Agile Is Human Connection

If You Want To Go Fast, Go Alone. If You Want To Go Far, Go Together. ~African Proverb

Poetry and art and love stories and handwritten notes and Agile development are about human connection. Like poetry, an agile team eliminates extraneous process to produce a succinct, effective flow to their work. Like art, the agile team creates beautiful software that dazzles the user. Like love stories, the agile team brings their entire being to the party and does whatever it takes to ensure their team succeeds. Like handwritten notes, the agile team shows teammates in a tangible way they are valued for their contributions and, more importantly, as unique individuals.

Continue reading “Agile Is Human Connection”

A Leader Has A Why

Very few people can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. By WHY I mean your purpose, cause or belief – WHY do you exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning? And WHY should anyone care? ~Simon Sinek, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

I didn’t always know my Why. Some days, I found myself slogging through the work day feeling mired in the muck of another 8 hours to be endured. Other days I would leave the office feeling energized, feeling I was making a difference, surprised that 10 hours had passed, anticipating being in the office the next day. Some days, I connected deeply with people and felt I had the best job in the world. Other days, I felt I needed to escape the office to avoid my soul from being crushed by vampire tasks sucking life energy dry leaving an emotional corpse. It was a roller-coaster with little predictability.

Continue reading “A Leader Has A Why”

A Leader Coaches

I am not bothered by the fact that I am unknown. I am bothered when I do not know others. ~Confucius

I am on somewhat of a career rebirth. After 17 years at the same company, I changed industries, changed roles…actually…returned to a role I had while working in India. It is a role I heartily enjoy, a role that ignites my passions. I am a coach, an Agile software development coach to be specific. I view the role more as a life / leadership coach. Agile just happens to be the framework in which I perform my role.
Continue reading “A Leader Coaches”

A Leader Stands For Something

If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for anything. ~Malcom X

I once had a colleague in the thick of a difficult project where teams were struggling to meet unrealistic expectations established by Senior Management after some hokey negotiating with the Project Management team. The project was in desperate need of transparent communication to Senior Management, the type of communication synonymous with strong leadership, the type of communication ripe with personal risk because sometimes they do shoot the messenger.
Continue reading “A Leader Stands For Something”

Agile: No Place for Leaders?

In 2005, I was introduced to Scrum by Mike Marchi a former colleague and current Agile guru. He convinced enough of us dirtied in the bowels of death march, waterfall software development that there was a cool new way to create software. His passion for Scrum resulted in a groundswell of grassroots interest. Prior to obtaining the support of those in the trenches, he convinced Management to bring in Jeff Sutherland to conduct a Scrum training, a gamble that paid dividends. During the course, we all became Certified Scrum Masters. The trajectory of my professional life changed during that two-day training.
Continue reading “Agile: No Place for Leaders?”

The Questioning Leader

Lead people with statements and they will follow. Lead people with questions and they too will lead. ~Dr. Brett Hulett

Asking > Telling

I do not like being told what to do. Telling me what to do immediately raises my hackles and puts me in defensive mode. Had I enlisted in the military instead of going to university, I probably would have spent a good portion of my time either on KP duty or in the brig.
Continue reading “The Questioning Leader”

The Power Of Story

Stories are the creative conversion of life itself into a more powerful, clearer, more meaningful experience. They are the currency of human contact. ~Robert McKee

My dad had a very dear friend, a man named Bob who loved all things outdoors, especially fishing for the monster Northern Pike lurking in waters north of the US border. Bob was a great fisherman with an uncanny ability to almost always land the biggest fish even when his declining health meant he mostly sat in the boat telling stories. Bob was also a master storyteller able to recount decades-old adventures in exquisite detail making them come alive for the lucky listener.
Continue reading “The Power Of Story”