Business Optimization and Human Potential

We are often blind.

As Agile Coaches, consultants, and organizational improvers, we strive to help teams and businesses alike improve their performance, output, and even culture.

The problem is… that we often come into a team or business blind, not understanding the full context of each team and each individual who makes up that team.

This is a problem.

To be the most effective we need to understand how people operate. We need to understand how they work collectively, as a group, as a team, and as individuals. The quicker we can assess and understand the contextual culture of our clients and teams, we are left to empirically deduce assumptions that most often are half-truths.

As we jump into consulting or coaching with any client, it would be great to know their cultural context, how people are behaving, and even how to engage with them best.

Easier said than done, until TeamScience™ dropped on the scene.

TeamScience™ – Business Optimization and Human Potential

Continue reading “Business Optimization and Human Potential”

The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization – Book Review

The Art of SEO: Mastering Search Engine Optimization –  Book Review

The Art of SEO is a comprehensive overview of the search engine optimization field. The topic areas include content building, link building, site architecture and many of the technical areas such as redirects, duplicate content. This is a basic guide that covers many areas of SEO in great detail, so it is a handy reference to keep in your book shelf if you’re an experienced SEO practitioner. It’s also a great training resource. I’ve used selected parts of this guide to train new SEO technicians at my last ad agency, and also to share with people who want to become more familiar with SEO.

If you need to do the SEO for your own blog or small/medium size business, I’ll recommend this book as a comprehensive resource. To give some idea of the vast scope of the book, let’s list some of the topics covered:

  • How search engines index your web site
  • How people search and use search engines
  • Optimizing for vertical search such as image or video search
  • SEO tools
  • Keyword campaigns and keyword research
  • Web servers, domain and sub domain factors
  • Site architecture
  • On page optimization
  • Tags and internal linking
  • Optimizing URL structures
  • Understanding search engine algorithms and how search engines handle user search intent
  • Using search engine advanced operators as research tools
  • Content strategy and optimization
  • Search engine campaign strategy
  • Link building techniques and strategy
  • Code issues that hinder search engine indexing
  • Web Analytics
  • Site maps and XML site maps

It’s helpful if you have some basic knowledge of HTML and javascript code, however there are plenty of code examples, illustrations and charts to help you through the technical concepts. While there are many areas that are affected by search optimization, the writing team of Rand Fishkin, Stephan Spencer and Eric Enge, does a solid job of discussing how each aspect appears to the search engines. The options of white hat versus grey hat areas and handling search engine penalties are also discussed. The only flaw in an otherwise superb book, is that the index is not detailed enough.

Why would you pay a fortune for an SEO training course when most of the answers are gathered in one useful book?

If you must deal with SEO issues, buy this book form Amazon or Barnes and Noble for your Kindle, Nook or other e-reader tablet.

Why Google Plus is Important to Search Engine Optimization for Blogs

Google Plus is more than just a competitor for Facebook. Google Plus represents a major shift in the way that search engines rank web pages and your blog.

From Google’s beginnings Larry Page and Sergey Brin indexed and mapped the millions of anonymous, unmapped web pages based on the links and keywords that pointed to each page. Google rode the profitable search engines trail to become the tollgate of web commerce. The Google brand came to embody fast results to any question.

The only problem was that you couldn’t be sure if the Google results you clicked on would drop you on a page with the information content you wanted or on a web page with a sales pitch. When Facebook came along with the Like button, this was the solution to the query result quality problem. With hundreds of millions of Facebook users, and now Google Plus users, bestowing Likes and Plus Ones to the brands and information pages that they favored, the Google highway of links suddenly had personalized reviews of most of the content you might be looking to find.
Another Google Plus profile page
Now, with many knowledgeable people in your Google Plus Circles,  Google can include personalized Plus One recommendations for anything you search. Even if the people in your Google circles are few or if people in your Google circles are ape-like, the search results will still include Plus One recommendations from other people that you don’t know. Robert Scoble wrongly predicted that Google Plus One meant the end of Search Engine Optimization. He was only partly right.The old way of doing SEO with just links and keywords will disappear to be replaced with a more complex way of SEO that includes optimizing keyword, links and social media.

So what happens to your blog’s rankings in Google if few people give it a Plus One? What can you do to help your blog survive in the changing world of Google Search Plus? We will find out together. What questions would you like to tackle about your blog and search engines?

[Addition – See the Google+ For Business Infographic Below – Click for larger view]

AgileScout Expands Agile Development News Writers and Topics

[Yes, he looks like he ate his tongue…] -ps :)

Peter Saddington explains why he’s expanding the writers and the topics that AgileScout will cover.

Interview

What’s next for AgileScout?

Peter Saddington: There have been a couple people that have noticed the changes for AgileScout. I’ve been transparent about the new direction for AgileScout. Agile Scout started as an independent brand for myself. My tagline was “an independent voice, democratizing agile software development, opening up the doors so anyone can get information about best practices in software development or lean software development.”

It was a personal branding site for me, but I came to realize that I could never scale myself. I could never replicate myself and say start blogging on this topic or start blogging on that topic. Continue reading “AgileScout Expands Agile Development News Writers and Topics”

Wiley Partners with Peter Saddington to Publish Agile Pocket Guide

Excited to announce that Wiley, the #1 Business Book Publisher has accepted partnership with Peter Saddington to publish his Agile Pocket Guide – A Quick Start Guide to Agile Software Development.

Wiley:

The company was founded in 1807, during the Jefferson presidency. In the early years, Wiley was best known for the works of Washington Irving, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, and other 19th century American literary giants. By the turn of the century, Wiley was established as a leading publisher of scientific and technical information. (A more detailed history is available.)

I have to give props to Michael Hyatt for his eBook on Writing a Winning Book Proposal. Even though I didn’t partner with Wiley because they accepted my book proposal… it was the process of going through creating a kick-butt proposal that allowed me to better understand how to market and design a book that is worth reading. To that end, thank you Michael! 

2 Big Wins for Me… 1 For You (Now)

  1. Super excited about this. I’m glad all my blogging and writing is paying off… considering I got rejected by over 20 publishers previously
  2. Another great thing about this opportunity? We’re taking an Agile approach to writing and publishing the final content!
  3. I can no longer sell it as a self-published work… Get a copy NOW before it’s too late:)

Boom goes the dynamite.

Agile Project Management and Your Search Marketing Cycle

How can you make progress with online marketing for your consulting business? If you’re marketing your blog or your agile services as a trainer, consultant or developer, all the marketing things you need to do can seem overwhelming. The more you learn about online marketing, the greater the burden grows. Blog marketing, search engine optimization – SEO and social media are only part of the marketing story.

Here’s where your knowledge of agile project management can reduce the complexity. If you think of marketing yourself as a set of iterative marketing tasks, you can make great progress over the course of a year. For each part of your marketing, whether blog marketing, SEO  or social media, break down your marketing work into one or two stories that you work on each month. Let’s look at some examples of things you can do on a regular cycle for each category.

SEO and Content cycle

  • Read social media, forums and blogs in your specialty area to see what people are concerned about this month. From this reading you can choose keywords that match with the blog or services you’re offering.
  • Build new web pages or blog posts that match these new keywords.
  • Interview some one who knows your business or services and write this up as a testimonial on your web site or blog. Optimize this testimonial for keywords related to your services or blog.
  • Link from an existing web page to your new blog post or web page to help search engines find your new web content.

Social Media

  • Find social media, forums or blogs that matter in your area of work. Share or link to their best content on a regular basis. As you do this, you will attract readers and followers who share your interests.
  • Seek out other posters who write about topics that interest you and reflect your area of specialty. Add these writers to your social networks.
  • As you create new web pages or blog posts, use your social media and forums to link back to your new content.

The most crucial part of this is learning which of your marketing tactics seem to produce the most readers of your blog and web site. When you find a tactic or a topic that provokes a reaction or brings more readers, you know you’re on the right track. Learn from your successes and failures, so you can repeat the things that work for you and your audience.

These are just a few examples of tasks you can do every month to promote your services or your blog. The key thing here is to do all these small steps on a regular basis. Repeat these small steps on a regular cycle and you’ll be amazed at how much you can accomplish.

[Announcement] – AgileScout joins Ted Gaydos as Executive Contributor

AgileScout.com is happy to announce that we’ve grown +1 (again).

We’re happy to introduce Ted Gaydos as he joins AgileScout as an Executive Contributor.

My goal is to help people become better at what they do at work and who they are as individuals. I think agile is a form of personal transformation. The greatest asset a company has is its people. You can have all the structure, process and controls in place. Without people to challenge the status quo a company will never reach its full potential.

I started my working career in environmental science. The day-to-day activity of a service based laboratory led me to my first taste of agile using lean manufacturing techniques and short, fast feedback loops. I now focus on IT with a side of agile and have served from entry-level programmer to CIO. I have been writing software for about 10 years and enjoy every moment of it. I currently serve as a team lead and software developer of web applications.

“There is nothing like breaking down complex problem into nice simple solutions that work. I believe in sharing knowledge that helps people become more satisfied with their work and themselves.”

I classify myself as a technologist with empathy. I understand the intricacies in the cold logic of computers. I also try to understand the inner workings and flaws within all of us that write simple yet complex systems and the dichotomy of those two things.

I have a Bachelors in Computer Science and starting work towards a Masters in Applied Psychology. I also hold a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) designation. I believe an agilest is a blended set of technology and humanities experience.

For fun, I like to study my craft by learning new technologies and techniques, applying those ideas to everyday life. I try attending as many conferences in my budget. If I am broke, I will take my dog for a walk or fly an airplane three states over to get a sandwich.

[Announcement] – AgileScout invites Ed Hill as Executive Contributor

AgileScout.com is happy to announce that we’ve grown +1 (more!).

We’re happy to introduce Ed Hill as he joins AgileScout as an Executive Contributor.

Ed Hill is Search Marketing Manager. After many years of managing marketing projects the waterfall way, Ed believes that Agile marketing has made his marketing tactics faster to implement. Iterative Agile also helps the marketing team to test and to quickly identify successful marketing tactics. With short two week sprints, unsuccessful marketing initiatives are quickly identified and phased out. After 9 years in TV advertising, online marketing and SEO, Ed is a committed agile evangelist.

Ed’s specialty is combining search engine optimization, content building and social media marketing to gain the optimum effect in online marketing. Ed enjoys teaching these methods to make copywriters and marketing teams more effective.

Ed is a skilled photographer and enjoys mountain biking and hiking with his wife Stacey.

[Announcement] – AgileScout Welcomes Karol McCloskey as Executive Contributor

AgileScout.com is happy to announce that we’ve grown +1 (another one)!

We’re happy to introduce Karol McCloskey as she joins AgileScout as an Executive Contributor.

Call me a longtime techno-catalyst and marketer – passionate about product and innovation, I am happy becoming more Agile!  Some would call me a Product Professional and Agile Explorer :)

Listening to the market to identify customer needs, I work with development and stakeholder teams to build engaging, profitable, cool products. What’s not to like about learning to use methods that enhance interpersonal, team building and product management skills, at the same time growing the bottom line? I welcome your feedback and support while I undertake this journey.

The personal history:  I have a black belt in Ho Shin Do karate, I kissed the Blarney Stone and rode a bike down Mt Haleakala in a windstorm (hated those tour buses). It was the blend of seeing the innovation at Xerox Parc firsthand while working with PC that made me believe technology doesn’t have to be hard.

Cheers!

[Announcement] – AgileScout adds Sameer Bendre as Executive Contributor

AgileScout.com is happy to announce that we’ve grown +1 (again).

We’re happy to introduce Sameer Bendre as he joins AgileScout as an Executive Contributor.

Sameer has around 13 years of experience in IT industry. He started as a software developer and moved on to be a QA analyst, functional lead, project lead, business analyst and project management consultant. He has been an agile learner since 2006 and has been implementing & advocating agile practices since then on his consulting engagements. He has served in all the scrum roles: team member, scrum master & product owner. Sameer holds a Bachelors in Engineering and is also a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) & Project Management Professional (PMP).
Sameer is on the SF Agile 2012 conference committee. He volunteers as a Program Manager with PMI Atlanta’s Agile Interest Group and is a Product Owner on PMI Agile Community of Practice for Knowledge Management & Community Editorial board teams. He lives and breaths the servant leader principle.
He is a foody, amateur photographer, amateur golfer and likes to improve his guitar skills when he can find time between his crazy schedule. On weekends, he prefers to focus on health by going on long walks, hiking and swimming with his wife, Meghana.

[Announcement] – AgileScout.com Welcomes Ken “Classmaker” Ritchie as Executive Contributor

AgileScout.com is happy to announce that we’ve grown +1.

We’re happy to introduce Ken “Classmaker” Ritchie as he joins AgileScout as an Executive Contributor.

Ken loves to help others build great systems and businesses, by:

  1. Building people – as coworkers, colleagues, competitors;
  2. Reaching out – to clients, customers, communities; and
  3. Finding better ways – improving ideas, tools, processes.

From Ken:

“I love to learn, love to share, and help others do so. By modeling servant leadership, facilitating interactions, and promoting agile practices, I help others succeed in learning, relating, and contributing to the success of their groups by self-organizing around shared goals for business and personal growth. I enjoy collaboration!

My technical background includes several decades of “hard core” software development, diversified “been there–done that” experience, and many lessons learned. My agile journey began in the 1990’s. I have been mentored by some amazing people, then hired to mentor others. Continue reading “[Announcement] – AgileScout.com Welcomes Ken “Classmaker” Ritchie as Executive Contributor”

AgileScout V3 – MVP and Future Updates

AgileScout.com – Version3!

We’re excited to announce AgileScout’s next update preparing us for the future of Agile Software Development News.

1. Updated Site

Focusing on the news you can use first and foremost. Our MVP (Minimum Viable Product) is rough on the aesthetics, but architecturally bad ass. What you don’t see on the back end is the revamped site structure, architecture, and uber-SEO packaging.

We’ll updated the site design in due time… stay tuned.

2. Preparing for Growth

We’re excited to pre-announce that we’re growing, potentially by 3-4x in terms of contributors. This means that you’ll get even better content, more often. Announcements of our lead contributors soon…

3. Branding

AgileScout.com will now become less of a personal brand of Peter Saddington, and more of a network/portal site for multiple writers and contributors. Peter will probably start a new twitter…

4. We’re Hiring

With our imminent growth, we’ve begun to think about hiring on potential contributors willing to help grow this community. If you’re interested, drop us an email.

5. Happy

We’re happy and excited to be reaching this stage of our modest site. It’s because of our viewers, guest contributors, advertisers, and community that we’ve gotten this far (and been able to give away so much free stuff). We hope to continue our growth towards something that brings even more value to the software development community. Here’s to 2012+!

Best,

Peter Saddington

Who Is – Peter Saddington

Yes. I'm an artist with my bow...

I’ve been following Yves Hanoulle – Who Is Series for a while now. It’s great stuff.

[Reblogged]:

What is something people usually don’t know about you but has influenced you in who you are?

The biggest influences in my life are good books and education.

First off, good books: People may look at my copious amounts of writing and think that I tend to be very light-hearted (which I am) and somewhat surface level (which I am), but I’ve spent more of my adult life in education than many people that I know. I’m a HUGE consumer of books. Books on technology, social media, and software development are my daily reads. Frankly, one of the reasons I wrote a book “The Scrum Pocket Guide is really a response to the plethora of 300+ page management and software development books that line my bookshelf. I wanted to write something pragmatic, useful, and easy to consume. It’s only 50 pages after all. I’m a huge consumer of philosophy, social science, and even theology books. They bring the rest of the human issues to light and round out the technological slant that I generally have. Continue reading “Who Is – Peter Saddington”

Being Opaque and “Agile” Doesn’t Work in the Agile Community

Writing is Hard, Receiving Criticism is Harder, IMPROVING is Hardest

This past week has been enough to retrospect on for a month, at least! I spent the weekend seriously considering the net effects of writing and blogging in the Agile community. It has seriously been the biggest pleasure to write in one of the most (personally) rewarding markets and environments in the world. Agile-folk, by-and-large, are some of the best, brightest, and nicest people I have ever met in my entire life. When I started out as a developer in the mid-90’s, I never knew I would evolve and work in such an open, supportive, and fellowship-y community. I wouldn’t change that for the world. I feel blessed to be part of such a community.

Sometimes though, writing takes it’s toll. I’m not green when it comes to this. I’m an independent Agile-journalist after all, and you take your hits.

Some of the biggest contributions of AgileScout.com that people have really enjoyed are the reviews of “Agile stuff,” whether it be a Agile tools, a conference or event, a book, ‘breaking’ news stories, writing about and providing the most comprehensive list of Top Agile Bloggers in the World as well as highlighting some of the best and brightest Women in Agile.

Some of the more ‘edgy’ writing is around somewhat controversial topics, like: Denouncing your CSMAgile is NOT a methodology, and Project Managers Living a Lie? Staying in line with the FTC Ruling for Bloggers and our Disclosure Policy, my reviews of Agile tools and Agile stuff, and pretty much anything under the sun, can never be guaranteed as positive. I do, however, promise to be as fair as possible.

Most of the Email I Receive is Very Positive

People have come to know and enjoy the Agile Guide section of our website which I’ve received plenty of emails about. This section covers guides to ScrumMastering, being a Great Product Owner, understanding the human side of software development, and tons more on other cool stuff. Agile is all about helping people, and helping businesses thrive. There is something so unique about that, you can’t even put it into words. One would almost feel privileged to say they are part of such an awesome community.  Continue reading “Being Opaque and “Agile” Doesn’t Work in the Agile Community”

True Value of Agile – Not Always Product-Centric – Agile Improves Work-Life Balance

Agile Can Change Lives – Client Story

“I’m not sure of the value of Agile, and how it’s been working so far.”

I received this comment from a client earlier this past year. She was a manager of the 3 teams in a large enterprise that I had been training and coaching Scrum to for the previous 4 months. She is a brilliant woman, eager to learn how Scrum and Agile could change the direction of their teams to higher-performance. I asked her if I could ask a couple of questions about her statement and see if we couldn’t find what needed to be done:

[ME] – “Scrum and Agile adoptions can take a good amount of time to fully realize their potential. Often it’s the discipline that needs to be solidified first, then cultural change… tell me, how often did your teams work overtime these past 4 months?

[MANAGER] – “Not that much, maybe not at all… you wouldn’t allow it!”

[ME] – “Right! We’ve gotten a stable velocity now, the discipline seems to be settling in well, we now are moving towards better predictability, right? … How often, previous to the training and coaching, has your teams had to work weekends to complete the builds?”

[MANAGER] – “Usually about twice a month.” (She knew where I was going with this conversation by this time)

[ME] – “Right! As it stands today, only once in the last 4 months has our teams had to come in on Saturday to complete the build… and that was right in the beginning!”

[MANAGER] – “I see … where you’re going with this…”

[ME] – “Yes. As we’ve created stability and consistency to our delivery cadence, we’ve improved the work-life balance of your … about 30 or so team members. If anything, initially, we’ve improved the lives of your people. In due time, we hope to improve the delivery of products, and the quality of that delivery.

Agile Improves Work-Life Balance and (Can) Change Your Life

Managers could say to this… as well as others, “Who cares? We are building products, I don’t care about how it gets done or if it improves the lives of my employees.” – Right. Exactly, this post isn’t meant for you.

This post is meant to be an encouragement to anyone looking to help people. If you are an Agile Coach, never forget the power that you have to help people change their life (within the right context/environment). For this reason, I love what I do: Making an impact on people.

Agile New Year – 2011 – A Year In Pictures

There are tons of things to be thankful for this year. It’s been a crazy one.

I spend a lot of time in photoshop. Mostly just to have fun and create something funny for the blog post that I’m writing.

This year I’ve decided to highlight some of my favorite posts, based on the photoshop picture. These, unfortunately, are not some of the most popular posts of 2011, but that don’t matter. :)

Enjoy, and I look forward to growing with the Agile community in 2012!

Favorite Blog Posts in 2011 Based on Pictures

[CLICK IMAGES FOR BLOG POST]

Continue reading “Agile New Year – 2011 – A Year In Pictures”

LeanGiving in the Real World – Agile for Mechanics

[Guest Post – MJ Wivell is the CEO of BTI360 and is known as a thought leader in implementing Kanban systems to manage software teams. MJ holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Lynchburg College and a M.S. in Informations Systems from George Mason University. MJ is a Sun Certified Java Programmer and Certified ScrumMaster]

Recently I met Peter Saddington at AgileDC and he asked a simple question:

What if our organization was to take your talents and use them to bless others?

Peter called this LeanSalt/LeanGiving.  That question rang in my ears.  And then it happened, spontaneously.

Two days later I was working with a software team one of the project managers had a puzzled look on her face.  She said, “I think this agile stuff would work great in my husband’s automobile company.”  Immediately I thought of Peter’s question.  Here was my chance.

I learned that she thought there was a lot of waste in the company and if improvements could be made more cars could be worked on which meant more revenue for the shop.  The challenge was where to start?

After a lot of conversation we decided to implement 3 changes:

  • Visualize the work flow and limit each mechanic’s work
  • Have nightly check-ins to plan for the next days work
  • Conduct retrospectives at the end each week for continuous improvement

LIMIT WIP!

Once we visualized the workflow and limited the amount of work in progress, issues started to bubble to the surface.

  1. First, expert mechanics were doing low cost, routine jobs like oil changes instead of high performance jobs that brought in more revenue.
  2. Second, mechanics spent overhead time ordering parts (instead of the service manager) rather than revenue generating time working on cars.
  3. Third, a large backlog of cars were stacking up waiting for a mechanic to become available.

The following were the solutions the team suggested at the daily stand ups and retrospectives.

  1. Focus expert mechanics on high paying, high performance jobs.
  2. Let the overhead staff (service manager) handle overhead tasks.
  3. Visually track each car in the work flow to better manage customer expectations.

These changes led to greater team morale, customer satisfaction, and profitability.

Change the World. Help Others.

It was all capped off when the project manager came back to me and said, “Last night for the first time in months I saw my husband smile about the business.”  Wow!

So, how can your organization take its talents and bless others?  Who knows, you just may change their world!

Agile Success Stories – Case Study Call for Submissions!

After speaking with many other Agile Coaches and Consultants out there about successes in Agile transformation and adoption… it’s about time to document them.

My desire in this initiative is to collect success stories around Agile coaching engagements.

Are You an Agile Coach or Consultant?

Submit your case study or example of a successful Agile engagement, transformation, or adoption.

Are You Looking for Examples of Successful Agile Implementations?

Look no further. I hope to build an entire collection of robust examples of Agile transformations based on real life stories. Heck, you may even find the right consultant for your business challenge… why? Because you read about his/her real life work example.

Submit Your Story!

  1. Submit your story [here].
  2. Your submission will be reviewed and posted online for thousands to see.
Simple. Fill out the form and prove to us that Agile methods truly do work.

LeadingAgile + AgileScout? Pure Awesomeness in Atlanta

From Mike Cottmeyer:

Wanted to let you guys in on a little news… LeadingAgile is getting a little bigger. Dennis Stevens and I welcome Peter Saddington (aka @agilescout) into the LeadingAgile family.

Between the three of us, we have a broad and very complimentary set of skills and experiences. We are in the process of establishing the premier Agile consultancy in the Southeast. Pretty exiting stuff, huh?

Want more information about Mike, Dennis, or Peter?  Check out our bio pages:

About Mike Cottmeyer
About Dennis Stevens
About Peter Saddington

[HT: LeadingAgile]

Course Canvas – Create Your Agile Workshops

Blogger David J. Bland has created a pretty neat 1-pager that helps people create workshops, or at least, visually figure out how to build them. It’s free, it’s simple, it’s Agile. Check out CourseCanvas to use it!

I think I may just try using this to create my next workshop. See how I make a Perfect Agile Workshop here.

[HT: CourseCanvas.com]

LeanSalt – #LeanGiving Workshop A Success

I have many passions as an Agile Coach. One is to give back to the community and help the world.

I do this with a partner, Scott Dunn, and we have created an initiative called LeanSalt. We hold #LeanGiving Workshops to help people in transition, and non-profits grow.

So far this year, the LeanSalt CSM classes have raised over $15,000 for various Third World needs, including orphanages, relief agencies and teachers. With students traveling from as far as New York, Idaho, and Arkansas, we have trained nearly 100 people, and helped close to 50 unemployed and nonprofit workers.

Please spend some time on www.leansalt.com and see what we’re about. We’d love to have a conversation with you about how to grow this movement!

Wrapping Up on the Feng Shui for Establishing a Culture of Innovation

[Guest Post: Paul Boos serves as the software maintenance lead for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Pesticide Programs (OPP).  His team currently uses Kanban and Scrum to maintain the OPP legacy code base.  Prior to that he implemented Scrum as the Branch Chief for the National Development Branch within USDA/Rural Development. Follow him on twitter: @paul_boos]

This will be the conclusion of the posts on creating a culture of innovation.  While this has had some focus on applying it within the Government, the concepts are pretty general in nature.  There are characteristics to cultivate in your people, values to encourage within your teams, traits to develop in your organization, and two forms of innovation you need to be prepared to accept: Kaizen and Kaikaku.  In this segment, we’ll discuss mostly how to make the resulting innovations get merged into the organization smoothly.

Organizational Vision

To bring all of the innovations into a cohesive direction that will help and not distract the organization, one must instill a vision for that organization. This vision should be aligned to your organization’s mission.  Without this vision, innovations will vary in the direction and may go at cross-purposes.  Business author Matthew May calls this the “Goldilocks Principle”; the vision is the definition of the problem or purpose in specific but not too detailed terms.

Here’s an example: suppose you are interested in encouraging use of a new battery technology that is long-life and very powerful.  You plan to develop a grant program to develop its application.  Because of size and weight only large items could utilize this battery; anything from an 18 wheeled freight truck and bigger is required.  You could define the issue to focus replacing truck fuel usage with battery powered motors.  Such a tight definition will constrain the innovation proposals you get for the grant.  If you defined that you wanted proposals to explore using this technology in the transportation sector you could get much more innovative proposals back.

Ancient Markets? Continue reading “Wrapping Up on the Feng Shui for Establishing a Culture of Innovation”

Kanban’s Problem?

[Click for full size]

I’ve been using Kanban at the enterprise level as a way to engage executive leadership visually to see an entire PMO project portfolio (and I’m sharing a story about this at AgileDC in October for my Scaling Product Ownership talk). What has come up through these assessment sessions has been very interesting to say the least. Now, applying Kanban to bug remediation and defect resolution processes is somewhat straightforward. What if we look at how software development really works?

Kanban, a system based off of manufacturing inputs and outputs, doesn’t say much about re-queuing things. What I mean is, we look at Kanban, work in progress limits, etc etc, and see the card go through the line. Then it’s done.

In the software development world we have reusable processes, we have repeatable steps, and we have recycled stories. Kanban doesn’t really address the whole re-queuing thing.

So the thought in my mind is: “So let’s talk about versioning.” 

“You can always create a new version of the repeatable card, story, or step.”

But this doesn’t seem to sit well with me. I’m not so sure I’m convinced.

So what happens when you need to send that repeatable story through the line… several times, or even greater, what about an entire multi-story process?

Tell me I’m missing something… and yes, I have several books on the subject (like Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for Your Technology Business by David J. Anderson)… so don’t flame me too hard. Hell, I even use kanban at home.

If you’re a real Kanban/Lean Manufacturing NINJA you should get:


Japanese Manufacturing Techniques: Nine Hidden Lessons in Simplicity

Yes. It’s from 1982 and you can buy it for 1 CENT on Amazon.com + $9000 for shipping… I keed I keed!

So tell me, what’s goin’ on here? Am I taking it too literally?

Agile Transformation Walkthrough

What I love about being an Enterprise Agile Coach is the ability to work with great clients who not only love Agile, but have fully transformed their entire business around it.

The video above is an example walkthrough of a business that I had the pleasure of completing an Agile transformation with. The transformation included:

Want to know the most rewarding thing about this client engagement? The fact that they embraced Agile so much, they are now teaching Agile to their clients. Talk about awesome!

Scrum Pocket Guide – Giveaway!

www.scrumpocketguide.com

This month’s giveaway is a fun one, especially tailored to our ScrumMaster audience!

Peter Saddington has recently published a Scrum Pocket Guide primer in eBook format (PDF). Details below:

There is a solid way to build software quickly, efficiently, and collaboratively. You’ve found it. This eBook on Agile software development with Scrum.

  • Any level of ScrumMaster or Project Lead can utilize this book to refine and develop their facilitation and Agile knowledge
  • Simple and easy application for you and your team
  • Know when you are ready to apply the principles through questions to ask yourself or your team
  • See the value of Agile principles applied through case studies

***Download the Introduction to the book and example chapter on High Performance Teams [here]***

Want a free copy of the Scrum Pocket Guide?

3 FULL COPIES (value $17) with 2 ways to enter:

  1. Tweet this post.
  2. Comment below.

Contest will run till end of February. Get on it. Free swag #ftw.

Want more information on the book? Get on over to:

www.scrumpocketguide.com

Agile Scout LIVE! – Live Interviews with Awesome People!

Welcome to 2011 folks. Agile Scout LIVE is launched and ready to go.

What is Agile Scout LIVE?

This is a video broadcast bringing industry leaders (you) right to the Agile community.

  • We desire to build up the community of practice through the sharing of insights and experiences while having a bit of fun doing it.
  • There will be a live Q&A session at the end, so post up your questions in the live chat!
  • We’ll also try to record every session so you can watch the sessions on-demand.

What is the main attraction?

You. Practitioners, Agile enthusiasts, Project Managers, QA-folk, Developers, ScrumMasters, IT-folk, Social Media peeps, etc. But we’ll also be hosting a bunch of thought-leaders in the industry as well, so make sure you tune in for those sessions!

Do you have something that you absolutely need to tell the software development community?

  • A new book you wrote (or writing)
  • A practical piece of advice for practitioners
  • An experience worth sharing with application for our viewers
  • A conference or event
  • A rockin’ new tool that rules
  • Or just spend some time with the awesome Agile Scout team – LIVE

This is the place for you.

Agile Scout serves a community of 1000s. Want your voice heard?

We welcome:

  • C-Level Executives
  • Agile Coaches and Consultants
  • ScrumMasters
  • Developers
  • PMP’s
  • QA-folk
  • Social Media Technologists
  • Motivational Speakers
  • YOU

Wait, do I have to be a Rockstar to be on LIVE?

NO! If you’re an active practitioner and have a voice. We want to hear what you have to say!

Interested? Hit us up at info@agilescout.com to inquire. We’re ready to host you.

Make sure you hit up the link up at the top of AgileScout.com, or you can just bounce over to www.agilescout.com/live for a peek!

Also, SUBSCRIBE to our blog, so you don’t miss out on the next LIVE! event.

Continue reading “Agile Scout LIVE! – Live Interviews with Awesome People!”

A Big Thank You to Our Advertisers in 2011!

A big thank you to our advertisers in 2010. You guys rock, seriously. It is because of our advertisers that we can continue to provide the freshest squeezed Agile news to the community at large.

As usual, our commitment is to the growth of the Agile community.

All advertising procedes go back into two (2) areas:

  1. Back into the community with monthly giveaways
  2. Keeping the lights on so Agile Scout stays online

Our premium sponsors! A big thanks!

We service thousands. Want to be an Agile Scout Sponsor?