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Showing posts from December, 2010

Dan Pink thinks my wife is Good-looking & Wise.

How cool is technology that connects an author with a fan on a personal level.  Perhaps this is just a simple marketing technique.  The author auto-searches the twitter stream for reference to their name or book, and then sends a personal reply to the originating person.  What does this personal attention from a respected author do for the person?  It creates a level of bonding that humans crave.

The result was more powerful than any advertising.  Now Dan Pink has recruited me to spread his message about his book.  Is this just a simple motivation trick - is he a Jedi Master with motivation mind tricks?  I'm telling all my friends that he thinks my wife is Good Looking and Wise.  Hey, that's a quote.


Buy it at Amazon.


Related Post:  It happened again. I enjoy being manipulated by Master Jedi

Dogfood David

I just tagged myself Dogfood David in a retrospective the other day.  Our Product Owner was running a few team building games.  We were playing an Agile word association name game, the ball was tossed to me, the pressure was on, I had to find an Agile word/concept that started with D.  Dogfood David just blurted out of me.

Why did this happen?

As it turns out I do believe in eating my own dogfood.  I have literally made and eaten dogfood.



My wife and I had two dogs when we were married.  After our honeymoon we moved to Salt Lake City and bought new unknown brand of dog food.  Our golden retriever, Tyler, had epilepsy and  he started having daily convulsions.  My wife spotted the pattern. She had been reading about controlling epilepsy in humans via diet.  She put two very temporal separate things together and decide that we had to change Tyler's diet.  More research turned up a book that recommended a vegetarian diet for dogs with epilepsy.

We started making dog food.  Tyler became…

What replaces co-location in Agile?

What replaces co-locations and face-to-face collaboration?

In the Agile Manifesto's 12 principles we see the requirement for collaboration, this one however requires co-location.  How else will we get face-to-face conversations?
The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation. There are many suggestions for the substitution or replacement of co-location, but none to date have been effective.
Conference PhonesWeb camsHigh end video conferencesVirtual roomsHolodecks
Web cams are a cheep (you get what you pay for) alternative.  If you are going this direction, my advice is to buy a MacBook ($1000). Buy one for both ends of your connection. I believe Apple will be a leader in the video conference/phone market place within 5 years (see timeline).  I can FaceTime with my iPhone and your MacBook, talk about portable!

PCs with USB cameras are a poor choice.  How effective will it be to pick up your laptop with a…

A Ball of Whacks

I broke out some of my toys in a training class the other day.  A brought out just a few at a time.  Its nice to keep a few surprises in the bag.  Toys add to the fun quotient.

One of the standard toys is a rubber chicken.  This is a fun item to have.  Most people are shocked that I have one and would actually bring it into the work place.  But after they get to play with it, the fear of having fun at work seems to dissipate.


I like the squishy rubber chicken - they come in all types of rubber, you can buy them online - but to get the kind that feel a bit icky (like cold chicken skin) you have to touch and feel them in a toy store.

The rubber chicken can be used for so many things in a training class or workshop.  A "talking token" - only if you have the chicken may you speak.  Or to transport the team forward in time, so that they can Remember the Future.  You've heard of the magic of  waving a dead chicken - right?

The chicken is fun - but the best toy is the Ball of W…

Myth of the Construction meme in Software

I'm reading Scott L. Bain's book Emergent Design - The Evolutionary nature of Professional Software Development.  I'm reading it because of the discussion in a work session on the nature of software just this week.  One person was describing why we software developers needed to think long and hard on our problems and design the best possible solution to deliver value to our customer.  He was advocating the BDUF philosophy.  I asked if he thought software could be grown, as a tree is grown from a seed into a seedling and then many years later a mighty oak tree.  He said software was more like the Sears Tower (a local to Chicago never refers to the building by it's current name - Willis Tower).

I'm constantly amazed by the power of a meme.  The ability of this construction based mental model to remain within our industry is astounding.  Discussing this with a colleague, we thought this one model to be one of the hardest for people in their transition to Agile to re-w…

Long Distance Communication Timeline

Wondering about improving the collaboration of a distributed Scrum team, I started thinking of the history of long distance communication.  I'm no expert but here's what I see in history, the trend, the current state, and the future.

History shows us that we humans have struggled with the problem of transmitting message over space.  Getting a signal to cross space is easy, attaching meaning to the signal has been much harder and insuring the veracity of the meaning is really tough.  None of that insures that meaning has been understood.  However we have studied this phenomenon and found that increasing the modes of message transmitted improves the understanding of the  received message.  That is; as we move along the modal continuum of written, verbal, visual, video messages we increase the chance for higher fidelity message understanding.

Lessons to be learned - use the highest bandwidth medium possible.

But in the year 2010, I still find our technology lacking.  Dick Tracy h…