The Scrum approach to agile software development marks a dramatic departure from waterfall management. Scrum and other agile methods were inspired by its shortcomings. Scrum emphasizes collaboration, functioning software, team self management, and the flexibility to adapt to emerging business realities.


Comfort Zone

Posted by ewok_bbq under transformation

What can this picture tell us about getting outside of our comfort zone?

This picture is of Todd Carmichael.  According to the source of all that is true in this world [] Todd is the first American to cross the Antarctic to the South Pole unassisted, unaided and solo and is now the world recorded holder in terms of speed by an America. The picture above was taken of him shortly after he finished.  #LikeaBoss his official finishing time is now grained in ink across his bicep.  According to his own video journal the distance was 700 miles.  Why would he do this?  According to the documentary that filmed him he did this to emulate his adventure seeking hero’s of yesteryear.
In reading about Todd, and watching his new TV program I  can only think that this man doesn’t live inside his comfort zone.  Its clear that he’s really pushing the envelope everyday and driving himself to be better.
So as you think about getting going in 2013, take time to think about something really really big.  What will you build? How can you transform yourself? How will you innovate a new solution to delight a customer? What will drive you to be the best you can be?
I love to follow folks like Todd.  Anytime I feel like slacking off or giving up, I just think – what would Todd do? 🙂
Interested in learning more about Todd’s trip to the South Pole?  Check out the video previews below from Nat Geo.

Upwards and Onwards…. Go! Fight! Win!
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Transformation Strategies – Seth vs. Randy

Posted by ewok_bbq under Scrum Transitions, Uncategorized

It’s New Years Eve and personal and professional transformation seem to be top of mind for most everyone around this time a la (a) goal setting exercises and (b) the obligatory New Years resolutions.

I wanted to offer two different takes on transformation, one is a bottom up and one is top down.  In the bottom up interview the #1 blogger in the world talks about how to make incremental changes through experimentation when you don’t have the authority to change the entire system.  In the top-down interview we hear from a professional CIO how to transform a failing business to be more data driven and innovative.

The first take on transformation is from Seth Godin, the #1 blogger in the world. Here’s Seth Godin’s interview on transformation.  Have a watch. Do you agree or is this characterization oversimplified?



Seth Godin: How do you change the system when you don’t have the power?

Next – have a watrandy_mottch of Uber-CIO Randy Mott. Randy Mott was the CIO of Wal-Mart, Dell as well as HP and is now CIO of GM). In this interview with Information Week where he talks through his transformation playbook:
*Data Driven Decisions
*The Speed Merchant – bringing cycle times down
*Efficiency vs. Effectiveness
*How to move money around to be more around innovation and less around keeping the lights on

He will be in-housing over 8,000 IT jobs to innovation centers to hot tech markets like Austin, Texas or Silicon Valley.

Do you agree with Randy or Seth? What are your guiding goals in 2013? Looking forward to reading your comments.



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Discretionary Energy and Paul O’Neill

Posted by ewok_bbq under Agile and Scrum

A few days ago I paul_o_picwatched a CNN special produced by Fareed Zakaria Editor-at-Large of TIME Magazine which featured an interview with the 72nd US Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill.  For those who missed the program I wanted to offer a summary of the piece as well as some follow on analysis.  As usual, I encourage all of the readers to submit comments in the comments section below.


Before becoming the 72nd US Treasury Secretary Mr. O’Neill was the CEO of Alcoa.  When he came into the organization, by all accounts Alcoa was lagging behind in terms of both employee morale and revenues and not delighting users.  Instead of focusing on increasing revenues, Mr. O’Neill zeroed in on safety.   At first glance it seemed like a very curious choice and one that did get immediate negative feedback from his management team and some of the long time tenured employees at Alcoa.


So why would a new CEO spend most of his time on an initiative focused on safety?  Really, how would that lead to profit and revenue growth?  The answer is the concept of Discretionary Energy.


Discretionary energy is the amount of attention you are getting from your employees and it speaks to their willingness to be “checked-in” vs. their willingness to be “checked-out” during work hours.  What Mr. O’Neill recognized was that there was a correlation between his employees’ safety violations decreasing and discretionary energy increasing. Amazingly, even with his internal detractors, his theory played out.  What he saw was a huge decrease in safety violations and a huge increase in discretionary energy.


Once the employee base discretionary energy was at a heightened level, Mr. O’Neill could begin leveraging his successful experiment by rolling out additional top-down initiatives that would spur additional activities / yielding results that he wanted.  With employees already going the extra mile and sending additional energy around safety it wouldn’t be a stretch to ask them to do the same around other tasks.


When you go back to work after the first of the year, ask yourself –how much discretionary energy are you spending at work? How much is being asked of you (are you allowing yourself to be checked out)?  And if you are a manager ask yourself, what you can ask your team to focus on that would heighten their discretionary energy levels.



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Culture at the core

Posted by admin under Agile and Scrum, Agile Assessment, Agile Principles, Scrum Basics, Scrum Discussion, Scrum Transitions

Here’s a link to a number of blog posts I’ve been reading that have culture and transformation at the core.  I’ve aggregated my favorites.   Feel free to add to the list below in the comments section.  I’ll respond with what I think.

  • Here’s an article I stumbled upon while reading LinkedIn.  It’s written by Jeff DeGraff a Professor from the US.  In it, he talks about culture change vs. culture growth and digs back into his Hungarian roots (yay!  He’s Hungarian just like me).   Have a read here
  • If you are new to systems thinking, here’s a great blog post I read by John Wenger: 
  • What is DevOps anyways? With all the hype around Developer Operations or DevOps – this blogger reminds us to consider that it’s culture at the middle
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