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Seb Anthony

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Quicker resolution of projects through better interpersonal skills


We have been approached to coach IT project teams to implement improved soft and interpersonal skills in the extremely niche and geeky world of software testers. They are an extremely cranial and intraverted group of workers who tend to operate in silos.
The concept is to coach improvements such as conflict management and communication skills etc. so projects do not run on too long and become non - cost effective.
If anyone has any thoughts or experiences on this testing subject,we'd be delighted to hear.
chris whelan

5 Responses

  1. not sure that this IS an answer to YOUR request but…
    I had a similar issue a few years ago and I got the folks to take a Belbin questionnaire.
    I charted the results in plenary session and asked if they could see any glaring issues….”yes” they said, “we don’t have any XX types of people”.
    “What effect might that have?” I asked
    “Well it explains why we ****ed up our last three projects”, came the answer!

    This opened their minds to becoming less introverted, geeky, etc and breaking down the silos.

    I hope this helps

  2. Change recruitment criteria also
    I agree with Rus. I don’t think training will fix this long term. Its likely to be a recruitment issue. If the job has changed and more communicative skills are required this needs to be addressed at recruitment stage. All too often these staff are recruited for technical skills rather than soft skills, its difficult to put them in place afterwards. However hard you try. Root of problem is likely to live elsewhere.

  3. Challenging clients
    We have a diagnostic that we use with Matrix and Complex Environment (MaCE) type organisational structures such as you describe, in fact we ran a program only yesterday for 32 engineering project managers. Feel free to give me a call on 07702 433284 so I can tell you how we do it.
    Regards, Wayne.

  4. Or…
    I’d take a different line to start with, because techies in general are suspicious of tests like Belbin or whatever- they will question the validity. Also, this is more about teamworking, not individual skills. I’ve found that an experiential approach works best – put them into situations where they have to resolve conflict or whatever, then get them to analyse the process (they’ll like that) then identify what they need to do differently, then do it on the next exercise. Each time, tie it back into the workplace – they’ll spot similar behaviours and recognise how dysfunctional those can be.

    If necessary then use Belbin, though my preference is TMS (as the report usually has sufficient credibility with them now they understand the need for the test). Even if they are all Controller/Inspector in TMSspeak (Completer/Finisher) – which I doubt – TMS will highlight their other team role preferences and those can be used to improve team performance.

    Please do not insult them by assuming they lack the skills; they just don’t see them as relevant to their piece of the project.


  5. New concepts
    Without wanting to make any brash generalisations, in my experience IT “geeks” are really open to “soft skills” training as it’s so different to anything they’ve ever seen before. As long as you can make it relevant to them (i.e. by talking about real life situations, getting them to give examples of behaviour, etc.) they can find it rewarding and valuable to address these issues. The biggest problem is that they may not have the language to talk about soft skills and behaviour, so that’s where models can help the most.


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