Social Engineering on a flight to Baltimore

Be careful out there. Social engineering is a real thing, even on a flight to Baltimore. I was returning on a flight last night when this male passenger sat in the seat next to me. He was overly friendly and chatty so I shut him down. He changed seats so he could sit (and talk) with the woman across the isle. Over the next hour, I could overhear him engage her in casual conversation. Or was it? Listen in and hear a few pointed questions he asked and she answered.

Estimation and Meeting Sprint Commitments

In this episode of SoundNotes, Dave Prior and Derek Huether respond to a couple questions from students who have taken a LeadingAgile CSM and/or CSPO class over the past couple months. Here are the questions they will address in this short video podcast:

Question 1:

My team seems to have a problem with estimating and understanding the estimating concepts. The team members are accustomed to traditional waterfall projects and estimating everything in units of time. How can I help them understand estimating, but continue to complete the sprints with no PBIs (Product Backlog Items) rolling over to the next sprint?

Question 2:

I have a team lead who is skeptical of scrum, especially metrics related to the process. He doesn’t think carryover matters from sprint to sprint as long as we’re “creating value” and getting the program priorities completed. Any advice on how to convince him that metrics can be a tool for good, and that the sanctity of the sprint commitment matters?

Real World Kaizen in Action

In October 2012 Superstorm Sandy hit New York City.  The results are still being felt today.  Relief agencies struggled to keep up with the demand for food.  Six months later, people in Rockaways are still hungry.  Toyota will donate up to 1 million meals, if you watch this video.  You'll learn about things like Kaizen, Muda, and Toyota Production Systems. Improvements

  1. Eliminate Muda (Waste)
  2. Create continuous flow

Result?  Kaizen (Continuous Improvement) and more people getting food with less waste.

Original distribution time: 3 hours Current distribution time: 1.2 hours

When PMI Introduced the Elephant – Part 3

This post concludes my 3 part series about when PMI Introduced the Elephant in the Room.  It's the basis of my talk at AgileDC on October 26. The elephant I am referring to is the mainstream adoption of Agile.  In part one of my series, I introduced the idea that Agile was about to cross the chasm.  The chasm I'm referring to is based on the "Technology Life Cycle Adoption Curve" concept from Geoffrey Moore's 1992 book Crossing the Chasm. I see parallels between a technology life cycle adoption curve and a methodology life cycle adoption curve.  Though waterfall may be at the far right, with the laggards and skeptics, I see Agile as being embraced by the innovators and visionaries for the last 10 years.  But within the last view years, the earliest adopters and visionaries started to get traction.  It took real leadership to follow a few "lone nuts" and brave ridicule. There comes a time within the adoption curve that the tipping point occurs.   If the original Agile leaders were the flint, the first followers were the spark that made the fire.  With PMI creating the PMI-ACP certification, there is going to be a lot of fuel on the fire.  After teaching my first PMI-ACP class over the last few days, I asked my students why they were pursuing this certification.  What made it different?  Their answers were both enlightening and similar.  The common answer was that their organizations see the PMI endorsement of Agile methods as the legitimizing of Agile.  Until PMI got involved, Agile practices were "undisciplined ideas from those on the fringe".  Even with the certification being in the pilot stage, it has rapidly become a viable alternative to other processes that just aren't working.  Though Agile isn't for everyone, I find it amazing that so many have not adopted it, merely because it wasn't supported by the status quo.

I'm actually not sure where we are on the adoption curve.  But, from listening to my students, the fear of ridicule is being stripped away.  I do believe we are crossing the chasm.

Watch this 3 minute video.  If you are a version of the shirtless (Agile) dancing guy at your organization, all alone, remember the importance of nurturing your first few followers as equals, making everything clearly about the movement, not you.

Be public. Be easy to follow!

There is no movement without the first follower.

(Link to Video on YouTube)

And so the Party Begins

I'm sitting backstage, enjoying the show.  Ty Kiisel and Raechel Logan are onstage and doing an awesome job.  The Keynote today, at the conference, is actually going to be the Talking Work podcast.  There's a live band, several hundred people in the audience, and the stage looks like the set of The Tonight Show.  I'm sitting backstage, sipping my water and listening to Donna Fitzgerald speak.  I wonder to myself, what is Ty going to want to talk about?  Before I answer my own question, I notice one of the people backstage approaching me, as he mouths something into his radio. He smiles at me and says, "They're about ready for you, Derek.  If you would please, got ahead and get into position."  I remember from the rehearsal the night before that I was to go stand on an X and wait for the lights to come on.   ...and so the party begins. The entire WorkOut 2011: TalkingWork Keynote lasted about 1 hour and 26 minutes.  I modified the embedded YouTube link so that it would advance to just before I came on.  But, I would really recommend you go back to the beginning and watch the whole thing.  Donna had some excellent talking points. I don't want to say what anyone talked about.  It's so much better letting them speak for themselves, via the video.  Ty and Raechel were amazing hosts and AtTask blew me away by the level of quality this event had.

So, sit back and enjoy the show.  And could someone please tell me where the hell that green feather went!? (Don't worry, you'll find out) Since this post was written, the Keynote video has been changed to "private".  It looks like each of the interviews will have their own video on YouTube.

I have a quote by Seth Godin that has recently become my mantra. He wrote

Go, give a speech. Go, start a blog. Go, ship that thing that you’ve been hiding. Begin, begin, begin and then improve. Being a novice is way overrated.

Thank you again to Ty and Raechel for inviting me out to Utah, to enjoy your event and share in the wonderful conversations.

What I've heard Ty say rings true.

It doesn't matter what we do.  It doesn't matter what industry we're in or even what our role is.  We all share one thing in common.  And that is we all work.