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A FAILURE to Communicate

I was working with a failing team some time ago.  I use "failing" to describe the outcome of the team - not the people on the team.  Are you OK with that description?



An issue arrose in the stand up - a team member that was to verify the quality of a procedure did so and reported that there were a few records that didn't match expectation in the data set.  Upon inquire the number of records not matching was over 2000.  Most people acknowledged immediately the exaggeration - I could tell by the laughter.  After about 10 minutes of discussing the details of the problem - it appeared the team had a handle on the specific situation.

I stopped the discussion and inquired if they could name the impediment.  One team member did a great job of describing the impediment as a _communication gap_.  Wonderful - I could work with that - the problem had a name and it didn't include anyones Proper Name.

"If the problem has a first name; we are going to have a problem."

I&#…
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Apple part number 810-0374 is ART

Great artist sign their work.

There is one part of the original Macintosh I'd like to frame on the wall. Apple part number 810-0374 - the case. It contains signatures of Macintosh design team in raised human font.

Folklore about the Macintosh design team's signing party.


Are you an artist?
I was thinking about this story...  imagine telling it like this.
Some years ago, when the computer industry was not yet launched, and might fold on any quarterly earning report on Wall Street, there was an SOB that drove many team members crazy.  This SOB parked a motorcycle along with a piano in the lobby to inspire the designers.  Some people believe this SOB didn't know how to build teams.  Yet he did know how to build products.  And he did build one of the most successful late 20th/21st Century organizations.  Compare it's operation to that of conglomerates it's revenue size and you will see a stark difference.  This unicorn operates like a team.

Happy New Year! What will you do with 8,760 hours?

Time is something that puzzles me... I tend to "spend" a lot of time thinking about TIME.

I don't truly know how to not "spend" time... if you find a good TIME-Bank, with a savings plan... let me know, please.

I quickly calculated how much I will spend this year - 8,760 hours.  A few years ago I had a unique opportunity to spend about 8,772 hours while most of you only had the standard year - I spent New Years in New Zealand and got some extra... I think I spent it on the plane flight back to Dallas.

Here's a great talk about how we use our time and what we may wish to consider doing with the very very little "free" time we have.

The Time You Have (in JellyBeans)






PEZ -or- Why one shouldn't track Scrum Tasks in Hours

I've been called to task - asked why I teach teams to distinguish between Task Hours and some non-denominational non-specific non-absolute unit.  The latest team I guided used PEZ!  As in the daily stand up a person might be heard to say:
"Yesterday I was working on the code to DisCombobulate the GUID so that we could distinguish customers from guest and the task to peek into the hashed session state was harder than I anticipated - I will need 2 more PEZ to get that done today."
Benefits of "Task Points"

Because it works and is more fun.  Not a sufficient and rational reason.

Because it's a fractal of the concept of Story Points.  Not a practical enough reason.

Because it encourages transparency and acknowledges that we are really bad at estimates.  Not sure we wish to propagate that notion.

Because Scrum has a value of Openness and in that sprit - can we admit that a team of 7 people doing 50 "hours" of tasks a week is really a poor metric.   Is t…

Could your Apple Watch be limiting your Career?

So you have the new Apple Watch - yes, it's quite nice, and you love the convenience of all your notification right on your wrist.  Did you notice that when the VP was asking about the project, as you were describing the challenges you paused, lifted your arm, checked the latest notification that she was a bit put-out by the exchange.  Although you went on to tell her that your team had overcome the challenges with an innovative solution.  The VP disengaged in the dialogue and walked away.  Wonder why?

What was the unintended message of your body language during that encounter?

Did you signal that you were busy, late for an appointment, not interested in the conversation, that you were dismissing the participant - what did your raised arm and glancing at your watch tell the VP?  Is that truly what you wished to signal?

We have had 10 years to learn to use a iPhone and now in meetings you will notice people signaling that they are prepared to engage in the dialogue by placing thei…

Situational Leadership II Model & Theory

Have you ever been in a situation where you thought the technique needed to move forward was one thing, yet the person leading (your leader) assumed something else was what was needed?  Did you feel misaligned, unheard, marginalized?  Would you believe that 54% of all leaders only use ONE style of leadership - regardless of the situation?  Does that one style of leading work well for the many levels of development we see on a team?

Perhaps your team should investigate one of the most widely used leadership models in the world ("used to train over 5 million managers in the world’s most respected organizations").  And it's not just for the leaders.  The training is most effective when everyone receives the training and uses the model.  The use of a ubiquitous language on your team is a collaboration accelerator.  When everyone is using the same mental model, speaking the same vernacular hours of frustration and discussion may be curtailed, and alignment achieved, outcomes …

Where is Shakespeare When We Need Him?

We are desperately searching for a term for people that connotes the best of human kind.  The creative, sensing, combinatorial synergistic, empathic solutioning persons that have yet to been labeled with a role name that works.

Some of the old terms:
Staff, Workforce, Human Resource, My Team, Army, Company

Shakespeare created 1700 words in his time.  He mutated verbs to nouns, and vice-a-versa, transformed verbs into adjectives, and formed words from whole cloth never before heard.  This skill is rare, but there is a poet that can create the term we need in the twenty-first century.

What should this term define?

21st Century Human Resource; the generalizing specialist.

Yes, but what more?  What less?

Suggest your poetry in the comments, let us see if we cannot do 1/1700 as well as The Bard.

By-the-way; who create the phrase "coin a word"?



A TED Play List - How do you create new words
6:52
Erin McKeanGo ahead, make up new words! In this fun, short talk from TEDYouth, lexicographer Er…