I our previous post we discussed why its better to collaborate more often than compete when working within an organization.  Here are smells to watch out for that indicate that competition is getting in the way of collaboration:

  1. “Since the last decision was based on your team’s plan, lets go with our team’s plan this time.”
  2. “Your side got what they wanted”
  3. “I think we’re too far apart to come together”
  4. “We gave in again”
  5. “Don’t give in”
  6. Organizational leaders publicly show they are working with one another but their meetings are high stress and high tension.

Sounds like Congress again eh?  The sad thing is this is the work environment many folks work within today.  I’ve often seen that when working level folks(Congressman, Senators, PM’s, Product Owners, engineers, …etc ) aren’t able to effectively collaborate they fall into competition.  Then solutions to problems begin to get deeply territorial on each side and it becomes more about whose idea it was than what’s best for the program, organization, or country!  Inevitably the dysfunction at the working level is revealed at the leadership level in ugly ways.  Working level folks look to their leaders(Boehner and Obama, group chiefs, division managers) to solve their problems instead of doing their job and solving their own problems collaboratively.  This slows down progress and pits senior leaders against one another.  This is organizational dysfunctional at its finest.

Don’t let this happen to your organization.  Be a part of the solution and be willing to collaborate with your colleagues even when you disagree.  Understand that we’re all part of the same team and we’re only hurting the country or organization when we let unhealthy competition get in the way of constructive collaboration.


Ahhhh the age old question.  Is it better to compete or collaborate?  Over time I have found that each serve there own purpose in their given circumstances but the reality is 9 times out of 10 collaboration is the answer.

Most of us work within established organizations where are day to day interactions are with colleagues who are part of the same team.  i.e. you’re a part of the same organization.  Therefore finding ways to solve problems together is paramount to the success of the overall organization.  This requires a collaboration to figure out what is best for the organization’s goals and objectives and then moving forward on them.  In other words, figure out where you ought be heading and then get on the bus and drive in one direction.

Too often organizations mask collaboration with unhealthy competition.  Opposing parties get in their corners, close their minds, and clamp down on their ideas.  Unfortunately this leads to super unproductive “collaboration” meetings because no one is willing to listen to the merits of ideas not their own.  Sound familiar?  Yep, you guessed it.  This is exactly how Congress operates.

One thing Americans across the political spectrum are in violent agreement on is the dysfunction and ineffectiveness of Congress.  At the time of this posting, Congress’s approval rating is 15%.  So if we all agree operating like Congress is dysfunctional, then why do we have so many Congressman and Senators running around inside the organizations we work within?

Good question!  I don’t know the answer, but what I do know is when we recognize that we have stopped listening to other’s ideas and hold onto our ideas like spider monkeys, we are putting ourselves above the organization’s goals and objectives.  We need to stop, come out of our corner, in fact, leave the ring all together.  Recognize that we’re on the same team and stop putting so much pride in our ideas.  After all they are more than likely someone else’s regurgitated ideas anyway.  Then take stock of where the organization should be headed and keep dialoging and listening to your colleagues.  Keep sharing new information you’re learning with your colleagues and keep listening as they share new information.  You’ll know you’re there when there isn’t any new ideas or learning to do in order move in a direction.  At this point in the dialog most folks have an appreciation for the ideas that have been presented and a clear direction is evident.  If it’s not, then more than likely pride holding one or more folks.  Gently address the underlying pride and find ways to get towards and informed decision that optimizes the whole organization, not one part.

Make a decision and then measure the results of that decision over time and be willing to change course if it was a bad move.

BTI360 Goes To JMU

November 22, 2013 — Leave a comment


Recently BTI360 took a break from the color orange and tried on purple and gold for an evening.  That’s right, we headed west to the home of the JMU Dukes.  JMU’s football program is not the only thing growing at JMU. Their Computer Science department is also churning out talented young software engineers.

BTI360’s Chief Practices Officer, Clinton Wivell, was invited to “The Valley” to talk to undergraduate and graduate students about real life software engineering practices.  Mr. Wivell talked about Agile software development frameworks and their corresponding engineering practices.  Specifically Mr. Wivell shared with students and faculty his experience using Scrum to manage software projects.

He also shared the importance of engineering practices as it relates to Agile processes and their importance to a business’ ability to gain a competitive advantage by reducing time to market through high quality, rapid development.  Many cutting edge projects are investing in continuous delivery systems to rapidly deploy capabilities as soon as their ready.

Go Dukes!


I found this article thought provoking and worthy of a reference.  Its certainly worth the 8-10 minutes of time to download this into your noggin!

Here’s preview that should be enough to get you to click the link below:

“…there are two general principles which can help us choose good practices while at the same time improving the value of the software we deliver: reduce cycle time and increase feedback.”


Dzone just wrote a great article on why to considering using the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). The five considerations are:

  1. Scaling agile from teams to programs
  2. Handling obstacles, delays, and failures from team dependencies
  3. Providing clarity on management roles in a scaled environment
  4. Aligning a consistent strategy from the division & portfolio levels
  5. Reducing lead times across the enterprise

Check out Josh Fruit’s blog at:


At the end of the day SAFe attracts attention because it continues to provide the mission benefit that clients in both government, business, and non-profit organizations are seeking.