In this episode, Chuck discusses a team he led for a mission-critical software project with structural challenges. The arrival of a new developer from a startup background, while the rest of the team had experience in larger companies, created friction. Misunderstandings arose when the new developer pushed the message "move fast, break things," leading to frustration as the team, and the company were not ready to hear and act on that message. Chuck sought help from his manager, who asked questions to understand the situation. Lessons learned included the importance of setting clear expectations, focusing on people problems, fostering relationships with product managers, and ensuring regulatory clarity. Effective communication and problem-solving within the team were highlighted as crucial elements for success.
In this segment, Chuck recommends the book "The Coaching Habit" by Bungay Stanier, which focuses on the power of asking questions. Chuck highlights that he found seven specific questions from the book to be highly effective in his role. One of these questions is the strategy question: "If I say YES to this, what do I need to say NO to?" This question helps in making thoughtful decisions by considering trade-offs. Chuck also advises staying curious a little bit longer, emphasizing the value of maintaining a curious mindset during coaching conversations.
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About Charles “Chuck” Durfee
Chuck Durfee is an Engineering Manager in the Denver area. He leads teams to deliver quality software on-time and within budget. With expertise as a Scrum Master and Agile Coach, he uses relationships, teamwork, and a pragmatic approach to solve complex business problems. In this episode, we explore his perspective as an engineering leader, and learn what makes a great Scrum Master from the perspective of the leaders they work with.