We are only as smart as the least vocal person in the room.
— Jean Tabaka

jean tabaka


Jean was a globally recognized thought leader on the intersection of agile and lean methodologies and collaboration in the workplace. Jean’s book "Collaboration Explained: Facilitation Skills for Software Project Leaders" defined her approach for bringing the wisdom of teams into a participatory-driven software development approach.

Jean partnered with leaders and executives who wanted their organizations to be humane places to work—where people shine in their collaboration, effectiveness and productivity. Tapping into her rare background in technology (software programming) and facilitation, had a unique viewpoint and style are key to turning large, chaotic planning meetings into productive and inspiring events. Most of all, she treasured the moments when she empowered collaborative, transparent leadership to help people feel heard and valued—not judged.

We lost Jean Tabaka in early June of 2016. This site is dedicated to continuing the important work she began, helping us understand the nature of collaboration. In addition to this site, there is a fund in Jean's honor. If you would like to contribute, please visit www.fund4jean.com.



Rachel Weston rowell

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I learned about collaboration when I joined Rally Software as an Agile Coach in 2008 and met Jean Tabaka. We spent 8 years on a journey of learning and growing together as facilitators, educators, and collaborators. And I still have so much to learn - that is why this site matters to me. I strongly believe in creating a community space where we can continue to explore collaboration together.

As we embark on this journey, I am reminded of a few of the valuable lessons I learned at Rally with Jean and many other friends. I offer these as a starting point to some of the topics I hope we explore together.

1. Bring your whole self to work. We are not 2 people, our personal self and our professional self. It is the breadth of our experiences and how they shape us as complete humans that create the magnificent self we value in each other. Bring that person to work and your teammates will love you for all you are.

2. Be vulnerable. We cannot trust that which we cannot know. And we cannot know that which is hidden. It can be scary to let our truth out, and when we do, we let others in.

3. Do what you love in the service of people who love what you do. I learned this with my team from a book by Steve Farber and it made a huge impact on how we thought about our work and why we do it. Follow the love - it 's where the happiness is.

4. Let love in. I've used the word love several times. I used to think talking about "love" at work was odd. But Jean helped me discover that it is vital. How can we serve ourselves, our company, and our customers if we can't love them? I'm not talking about romantic love. But the love that comes from opening ourselves up and allowing compassion, empathy, joy, and collaboration into our relationships. So, let some love in. There's room.



Laura burke olson

“Conflict is the absence of recognition.”

These words rang true in a college seminar I took on Peace Education, and have driven me to learn more about how to create recognition in the world. In 2010, I landed at Rally Software in Boulder, CO after a number of stints at nonprofits, where I hadn’t yet found the intersection between mission-based interests and the joy of work.


At Rally, there was a community that prioritized collaboration in the workplace, and I believed these practices were key in creating recognition. I was lucky enough to have Jean Tabaka as a mentor and work alongside other inspirational leaders in understanding and evolving ideas about collaboration in the workplace.


In my current role, I continue to learn about collaboration in a globally-distributed company. My goal for working on this blog is to learn more from those in government, nonprofits, enterprises, educators, faith-based organizations, artists, technologists, small business owners and more about how collaboration takes form in their organizations.  


When not at work, I like to catch up on the Sunday edition of the New York Times, take ridiculously long walks (like across Spain long) and spend time with my modern family and neighbors in Raleigh, NC. I’m yet to disprove the quote.