Agile Workouts – Get Trained – Coach, Trainer, Consultant

Wouldn’t you want to be Agile-trained by someone like this… ?

Yep. I sure would.

So, continuing on from my previous post on Agile Fitness for Coaches and Consultants which offended some people… 🙂 I find it necessary to help people move forward in their quest to be the healthiest Agile Coach of all time. Here are a couple workouts that I’ve built and used to help train others.

Introduction

  • This is a combination of strength training with overall body training.
  • This has been a compilation of several workouts and can be retrofitted with your particular style.
  • This is NOT a be-all end-all but merely a guide for your own personal fitness goals.
  • Be safe and always work out with a partner to get the gain 🙂
  • YOU WILL FIND 3 SECTIONS: Strength Training, Sport Training, and Workouts for Women (which I built out in a text format) – **Note for women: Please don’t worry about “lifting weights will make me into a hulk.” It doesn’t work that way. You don’t have enough testosterone to bulk up. Google it. Women should lift weights! 🙂
  • PLEASE SEE Peter’s 5 RULES for Healthy Living – For Coaches, Trainers, and Consultants

Note: Use this in conjunction with the Men’s Health Fitness Guide Below:

[DOWNLOAD PDF] – Total_Body_Plan_Saddington

STRENGTH TRAINING Continue reading “Agile Workouts – Get Trained – Coach, Trainer, Consultant”

Agile Fitness – Coaching Requires Healthy Living

Imagine having Agile Coaches look like this? We’d be more than just a service… we’d be an IDEAL.

“I can’t take an Agile coach or trainer seriously when they stand in front of me telling me about the transformative effects of Agile when they, themselves, are over-weight, out of breath and sweating. They’re telling us about transformation. THEY are the ones that need to transform.”

I recently had a chat with a fellow Agile Coach around my healthy-living lifestyle. He is now undergoing his own body-transformation. 🙂 Our conversation was very enlightening as I had never thought about writing about this particular topic. If you know me, you’ll know that I’ve been a health junkie for a years, even helping train others in their gym workouts to grab a little bit of extra cash when I was in University.

Look. Let’s get real. Candid. Truthful. For a moment: Continue reading “Agile Fitness – Coaching Requires Healthy Living”

The Traffic Power of Long Tail Search Keywords

So, how can your web site or blog compete with major competitor search listings on the first page of search results? By using the traffic building power of many long tail search keywords.

Natural search keywords fall into two groups, broad keywords and niche long tail keywords. A broad keyword is a one or two word phrase that people enter into a search engine, such as “cars”. A broad keyword will produce millions of search results and many of the search listings on the first page of search results will be the major, established competitors. Major competitors who rank on the first page of search listings may get a huge volume of visitors to that one broad keyword focused web page. Many smaller competitors for the search phrase “cars”, will end up on the fifth page of search results or worse. If your web page doesn’t show on the first page of search results, it might as well be invisible.

Long Tail Search Keywords
A long tail keyword is a search phrase with several words that represents a very specific search, such as “red convertible sports car”. Now imagine that you build many web pages for all the variations of of this search phrase, such “blue convertible sports car”, and many others.
Consider that there are fewer competitors for the long tail search phrases, which makes it easier for your web site to rank first for all the long tail keyword phrases that you target. The long tail keyword strategy states that you can get more web traffic by ranking for hundreds of long tail keyword searches that attract only a few visitors each, than by ranking for one broad keyword phrase like “cars”. Continue reading “The Traffic Power of Long Tail Search Keywords”

7th Annual State of Agile with @VersionOne

There’s something about the Lucky Number 7…

It’s Version One’s 7th year conducting the Annual ‘State of Agile Development’ Survey and they are feeling the itch to give away a MacBook Air 11two new iPads and some Amazon gift cards. Might be your lucky day to win!

Just give it 10 minutes of your time to share your experiences with agile. Participants get access to the data before anyone else. These results have delivered valuable insight and agile success to the more than 20,000 software professionals who have taken the survey since its inception.

Don’t miss out! The State of Agile Survey is now open and will run through September. Go to www.AgileDevSurvey.com to participate.

[FREE SWAG? 10 Minutes? I’m down.]

Transparency as a Customer Builds a Relationship

We’re in the market for a customer feedback solution. There’s tons of them out there. After putting together a list and culling down to the “A/B” candidates, the real work begins…

  • Get the stakeholders together to pull out the specs
  • Scour the A/B list’s web sites to see if the specs agree
  • Create the features/product spreadsheet and select the “A” candidates
  • Interview them all, see their demos (hopefully some are online and less than one hour)
  • SELECT two to show stakeholders, winner takes all!

Pretty typical, yet after this marathon are you getting at the core of their offerings? Probably not. At best you get a sling shot approach or the canned demo from hell. That’s just a waste of everyone’s time.

To remedy this, I suggest after selecting “A” candidates, to partner with them before they plan their demos. What, open the kimono? Big #Yes!  By engaging and being collaborative each side knows what the other is looking for – don’t worry, you can spot a con in a second. What falls out is solid information and a start to a strong relationship. Now that’s building business value, building a win.

BTW: for those who still enjoy a visit from a sales rep, my idea works here too. Communicate “the whats” and its way easier to determine which solution will best fit your organization.

I bet your “partner” answers your support calls pretty quickly too.

Great Scott – We’re Agile but Where’s the Rest of the Company?

Marketing, sales, accounting, support – how do the rest of us handle the cadence of releases from fast, efficient Agile development teams?

I captured a high level summary of product professionals’ discussions at a recent event in Atlanta, called the Agile Affect. The panel of four and moderator all had significant experience in both waterfall and Agile. The audience was no different. Bottomline, if your product organization builds to MVP, so should your stakeholders.

  • You don’t have to be a developer or a product manager to use Agile methods in your craft. That being said, it’s not one-size fits all.
  • If you are in marketing, sales, support or operations in a company the embraces Agile in product development, it’s best practice to modify Agile methods to build your own cadence.
  • There should be a balance between major and minor releases to product. It’s fine to deploy every month yet hold a marketing launch every quarter or to the time-frame which best fits your market.
  • Whatever you do, do not overwhelm sales or your markets with over communication. Here’s that word again – balance the need for iterative product development with the need for clear product benefit messages.
  • Every stakeholder department can create repeatable processes for sharing market context and messaging. All can prioritize demands based on the most urgent needs.
  • Operations and support really, really need to be engaged, at the hip, with the Agile development teams.

ProductCamp Atlanta 2012 is next Saturday 18 August. I would bet this discussion continues there as well.

Would like very much to hear your stories about creating the Agile Affect in your company.

Cheers!

 

Retrospective 95 – Sacrifice and Getting Fired

Marketing Myths – Search Optimizing to Drive All Traffic to the Home Page

Working with search marketing clients, I have sometimes encountered a belief that all traffic should be driven to the home page of the web site. Years ago, I would find online business owners who held the belief that users would want to go to the home page and then navigate the site through the menu. While this is not as common as in past years, it is still a dangerous misconception.

I once worked with an education services website that placed almost every product offering on the home page. The result was an unfocused mess on the home page that suffered a low conversion rate and a high bounce rate. Whether your site is a blog or a business website, don’t throw everything on the home page. You can also make this mistake in search optimization for your web site.

Search engine users are very specific in their queries. They are often searching for specific information to answer a question or a very specific product that will meet an immediate need. Each one of your web pages should be the answer to a different customer need or question. Mistakenly trying to answer all web visitor needs on one page, like the home page, is guaranteed to frustrate your web visitors or blog visitors. The result will be confused visitors, who will immediately bounce back to the search engine and click on another web page result.

A similar SEO mistake is to optimize only the home page and a trifling few web pages. Optimization should be applied consistently across the entire web site or blog. The SEO battle is won or lost at the page level, but since only 25-50% of your pages will eventually rank in the first page of search results, optimize many pages to increase the natural search traffic performance of the entire web site. Continue reading “Marketing Myths – Search Optimizing to Drive All Traffic to the Home Page”

No Greater Sacrifice – True Service Leadership

[A different post from what you’re used to on AgileScout.com]

I travel almost every week of every month. This past week I witnessed something that brought tears to my eyes.

As I was waiting for my flight to arrive, and arrive it did. Only this time, there were men in uniform waiting, and a group of families waiting as well.

A hush came over the terminal as people began to crowd towards the windows for an experience that makes you introspect deeply.

The men and woman in uniform moved with routine precision, marching together, pivoting in perfect unison. The families on the tarmac wept openly, two (assumed) sisters of the soldier held each other, tissues in hand. They were there waiting for their beloved to return home for the last time.

It makes you think… it makes you wonder about your life, your value and worth. It makes you wonder what types of sacrifices you’ve made… none coming close to comparison with the ultimate sacrifice that many of our soldiers give.

“All give some, some give all.” – Slogan on a sign off to the side of the tarmac in respect for our warriors. Continue reading “No Greater Sacrifice – True Service Leadership”

You are Fired Agile Coach

You can’t please everyone. We often hear that sometimes the best career move someone made was a move made for themgetting fired… in turn it jumpstarted their career.

Maybe my career is just getting started.

Maybe, for you, reader… the best thing you can do is make a BIG change. Life is short. Too damn short. Take smart risks. Try the un-tried. Do something fantastic.

[No, I didn’t really get fired, and this email-snippet lacks a lot of context… but yes, my client DID write this…in jest]

Where have YOU needed to make a change… Or what happened? Please share with us!

Find me Speaking at Agile Tampa – August 9th at ValPak

For our August 9th meeting, ValPak will be hosting the next Tampa Bay Agile meetup.  Peter Saddington from Agile Scout (agilescout.com) has graciously agreed to give a talk on the following…

“The New Role of Management in Building and Sustaining High-Performance Teams”

There has been a ton written about management techniques for creating great teams. Let’s go a bit further, and look into how managers can build great teams not by using a new method or management style, but rather understanding team dynamics and behavioral science and patterns.

  • What is a High-Performance Team?
  • Self-Organization – Not what you think…
  • New Role of Management
  • Behavioral Science

Peter Saddington is an Organizational Consultant and Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) who has been in software development for 15+ years. He has 3 Masters degrees (Counseling, Education, Theology & Philosophy) and is publishing his second book in late 2012 (Wiley) on Agile and Human Performance. He is the co-founder of a research and analytics company, Action & Influence, which measures human dynamics within the enterprise cultures.

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Pizza and drinks to be provided.

Location: Valpak

10001 28th St. N. St. Petersburg, FL 33716 (google map)

Find it on Meetup.com

Becoming an Agile Coach – Tips for Engaging Agile Workshops

Think of the worst talk/workshop you’ve ever been to…

Right. I’m sure you’re face is all twisted with disgust. Yep. You hated it. And I hate that you hated it. Workshops and training opportunities don’t have to suck. Let’s dive into a couple of tips on the best way to avoid empty classrooms and avoid the sin of boredom…

Understand the Workshop Environment

  1. Learn to listen to those you speak to rather than planning to talk at them
  2. Understanding the world in which they live is crucial, real, and problematic (within their context)
  3. Realizing there is a real sense of urgency to understanding the core message, and not fluff. People want to be able to apply what they hear.
  4. Understand the longings of people – For meaning and hope.

Understand the Paradigm Shifts Trainers face:

  • New Consumerism – people market training in today’s culture. People (sometimes) are no longer dedicated to the Agile community, but simply seek out that which they “enjoy” and consider personally and familially meaningful/beneficial to their career.
  • Large Workshops Decline – Workshop consumers are not as dedicated to the large masses of followers of movements.  Rather, we tend to find and focus our energies in smaller groups. Large workshops with tons of people still has a market, but increasingly this market is declining (in my opinion).
  • The Language Barrier – People respond much better to conversational language than stilted clichés of the big workshop holders. Focus your energy on the conversation of learning – Engaging people into smaller groups for exercises.

To Make an Impact in a Workshop, one Must: Continue reading “Becoming an Agile Coach – Tips for Engaging Agile Workshops”

Retrospective 94 – Agile Coach Workshops and the 8 C’s

The 8 C’s of Agile Coaching

The 8 C’s of Agile Coaching

  1. don’t compare (with others)
  2. don’t compromise (Agile foundational truth)
  3. don’t be critical (of anything or anyone)
  4. don’t centralize (on self)
  5. don’t be careless (give your best)
  6. don’t over-commit (know your limits)
  7. don’t conform (be yourself)
  8. don’t be cynical (pessimism is a no-win deal)