Time for Change

Resistance is Futile

I love taking pictures of the people I speak to and encourage!

Dear World,

This may be the most heartfelt post I’ve put down on this site in a long long while. I’ve sorry I’ve been gone so long my much beloved Agile community! I’ve been on the grind, helping clients build wonderful software, working with some of the most beautiful people I’ve ever met in my life. I’ve trained thousands on better techniques in software development practices, spoken in multiple continents and locations built with dreams. I’ve made so many friendships and so many long lasting relationships. Again, I’m sorry I’ve been gone.

The wonderful joys of training and coaching Agile!

The grind is heads down. And for those that know, I crush work. I work hard at my craft. I love that part of the learning process. I love what I do, sincerely, and as I told my boss and my team at one our team meetings, “I feel so good when I help people in companies achieve the impossible.”  – Well, it’s time to do the impossible myself. It’s about damn time.

I’ve always had a passion for video games my entire life. It’s been something that never has left me. Even as I went through all my education becoming a trained scientist, 3 Masters Degrees, building startup companies, failing epically, getting lucky with two wonderful acquisitions, marrying the best woman in the world and having 2 perfect children, and lastly, continuing to change the world the best way I can 1 by 1 person at a time in large and small companies… I always go back to games as my way to unwind… sort of.

It’s Not Complicated

Most everyone I know, sees me as either 1 of 3 things:

  • Scientist and Agile Consultant
  • Startup Entrepreneur
  • Car Enthusiast
@Codescience RULES!

The better part of my career has been applying the learnings as an organizational scientist to help companies build products and services using the philosophy of Agile and it’s various frameworks. I always consider myself a scientist first. Solving complex problems has always been something I excelled at. I can see patterns in systems and enjoy solving them even more. This career has been more than fulfilling, even punching out a book on it in 2012 with the largest business book publisher in the world. I have achieved not only wonderful success but been a part of my clients success time and time again. That feeling… can never fade. Ever.

Engineering in the blood.

I also love automotive engineering. Which, shouldn’t take you too long to realize why. I love solving problems. I love creating beautiful machines that I can enjoy on track and on the road. There is almost nothing more fulfilling in seeing your own work in something that only you can enjoy more than anyone in the world. It’s yours. 100% Yours. As I look at the automotive wonders before me in my garage, the question always moves to: “How do I increase downforce? // How do I maximize air flow? // Let’s try different codes to change chip settings in my car to make it faster? // etc etc.” I love building. I love inventing. I love learning. It’s in my God-given DNA.

It’s Complex

I love solving complex problems. I love helping others do it. I teach them how. I walk with them as they find amazing realizations, not only about how to build products better, but realizations about themselves. How they can not only better themselves, but also achieve the desires of their employer. How they can find inner strength and courage to take responsibility, be accountable, speak truth, and grow personally in leaps and bounds. It is an amazing sight. It really is. It’s the best.

I also work with the best colleagues in the entire Agile world. Believe me when I say it. I’ve found myself side-by-side with some of the ‘luminaries’ and ‘gurus’ in the business. I’ve never been overly impressed. The people I work with at my company, Agile for All, are the smartest, the most creative, and passionate Agile coaches in. the. world. I wouldn’t have joined them if they weren’t the best.

Words like: Sprint, cadence, scrum, xp, agile, retrospectives, reviews… they all come to mind.

More powerful words come to mind: Execute quickly. Learn quickly. We learn through failure. Fail early fail often. Execute, execute execute!

I did this for an international conference on my talking topic! 🙂

Well, it’s about time to eat my own dog food. I teach and coach all of that. I see that it works. I wouldn’t coach people on it if I didn’t see it actually work. It does. Agile is the king when it comes to development philosophy with such amazing support frameworks like systems thinking, organizational design, learning theory, behavior science, and more. The tapestry of frameworks that fit within the Agile Manifesto are infinite as they are extravagant.

And that makes this situation I’m in even more complex, infinite, and wonderfully extravagant at the same time. This is my manifesto.

I can no longer teach what I coach thousands on without being the true scientist that I AM. 

I must execute. I must experiment. I must live what I believe to be true. If Agile truly is as powerful a mechanism to change small companies… and large complex companies… then (the hypothesis is), it can work in the MOST COMPLEX system ever created by God. It’s time to change human life.

It’s time to change me.

I’m going to try what I’m calling a agile life experiment,” and do the biggest 180 imaginable… iterating through the learning, retrospecting, improving, day-by-day… practicing what I preach. Doing it with Agile.

I’m embarking into a world where I know very very little. Going from being an ‘expert’ in software development to a complete noob in a new career… jeez… Let’s do this, together.

I’m going into the gaming industry and play video games full time and I need your help to do it.

Time to change my life!

The mission: Radical Transparency

  • Watch as I experiment with something I know NOTHING about
  • Watch as I learn through failure, how to monetize video to make a living
  • Watch as I give insights to what I’m learning so you too can level up

My promise:

  • To show you everything – Financials, Growth Charts, Earnings, Budget, EVERYTHING
  • I’ve never promised that I’m objective, but I do promise I’ll be fair and truthful in all I do and learn
  • To have the most fun ever

I say all this with the greatest anxiety and a fear like none other. The doubts are incredible: Can I do this? // Shit, I’ve failed before… but the failures have always been in the same industry: Technology and Product Development. // What if I fail?  // Will I completely tank my career? // What will my 8800 twitter followers think of me? // Will they unfollow me?  // What will people (who know me) think of me? // What will they say? // What will my clients say? 

I believe in my heart, and tell my clients and friends to always tell the truth, even when it hurts. Even with your boss. Even with your co-workers. Even, your spouse. Radical transparency is the key to unlocking so much potential in your company, culture, and life.

It’s time to be 100% radically transparent with the world. I have no idea what I’m doing… but I’m going to science the shit out of this experiment in gaming and f*cking change my life.

Join me.

All the best,

ps

 

FIND ME HERE:

PRESS/MEDIA KIT

Innovation by Immersion [Series 3/5]

 Experience is the Message

People have experiences about product, products don’t have experiences.  – Marcelo Marer, Chief Creative Director, Intel Media

What sells well in the U.S. many not be a benefit to anyone elsewhere. If you sell globally, it’s critical to design products for the new markets you plan to enter. Doing so requires research and an honest/thorough analysis of the information you have collected.

User Stories and User Personas

In the previous blog, the product teams hypothesized their customers and prospects need to collaborate – on demand, from anywhere – with their partners and other growers, in order to be more productive and to reduce risk. Continue reading “Innovation by Immersion [Series 3/5]”

From Iron to Cloud – Customer Driven Innovation [Series 2/5]

Customer Driven Innovation: A Global Perspective

Changing iron by using the cloud

Growers (Matt rarely called his customers “farmers”) are a uniquely tenacious and optimistic group. They have to be risk takers too, so many out-of-their-control environmental factors impact outcomes.  You might never guess that this group is well set to innovate/change how they farm.

The head of  Product Management explained that today’s growers, in order to feed the many billion of us, must find ways to limit their risk and increase their yield. They’ve already teased out most of their farming costs from fuel (which impacts feed, fertilizer and other necessary items on the farm). More was needed to be done – there are hungry people to feed.

Continue reading “From Iron to Cloud – Customer Driven Innovation [Series 2/5]”

Going Global – PDMA Georgia [Series 1/5]

Something innovative happened again at KO HQ this Thursday

The PDMA| Georgia chapter held it’s 9th annual Summit – topics were global in scope but personal in focus. Much shared learning and best practices offered. A very good reason to step away from desks/deliverables and come together with like-minded product professionals.

Innovators may already be intuitively using Agile

Top-line takeaways from the Round Table

  • Get a handle on things that bite in your planning stage, not during execution (import laws, regulations)
  • RESONATE! – don’t just BE in the chosen markets (do provide consistency, quality, awesome user experience)
  • Create RELEVANCY- use everything around your product to do this
  • LISTEN, partner with a local  –  help your prospects ARTICULATE their unique drivers Continue reading “Going Global – PDMA Georgia [Series 1/5]”

Stuckness – Getting Unstuck by Thinking Agile

I create my own sticking points …found my own fingerprints all over the crime scene. I have no clue how I’ve been so uniquely blessed with this ability to hog-tie myself without ever catching on that I’m doing the tying again. – David A Schmaltz, Pure Schmaltz

Stuckness...

Think of it as the superglue of life, or the Georgia clay of hikers and gardeners. Whatever it is, Stuckness bonds us to what we know and experienced. Isn’t that good?

Yes and No 

Depends upon the outcome. What do you do when you are in Stuckness? Do you stop as in “deer in the headlights” – do you flail and are now going under!

Do you instead settle your adrenaline and think through the challenges, see the common elements, compare them with your former successes? (thanks Seth)

Stuckness is a good place, a teaching place. It’s a place to ponder, to look for other paths and decide which to take.Yet, Stuckness is current and also rooted in the past. To move forward and away from Stuckness, be aware of obstacles in your view, such as always taking the “logical” approach.

Sometimes that  wee voice of your intuition should be heard.

Cheers!

If a Customer Asks “Can You Hear Me?” Will Anyone Hear?

When we stopped doing customer development, we stopped learning. @LeanCircle

To some, I’m a Suit. The only Development I ever did included using Lotus 1-2-3’s macro language to build applications and a business. I know only a few things about building successful applications for customers; how – I totally get customer development.

These things are clear to me:

  • You don’t build stuff (applications, databases, software, apps, websites) for yourself. You build these things for your customer.
  • Get out of the building. It’s the only way to make sure you aren’t just hearing yourself/ talking to yourself.
  • Few technologies fail because they’re not good stuff. Instead, they fail because they don’t solve customers’ problems.
  • You are not your customer, so you don’t know what their problems are.
  • Get out of the building. It’s the only way to make sure you aren’t building cool stuff that only you can love.

Customer Development

These are awesome and interesting words joined together. It doesn’t mean go out and speak with as many customers as possible. That’s nuts, instead go Lean. Speak with as many customers as possible who help your teams build MVP.  If you cannot find any customers…well maybe this isn’t a problem to solve. Just saying!

Strategic MVP and Iterations

Each strategic project is a set of related user stories – Liz Rice, MindTheProduct

The lively discussion continues around exactly how strategic is Agile if you constantly run short Sprints. Doesn’t it take longer to be strategic?

Actually no…The two concepts (Agile & Strategic) are not mutually exclusive! I read a very interesting article this weekend by Liz Rice who outlines exactly HOW to do this. She’s keen on being realistic and keeping on track.

Liz advocates using a roadmap and planning to prioritize User Stories needed to build the MVP, keeping in mind that it is best to not bog down in details. Plan for the predictable things and get buy-in from your development teams. We all know priorties can and will change, that’s what Agile does so well. Don’t sweat the small stuff but remember if you don’t consciously integrate critical MVP “must have” features into the Quarterly Plan you’ll be forever dealing only with short-term and “urgent” requests.

And that’s no way to develop world class software.