Agile Coach – Best Travel Companion [Headphones] – Marley Zion


I’m an audiophile. I love sound… really good sound.

I have tried many different types of headphones, from the big Beats to Skullcandy, and more.

For traveling, I found the holy grail of sound. After spending about 40 minutes trying on many different types I landed on these babies: Marley Zion + Comply foam tips. These headphones sound amazing, are cheaper than most other “high-end” and the sound quality is fantastic. Add in the foam tips for better isolation of sound… and you have a winning match. A nice addition is the ‘anti-tangle’ cord.

I don’t blog about stuff I buy at all… but these babies… hands down. Best travel headphones ever, and the reason I’m blogging about them is they seriously rock my socks. Gawd. Good sound is hard to find.

Combine Content, SEO and Social Media to Grow Your Web Traffic


In the last 2 years Google has changed the weight of the factors that put your web pages on the first page of search result listings. This is causing a flood of articles on the Death of SEO. The most useful is Ken Krogue’s article in Forbe’s Magazine.  SEO hasn’t died, it’s just gotten more complicated. Building web or blog content must meet five needs:

  • Meet user needs and answer user questions
  • Include search optimization principles to make your content easy to find on the web or in social platforms
  • Use social media methods to share your content and build your relationship with customers
  • Build significant amounts of content over time
  • Publish fresh content 3-5 times per week

Google Changes Everything

It started with Google penalizing for links from edu educational domains and penalizing JC Penney for buying links in 2011. The Wall Street Journal and most online marketing forums took notice.

SEO may look simple to people outside of the corporate marketing department. Leaders who allocate the resources and budget for SEO meed to realize what has happened in the last two years. The Google Penguin update punished link building schemes and several Google Panda updates forced out web sites with thin content, more ads than content, weak user metrics or a poor user experience.

The most interesting part of the Panda update is Google’s use of user metrics like time on page and bounce rate to reward sites where users stay longer to read pages with useful information. There’s no way to game this metric. Your best method to solve this need is to use social listening tools to find and answer questions and problems that your readers express in comments, forums and social media. Think long term and plan on building  100-300 pages of content, with each page focusing on a single keyword phrase that you discovered in your social listening. In the graph, you can see that traffic increases at a faster pace as you reach 150 to 200 pages of content in your blog or web site. ( Based on research data.)

Will your Blog Grow Traffic or Wither Away?

Here’s how to avoid SEO mistakes and gain the first page of Google search rankings to grow your web traffic.

  1. Only spend 20% of your effort on fixing existing blog or web pages with SEO enhancements. Correcting basic SEO and technical errors on old web page or blog content is a good start, but you should put more effort into building and optimizing many new content pages that help your users. The correlation between more content and more traffic is compelling.
  2. Go beyond just building the search engine rank of your 20 top converting key words. Instead focus on building the content footprint of your site and become a trusted source of information in your niche. Check your analytics  and find what keywords actually draw users to your web site. There will be many more than 20 keywords. Your users are telling you what they really want to read on your  site. Are you listening to what users say through your analytics or through problems and questions they pose through social media? If you optimize search for 200+ long tail keywords, your traffic will grow.
  3. Customers don’t want your products, as much as they want a solution to their problem. You built research based user persona’s that tell you who your customers are, didn’t you? If you have 7 types of customers with different needs, why would you drive them to 4 product pages? You should have multiple offers, spread across 20 to 50 landing pages that solve user problems and meet their needs at different parts of the buying cycle.
  4. When Facebook created the LIKE button, they accidentally solved one of Google’s main search quality problems. Even with the Google algorithm to rank each web page using over 200 factors, users could never be sure if they would click through to a great page that solved their need or a slick sales page. Google now includes Shares of your content, Google+ and other social media signals that tell the search engines how humans rank your content. Listening to your customers and engaging them in social media discussions builds your brand, builds trust and improves your visibility to search engines.
  5. The first step before creating content is reading forums, blogs and social sites where your users hang out. What do users like or dislike about your product or service? You should be learning the problems that users face and help solve these problems. Let users get involved with your product through user generated content, games, surveys or contests. This will build trust with customers who will be happy to share your content with others. When enthusiastic customers share their great experience with their social media friends, you won’t need to buy fake artificial links.
  6. Increase the usability and decrease the bounce rate of web pages to gain search rank. Almost every landing page or blog post should have images or photos to increase user involvement. Replace your one size fits all videos with short videos that demonstrate some specific aspect of your product, answer user questions or involve users in your product story.

Have you noticed increased web traffic as your consulting or marketing  blog and site grow? Are you struggling with building more content? Tell us about it in comments.

Hospital Paperwork – Agile Baby Opportunity?



Hospital paperwork. It’s a beast. 12 different forms need signing before you even “begin” the labor process.

As I watched my wife sign her life away, what came to mind?

“There has GOT to be a better way of doing this. It takes so long to read through it, most all of it is standard (being pre-printed) and not customized. Therefore, there (can) be a way to (potentially?) review and sign this before we arrive.”

For those that have kids, you know that the process of having a child is just as unknown as software development can be. You don’t know the timing of things to align, you have human-constraints (docs/nurses), etc etc. Iterative baby-making is impossible, obviously, but at the tail end (having done this baby process before), I’ve already taken plenty of notes of where we can streamline the “hardware” (paper) issues.

This post is long “overdue” as I wanted to wait until things calmed down :).

Regardless, there are opportunities to improve things all around us. This is truly the spirit of agile. The best part of Agile is everyone working together, collaboratively, having fun, creating quality software. When you’re at that point, you’ll never want to leave. The gift of Agile is a blessing! Just like a new child.

The Agile Coach Persona – What we Say (Part 2/2)

[If you’re already an Agile Coach… see our tips section below]



Fewer things are more powerful in the arsenal of coaching than our words and how we use them. Words can not only empower and enhance our leadership, but they can also discount our profile and devastate those in charge. Words are the essence of our trade. The wise coach does well to recognize that fact.

There are two key considerations about words that we use and the things we say.

  1. Words make impressions – The words that leave our mouths move through the ears of those around us and lodge themselves permanently in the minds AND hearts of those who hear. Data will be used to draw impressions regarding the kind of person we are. Once our words have logged the data and made the impression, it is beyond difficult to erase the impact. All it takes is ONE misspent word, response, or statement to cast a permanent shadow in regard to our character.
  2. Words grant permission  – We unintentionally grant people permission to adopt our use of words and speech patterns with the way we speak. Human nature dictates that people need little encouragement to speak out of the wrong side of their mouths. But when we as coaches and leaders do it, there is a tendency for people to feel free to follow suit. Coaches who exhibit empathetic and caring-controlled patterns of speech that are loving yet firmly truthful, healing, helpful, and encouraging; will find that before long that will begin to rub off on others. Remember, only a few weeds can ruin a beautiful garden!

Types of Speech that erode Character

I found it fascinating as I was thinking and researching about this… that I came up with a list of issues that I not only found troubling… but issues that I, myself, have encountered among consultants, coaches, employees alike. It’s troubling to know that we live in such a negative work environment. That, my friends, needs to change!

  • Gossip – The sharing of information about someone or something with another person who is not part of the solution. It may be true or untrue. The fact that it may be true does not provide sufficient rationale for sharing it. Telling everyone everything we know, simply because it is true, is not wholesome leadership … especially if it casts a dark cloud across or upon someone else. Gossip plants impressions that are often unjust. Gossip almost always does damage that is non-“ overcome-able.”
  • Slander – The sharing of negative information with the intent to hurt or do damage. Slander is usually born out of some wrong that has been done either to ourselves or to another that we know. It is a means of revenge, a way to even or settle a score. It reflects that our hearts have not yet learned to forgive. Continue reading “The Agile Coach Persona – What we Say (Part 2/2)”

Agile Gangnam Style


You know that pop culture … or Korean pop culture has infected the software development world when a team name is “Team Gangnam.”

If you’ve been living under a rock, this video is the most watched Youtube video of all time. WHY is it popular?! I have no freaking clue. Zero.