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Episode 157 - Helping Tech Teams Get Closer to "The Business" with Effective Conversations (with Douglas Squirrel, Founder @ Squirrel Squared & Co-Author "Agile Conversations")

Product Culture
Team Building

Episode 157: Helping Tech Teams Get Closer to "The Business" with Effective Conversations

Douglas Squirrel, Founder @ Squirrel Squared & Co-Author "Agile Conversations"

18 December 2022

Proudly sponsored by

One Knight Consulting
18 December 2022 Douglas Squirrel head shot

Listen here!

Content Warning - May Contain Adult Language or Themes
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Proudly sponsored by

One Knight Consulting

About the Episode

Douglas Squirrel, or Squirrel to his friends, is a long-time tech and agile consultant who claims to have been fired from every CTO job he's ever had. He's here to try to get tech teams closer to "the business", promote constructive tension to make better decisions, and have effective conversations across the organisation. He's also the co-author of a practical playbook on the same topics, "Agile Conversations".

A message from this episode's sponsor - One Knight Consulting

This episode is sponsored by One Knight Consulting. Spoiler alert, that’s me! I started One Knight Consulting because I have seen variations of the same problems plaguing product companies and I’ve seen them again and again. If you’re looking to get an independent diagnosis of your business with actionable next steps, trying to hire product people or coaching the ones you’ve already got, you can book a call with me. We can discuss your needs and how I can help.

Episode highlights:

Tech teams need to get closer to "the business" and care about profit

Companies hire expensive engineers then get them into endless discussions about nothing, and lock them into backlogs. If engineers are given full business context, they can help to change the world.

Leaders need to get used to less control to get more productivty

Teams need to stop planning. It's less like a fire-and-forget rocket ride to a predetermined destination, and more like being on the Enterprise and responding to interesting signals from nearby planets.

We can increase trust with stakeholders with "Test Driven Development for People"

You can structure conversations with sceptical stakeholders like a series of tests and follow a process to build trust outside of the technology organisation. There's a method and it works.

It's important for teams to be accountable, but not to be held accountable

"Accountability" is often used as a stick to hit teams with by untrusting managers looking to maintain control. Teams can work with stakeholders to maintain buy-in and engagement.

Everyone can do something to improve their situation

It's no good complaining about your company or stakeholders, blaming them for everything & having a defeatist attitude. By having constructive conversations, everyone has a chance of affecting the change they want to see.

Buy "Agile Conversations"

Agile Conversations cover

"Agile Conversations brings a practical, step-by-step guide to using the human power of conversation to build effective, high-performing teams to achieve truly Agile results. Consultants Douglas Squirrel and Jeffrey Fredrick show readers how to utilize the Five Conversations to help teams build trust, alleviate fear, answer the “whys,” define commitments, and hold everyone accountable.These five conversations give teams everything they need to reach peak performance, and they are exactly what’s missing from too many teams today. "

Check it out on Amazon.

Join the Squirrel Squadron

If you want to join a free community of tech & non-tech execs who are all learning from each other, check out Squirrel Squadron.

Contact Squirrel

You can connect with Squirrel on LinkedIn or visit his website.

Douglas Squirrel and me before the recording