Posted on

We Have Two COHAA Events this Week and You’re Invited!

Hey, if you’ve ever been interested in speaking at a COHAA event, come Thursday night to learn how. Those who typically speak at events are local Agile practitioners, like you. You don’t have to be an established speaker or anything like that, just willing to share your Agile experiences and expertise. Many professionals in the area could greatly benefit from what you know or have picked up along the way. So, if you’re interested come and learn the ropes. 

If speaking is not your thing, come anyway. COHAA events are always a good opportunity to network with like-minded Agilists and find out what they’re up to. And who knows, maybe at the end of the evening, you’ll decide that, actually, you would like to speak someday. 

Can’t make Thursday night? That’s OK. If you’re more of a morning person, this Friday a.m., COHAA is kicking off the Agile Coaching Circle. This is the first of ongoing monthly meetings where Agile coaches and those interested in Agile coaching can meet and talk about… well, Agile coaching. It’s a great way to hang out with people who do what you do (or want to do) and learn from each other. See you there!


Posted on

Is Your Software-Delivery Team Effective?

Last month’s COHAA event had a good turnout. Those who attended got to eat Bibibop, hang with local techies, and hear software developer and tech lead Jason Blackhurst speak on effective team building.

So, what’s the secret to having an effective software-delivery team?

You might conclude that the best teams simply consist of a group of your company’s most talented people. Not necessarily so. Google did a study on effective team building and identified 5 traits that effective teams have:


People want to know that their work matters. Effective teams grasp the tangible impact their collaborated efforts have. Teams that know this tend to produce better work. They are focused on the positive change they are producing, which boosts self-worth.


People also want their work to have personal meaning. Effective teams have team members who personally buy in to the roles, plans and goals of the team. Team members also believe that their role is important to the team’s success.

Jason mentioned the “Hero Developer.” You may have one on your team. Heck, you may even be one. This is the person everyone, perhaps even unconsciously, goes to to get stuff done. Because this person is so effective, the hero shoulders most of the work while his teammates are reduced to mere supporting mechanisms of his or her efforts.

This is bad. Others on the team feel their work is less meaningful, which leads to lower moral, less team collaboration and, ultimately, lower quality work.

Structure and clarity

Effective teams have structure and clarity. Team members with clear understanding and agreement of their roles and responsibilities can confidently pour their energy into tasks they own, rather than waste time trying to figure out what they are supposed to be doing or, worse, duplicating another team member’s work.


Team members must be able to depend on each other. A short-timer who is counting the days to retirement and has stopped pulling his weight can do serious harm to a team. Never mind that you now have five people doing the job of six. If the team perceives no one cares about the slacker’s work ethic, the problem can become contagious. Others might think it’s OK to let their work slide some too.

When Jason asked the room to share our experiences, one guy shared a story about a co-worker at an old job years ago who had an offsite manager. This person had gone to great lengths to doing nothing. For instance, he figured out a way to systematically send out pre-written emails throughout the day to look like he was working, when, really, he was out taking a “long lunch.”

Jason said that sometimes an honest conversation is in order. Talk to the offender privately about his or her work – or lack of work – and see if this turns things around. Are these conversations awkward? Sure. But at least you’ll save your team.

Psychological safety

The most important team trait, however, is psychological safety. Team members must feel safe enough to speak up. Effective teams make it comfortable for everyone to be vulnerable, ask questions (even “stupid ones”), express concerns, offer ideas and so on.

A person in the room offered up a personal story about a time when the scrum master was also the manager of those on the team. This hurt the team’s psychological safety because people felt reluctant to say things that the manager might not like.

When every team member can freely engage in the conversation, teams become more unified, and better solutions, creativity and problem-prevention result.

If your team is underperforming, or even if it has room for potential, try focusing on these 5 Google traits. It could lead to happier workers and better software, which is no small thing.

Posted on

The Path to Agility Conference 2016


Registration is now open!!!


COHAA is excited to announce our 2016 The Path to Agility Conference, featuring The Path to Craftsmanship. The conference will be held on Wednesday, May 25th and Thursday, May 26th.


The conference website is continually being updated as we add more sessions. We have an exciting lineup of speakers, workshops, and panels scheduled. We will also have Open Space sessions and a code retreat covering practices and lessons learned in Agile, Lean, DevOps, and Organizational Change Management frameworks.


The conference will be held at the Ohio Union. The venue page on the conference site does provide a list of hotels and restaurants located nearby. The conference retrospective & happy hour (After the Path) will occur on Thursday at the Big Bar immediately after the closing keynote on Thursday.


The speaker and session content is being updated on a daily basis, so please check the website regularly.


We have several authors speaking this year. Our closing keynote will be Jason Womack, international speaker and productivity expert. We plan to include a free copy of his latest book, How to Start When You’re Stuck (Wiley, 2016) to the first 250 registered attendees. A book signing will be planned on Wednesday. We plan on providing additional books from our other speakers, so please do register early to be eligible.


If your organization plans to send a number of associates to the conference, we can help facilitate the registration process. A conference redeem code can be created based on the num ber and type of tickets you plan to approve. An invoice will be generated by COHAA and payment must be received by April 30th.


The redeem code can be used by your associates during the registration process. We can provide a report of individuals signed up with the registration code on request.


Contact to setup.


See you in May!