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Posts from the ‘Other blog posts’ Category

Happy 2nd Anniversary Analytical-Mind

Picture by srsphotoToday marks the 2nd anniversary of my blogging hobby! It has been a fun and interesting endeavour that has allowed me to discuss various concepts with people all over the world, and within my organization. Blogging forces me to crystallize my thoughts and perspective on some important aspects of my leadership style, my coaching abilities and my personal development.

Thanks to all of you who are reading my posts and comment (in person or in writing) on the posted topics. The number of readers have tripled in the last year and the number of Twitter followers has gone from 0 to 200 – if you’re not already one of them, send me some positive vibes and start following me 🙂

If you like what you have been reading, don’t hesitate to link to my posts and even maybe include me in your blog roll. Thanks to those who have been tweeting and re-tweeting my posts.

If you haven’t been following my blog since the beginning, you may want to read my top 10 blog posts:

Now let’s get back to writing…

Interesting blog posts (February 1, 2010)

Eric’s great posts on project management, comparing Scrum and PMI

One of my preferred antagonists was the all mighty monolithic Project Management Institute (PMI) and its PMP disciples. In an attempt to keep my friends close and my PERCEIVED enemies closer, a colleague and I decided to attend the PMI bootcamp – a five day course to prepare for the PMP certification. – An Agile coach’s journey into PMI country – Day 1 – I’m very disappointed! | Pyxis blog.

What we’ve got here is process number 3.4.4 in the PMBoK and this, I believe, is where the PMI got cocky. WBS is so central to the PMI that our trainers would actually say that if you don’t have the answer to a certification question and WBS is one of the options – choose it! – An Agile coach’s journey into PMI country – Where PMI got cocky. | Pyxis blog.

Isaac’s post on why CIO should love Agile Development

In agile, the CIO is getting the following significant advantages: Low up front business investment (…) Frequent delivery leads to better execution (…) Allowing Sponsors to prioritize at the beginning of each iteration leads to better Business / IT alignment (…) . – Social, Agile, and Transformation: Why the CIO Loves Agile Development.

Israel’s post on why the Agile triangle should replace the Balanced Score Card

My recommendation to clients who do Agile as a strategic initiative is to drop the Balanced Scorecard and use the Agile Triangle instead. – Use the Agile Triangle Instead of the Balanced Scorecard « The Agile Executive.

On the value of building trust and respect within teams

This is because people are the engine that drives a high performance project. Without a good team that embodies trust and respect, the best process and tools in the world will not help you. I am as geeky about process as the next agilist, I love experimenting with Kanban and Lean and know that they offer better ways of executing projects. However, bigger improvements can be had from the people side of things. – LeadingAnswers: Leadership and Agile Project Management Blog: Building Trust and Respect.

On Recruiting “Normal” employees

I want/need to hire someone. Not a difficult task, right? I've been doing this for years and it's a simple process. I mean let's be honest – I'm not trying to launch the Space Shuttle into outer space – I just need to hire one “normal” employee. And therein lies my problem: “Normal Employee” wanted. – Fistful of Talent: Wanted: Normal Employee.

On Communication

John Gottman’s pioneering research found that marriages are much more likely to succeed when the couple experiences a 5 to 1 ratio of positive to negative interactions whereas when the ratio approaches 1 to 1, marriages are more likely to end in divorce. Additional research also shows that workgroups with positive to negative interaction ratios greater than 3 to 1 are significantly more productive than teams that do not reach this ratio. – Jon Gordnon’s Blog: The Power of Positive Interactions

Nicholas’ post on Ergonomic design

People will not care how well something is built if it is not appealing to them first and easy to use. Car designers and software designers alike are victim of this reality. – Ergonomy lessons learned : Ergonomy sells. | Pyxis blog.

Jim Highsmith on the book “The Starfish and the Spider

Is there a person in charge? Completely decentralized organisms have no head, as in there is no “head” of the Internet. They relate a funny story circa 1995, when a CEO looking for startup funding couldn’t convince a room of potential investors that there wasn’t an Internet president — the concept was beyond them. – The Cutter Blog » Blog Archive » Understanding the Nature of Self-Organizing Teams.

Interesting blog posts (January 22, 2010)

On the importance of creating the right organizational culture (Thanks to Andrew)

By the time we got to 100 people, even though we hired people with the right skill sets and experiences, I just dreaded getting out of bed in the morning and was hitting that snooze button over and over again Corner Office – Tony Hsieh of Zappos – Celebrate Individuality – Question –

On why an Agile approach is better suited to deliver value (Thanks to Alfonso)

Most organizations that depend on software are struggling to transform their lifecycle model from a “development” focus to a “delivery” focus. This subtle distinction in wording represents a dramatic change in the principles that are driving the management philosophy and the governance models – Improving Software Economics

On the meaning of Agile transformation for managers

What many people mistakenly do is equate agile project management with doing more work, with less documentation and fewer people. Although the premise is to get more done in a more favorable way, I have never met a team that could successfully implement agile principles without having to slow down first – VersionOne – Agile Adoption For Managers.

On the fact that the true value of an organization is not mapped via its organizational chart

But it’s not the fact that you have many more boxes and lines that I’m most envious of.  It’s your “white space” I want – Oh, Yeah? Well, My Org Chart is Bigger and More Beautiful Than Yours!

On the need to manage self-organized teams when required

The interesting thing is, the further we go into agile management territory the less typical the managerial job we expect. Teams are self-organizing and cross-functional, and sometimes we think a manager should just get out of the way. By the way, surprisingly often this is exactly the best choice. But whenever one of the asshole-moments is needed, it is time to show up and do what has to be done. Otherwise the atmosphere starts rotting as people wait for someone who will fix things. Someone who will do something about this guy adding a new technology every time he reads some nice article. Someone who will deal with that lass taking a few days off because she doesn’t really care about the project being late and the team working their butts off to get back on the right track. That’s always a job for a manager, and a harsh one, no matter how self-organized the team is – Good Managers Sometimes Have to Play Assholes – NOOP.NL.

Interesting blog posts on Leadership (November 27, 2009)

The seven levels of authority or how to empower people

Every topic requires its own level of authority, and the further you go the better it is. But in some cases, it is best to start by telling or selling, and then gradually increase the authority of team members as their experience grows. [Choosing Authority Levels for Team Members – NOOP.NL].

Using Humility to Improve Performance

When people act humbly, they are acknowledging their limitations and accepting that they cannot go it alone. This mindset is valuable to a team because it serves as an invitation for others to help. [Use Humility to Improve Performance – John Baldoni –].

Listening, Humility, and Accountability as part of Leadership Training

GE has revised the curriculum at Crotonville, its famed management development center, to learn from mistakes it made in the current recession. There is an emphasis on teaching executives to focus on humility and listening as well as encouraging them “to challenge assumptions, think more globally,” and be “more accountable.” Listening, humility, and accountability are good first steps to inspiration; and assumption busting and global thinking may help with setting better direction. [What It Takes to Lead Now – John Baldoni –].

Self-Organizing Team versus Anarchy

First, I’d like to get away from the idea that agile teams are leaderless and that leadership only revolves around the team depending on the situation (this type of situational leadership does occur, and often, it just does not replace a good leader). There is just too much experience and management literature that shows that good leaders make a big difference. The anarchist wants to eliminate leaders and merely go with situational leadership. However, there is also a large contingent in the agile community that think the right approach is to change the style of leadership, not to eliminate leaders. It’s easy to rail against poor managers or leaders and advocate eliminating them. It’s much harder to work with organizations to change their leadership style to one that supports an agile environment. [The Cutter Blog » Blog Archive » No More Self-Organizing Teams].

Leadership and Agile Teams

As for leadership, it’s like mom-and-apple-pie. Everyone seems to agree that leadership is a good thing, don’t they? Though how that leadership is appointed, sanctioned or manifested is the subject of debate, I think we all agree that leadership is a good thing on Agile teams. My own position is that, if we can find ways to reduce non-value added management work caused by the reality of organizational silos (via Lean Kanban systems, etc), we can then all — managers and non-managers alike — get down to the important business of figuring how to lead our Agile teams. Until then, having a role that addresses the management work is simply a necessity. [LitheSpeed’s LitheBlog: Exploring Lean and Agile: Is it Groundhog Day? Thoughts on Self Organization, Self-Discipline & Light Touch Leadership].

Interesting blog posts (November 13/2009)

In Build Your Self Confidence Like a Leader, Marshall Goldsmith talks about self-confidence in a leader and the associated 5 key attributes:

  1. Don’t worry about being perfect,
  2. Learn to live with failure,
  3. After you make the final decision — commit!,
  4. Show courage on the outside — even if you don’t always feel it on the inside, and
  5. Find happiness and contentment in your work.

Tony Morgan published 10 reasons why you’re going to fail! – he shares his thoughts on common reasons why failure happens.

Dan MacCarthy shares his Leadership Development Carnival and inline with my series of posts on “Communities“, Jurgen Appelo published Self-Organization vs. Emergence while Eric D. Brown published his links for November 1st.

Finally, George Ambler referred to Forbes’ list of The Most Influential Business Thinkers. Although the names on the list are debatable, it is an interesting list nonetheless.

Interesting blog posts (October 29/2009)

Steve Roesler has a great post. “The Four Things Every Employee Wants to Know” is simple and accurate. They are easy questions to remember and would make a huge difference in increasing your employees’ job satisfaction.

Want to know “the most important skills needed to be an effective global leader“?. Dan McCarthy explains why Ethics, Honesty, Transparency, Integrity, Humility, Respect, Flexibility, and Collaboration are the most important.

Organisational Design, Development and Change” presents various organizational structures.



Interesting blog posts (September 22/2009)

I finally got a chance to catch-up on some reading…

Paula Marshall asks: Ego vs. Pride: Can you have one without the other?

I attended Richard Sheridan’s presentation at Agile 2009. In this article, he talks about the hiring process at Menlo Innovations.

Anthony K. Tjan on Why Small Companies Are Better at Customer Service.

Seth Godin on Understanding business development.

Eric D. Brown presents Five (bad) Lessons for The New CIO.

Steven Demaio on The Art of Giving Praise.

John Baldoni on Humility as a Leadership Trait.

Interesting blog posts (August 19/2009)

The common theme for these blog posts – leadership and people management.

John Baldoni explains How to Manage Your High-Performing Team.

Bret L. Simmons talks about Employee Engagement.

Sylvia Ann Hewlett uses Apple as an example in Inspire Employees at the Grass-Roots Level.

Interesting blog posts (July 30/2009)

Along the same line as an earlier post I wrote, Tara Lee Whitaker demonstrates that using an Agile approach (Lean or Scrum) allows you to start realising the benefit of your work before the project is officially ‘finished’.

Mike Cottmeyer highlights the challenges of not defining what “Done” means.

Interesting blog posts (July 23/2009)

ANTHONY TJAN provides Four Simple Ways to Make Your Employees Happier – Help her create a meaningful role, Give feedback, Offer professional development, and Say thank you.

Scott McArthur also discusses happy employees = performing employees.

JOHN BALDONI provides information on How to Make People Passionate About Their Work.

Henrik MĂ„rtensson talks about Performance Evaluations, Business Strategy, and Agile Methodologies which is related to the perception issue I raise in a recent post.

Eric D. Brown provides suggestions to Mind the gap between Strategy and Tactics.

Bret L. Simmons brings up something counter-intuitive in his post – Optimism: Too Much of a Good Thing for Entrepreneurs?