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Bob Galen, Principal Agile Coach at Vaco, and Mary Thorn, Agile Practices Lead at Vaco, chat with TechWell Community Manager Owen Gotimer about the challenges of growing new leaders, the impact leaders can have on people’s lives, and how vulnerability can help leaders build trust.

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In an agile world, team members are empowered to make important decisions within the context of the behavioral architecture, without having to ask permission from supervisors or managers. But these supervisors and managers are coming from a lifetime of learning how to succeed in a hierarchical world, so they will need to leave behind those ingrained lessons. In order for agile to be successful at scale, leaders will need to change.

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Mike Sowers, senior consultant and VP of Training with Coveros, discusses the value of attending the STAREAST conference: networking, couch sessions, and being able to discuss common challenges with colleagues. He details conversations about trying to improve personal core competencies along with our teams and organizations, integrating agile and moving into DevOps, and how testing operates in a continuous context. Mike also talks about upcoming conferences and staying ahead of the technology curve through training and learning opportunities.

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Consider how your team currently organizes: for resource efficiency, optimizing for the individual; or for flow efficiency, optimizing for the team? Successful agile teams—distributed or not—should collaborate to optimize the flow of work through the team. This approach lets you understand your capacity, learn together, and deliver more effectively.

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In this interview, Melissa Tondi, senior QA strategist at Rainforest, discusses the foundation you need in order to have a positive introduction for new tools and technologies. She explains why the team leader has to understand what motivates each individual and how to get them excited about their job. Melissa says team members also have to realize that if they are in any way involved in testing software, they are a technologist, so they have to embrace the tools and technology that will continuously improve and streamline repetitive tasks.

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In this interview, Adam Satterfield, director of testing and quality at Anthem, discusses the core components that testers need to understand in order to create a test strategy in an agile environment. He also talks about the need to build better communication skills through active listening. And Adam offers advice on sharing the things you have learned through blogging, writing for sites like the TechWell community sites, or becoming a presenter at a conference, as well as the benefits you can gain from that.

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In this interview, Jason Wick, senior manager at MakeMusic, discusses his STAREAST presentation about eight ways you could be making your one-on-one meetings completely useless. He discusses in depth what he feels is the number one way to ruin these meetings: holding back on feedback. He also offers advice on how you can educate your team leader to avoid the pitfalls that lead to ineffective one-on-ones.

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Storytelling in business is about sharing the context—explaining different aspects of the same information through different perspectives, such as the customer’s wishes or various internal department needs. The more each person shares their point of view, the more the knowledge deepens, which provides a solid story in a business context. Here's how storytelling can help your agile team.

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Adam Auerbach, VP of Quality Engineering at EPAM Systems, chats with TechWell Community Manager Owen Gotimer about what how an inexperienced team can start its agile transformation, the value of stand-ups and retrospectives, and how to make remote teams feel more connected.

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In this interview, Bob Galen, principal agile coach at Vaco Agile, talks about the importance of getting rid of silos by breaking down the barriers of “them and us” and becoming “we.” He also discusses the need for agile managers to steer away from a tactical management view toward a more strategic leadership view. That means leading their teams by setting expectations and guidelines and being available to help if needed, but ultimately just trusting their teams to get the job done.

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