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Pivotal Meetup I had the pleasure last week of seeing Dan Young and Emma Jane Hogbin Westby's talk on Humane Teams at Home and Around the World at the Pivotal London Lunch meetup, and came away with a lot to think about: how different cities do meetups, the choices that we make about how we work with teams, and what information informs those choices.

It's always a delightful experience to see how different cities do different meetups. Even though it was the middle of the week and pouring down rain, over 60 people came to see the talk! The structure of the meetup is around topics interesting to tech, not necessarily the most technical deep dive. It's almost like a bite-sized DevOps Day feeling, in a really lovely space in the Pivotal office.

Pivotal was a great place to be able to host this talk as well, focusing on the differences between co-located and distributed teams. Dan took the side of co-located teams, teams that work all together in one space, and Emma Jane advocated for distributed teams where no one works in the same space and has to rely on virtual tools and collaboration software. Part of the focus for each was that Dan's based in a city, where Emma Jane talked about living in rural areas where there was no co-located options, and learning to work with that in order to work with other teams.

Important takeways:

  • What does it mean to be a humane team? What does an 'unhumane' workplace look like, and how can you, as a manager, help resolve this for your teams? They defined this from a Kent Beck quote in XP Explains: "I had begun to notice that the more humanely I treated myself and others, the more productive we all became."
  • Working as a humane team means living by your values, and for Dan that means using a framework to help define your work. He advocated the Extreme Programming framework as something that was effective for him and his teams, Emma Jane talked about the Agile Manifesto as a way to be able to identify common values between teams.
  • Most importantly for me, I loved the clarification that you, as an employee, don't get to choose your workstyle between colocated and distributed, you choose companies. Alternatively, as a founder, you get to chose the shared values of how your team will function - but as an employee, your choice is applied in a different way.

Finally, they left the audience with a github link for slides, which is probably my favorite new way to leave slides, and so I'll leave it here for you all as well.

Image courtesy of Amye Scavarda.


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