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BONUS: Embracing Self-Awareness and Empathy in the Agile Change Process, Insights from Dustin Thostenson

In this episode, we explore Dustin’s personal experience with change during his career and share his lessons learned, and experiences with change in teams. Dustin notes that while he has found certain practices to be successful, sometimes things do not work out and this can lead to consequences like being fired. Dustin asks us to consider if our  behavior could be perceived as telling others they are doing things wrong instead of being considered helpful by the team.

The Importance of Self-Awareness and Empathy in Agile Software Development

In this episode, Dustin highlights some of the issues with traditional change management techniques, when working with teams. He emphasizes the need for self-reflection and introspection before blaming others for the problems we observe. He refers to Gerry Weinberg‘s definition of consulting and stresses the importance of considering one’s own goals and what they have to offer the consulting relationship. Before pushing for change, it’s crucial to assess if the team is receptive and to clarify any misunderstandings about the problem at hand. Dustin encourages open communication with the team, using “What if” questions to generate options for problem-solving and reducing the scope of the problem.

 

Dustin also delves into the tendency for people to engage in the blame game and to justify the status quo. He stresses the importance of considering different perspectives and understanding the team’s needs and wants. He warns against the imposition of change on others and encourages teamwork and collaboration. Overall, Dustin highlights the need for self-awareness and empathy in change management and the importance of considering the team’s needs and desires in the change process.

5 Step Framework for Effective Change Management in Agile Software Development and Leadership

Dustin lays out a five-step framework for effectively bringing change to a team in the Agile Software Development context. He emphasizes the importance of self-reflection and understanding the team’s current state before embarking on the change process. In the first step, he suggests focusing on oneself and taking inventory of one’s goals and what they can offer the team. In the second step, he recommends understanding the team’s current state, their needs, and wants. In the third step, he highlights the importance of acknowledging the problem and ensuring that the team feels heard and understood. The fourth step involves agreement and building individual relationships with team members. Finally, the real hard work of implementing change begins in the fifth step, where one must sometimes let go of certain relationships and find what works to amplify and continue progress.

In this segment, Dustin refers to Woody Zuill’s work. Woody Zuill has been a previous guest on the podcast.

About Dustin Thostenson

“Understand, be understood” is Dustin’s mantra. And has close to 3 decades of software development experience, and an agent of change as a technical coach. Dustin has worked on some amazing teams, and wants to help other people be in an environment that helps them deliver their best.

You can link with Dustin Thostenson on LinkedIn and connect with Dustin Thostenson on Twitter.

You can also find Dustin’s work at the following websites:

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