Talking to People: Changing Patterns in a Shelter-in-Place World
Communicating honestly and effectively with team members and stakeholders is difficult enough when we are face to face. We have the tendency to not express disagreement or bad news, ultimately putting off potentially unpleasant conversations. Due to an ability to put off such discussions in a fully distributed setting, disagreements or software problems can rapidly escalate out of control in a rapid-paced development and testing team. The result can be poor code quality, missed deadlines, and team friction, imperiling the success of the project. Today’s virus pandemic makes it especially challenging for distributed communications. We may have team members temporarily incapacitated, or preoccupied with family members. Working from home also involves dealing with daily family issues, often making it difficult to focus. This presentation discusses the biases we encounter when we never physically work together, how to recognize those biases, and how to overcome them in ourselves and others, and make sure that project status and issues are addressed collaboratively. Attendees learn how to recognize our biases in team communications, how to use distributed communications tools effectively, and how we remain collaborative and work toward common outcomes.
Peter Varhol is a software strategist and evangelist who closely observes the testing industry and uses his knowledge and experience to identify new technologies and help companies respond to those trends. His diverse technical background enables him to seamlessly integrate new technologies into his practices and provides him with a unique vision of how to adapt and succeed. His areas of research and practice include team communication, machine learning, DevOps, testing and test automation, and development tools. His efforts aim to use the latest and best technologies to address real-world problems. Peter speaks frequently at conferences, local meetups, and webinars on software development, testing, machine learning, and DevOps topics. Peter blogs at Cutting Edge Computing, and can be found on Twitter. He has master's degrees in computer science, applied mathematics, and psychology, along with doctoral work in information systems.