, ever say you disagree! Instead, use the Agree, Build and Compare framework from Crucial Conversations to arrive at agreement. This technique avoids getting dug-in with a defensive posture that leaves you no where to go in the conversation.
This video is based on this article that I wrote:
And the work of Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan and Al Switzler in Crucial Conversations:
May 21 2020
Rank #10: Accountability and Ownership
Structuring an organizing with teams that are assigned ownership of value-drivers (products, features, services), and individuals that are appointed as directly responsible for specific outcomes sets up the foundation for self-organization, empowerment and autonomy. Ownership and accountability are related but crucially different. Ownership refers to what a team is responsible for designing, implementing and supporting. It’s a more permanent construct than accountability which is assigned to an individual for a specific outcome, which may be permanent or until the outcome is achieved. Having clearly defined ownership at the team level and accountability at the individual level empowers the team to self-organize around it’s purpose lead by individuals who have agency to achieve what the business expects from them.
This video is based on the article I wrote here:
May 20 2020