Self Improvement

Travel is an eye-opening process.  It delivers wonder and knowledge.  It is also time-consuming.  In the past few days, I have spent 20 hours in planes, trains, buses, autos and walking.  All good, but instead of new content I am sharing a re-edited version of our 2015 Pomodoro article. (more…)

Sunset at the beach is a moment of clarity!

Silence is a powerful tool to guide conversations and mine information from the stream of consciousness that flows around us. If silence was just a tool to improve our connections with people and to improve listening, it would be worth practicing. But, silence is also a tool to peer deeper into our minds. Silence improves relaxation and helps individuals to focuses. On the other hand, sound and input also have physiological impacts.  (more…)


The longest days of winter are often a trigger for introspection. Introspection provides time for evaluating what has worked and what hasn’t, it provides time to consider the path you are on and to decide to change that path. As importantly introspection provides an opportunity to navigate feelings, issues, and words at a conversation level. Silence is an enabler for introspection at many levels. Silence is the space between sounds and other inputs. Silence can happen or be manufactured. Silence is powerful because it both allows thought in yourself and evokes action in others at exactly the same time. Silence at the level of a conversation can have multiple benefits.

Silence enables listening – simply put if you are talking you are not listening. Close your mouth and listen to what is being said. One of the hardest lessons of interviewing I have learned from the past 11’ish years of the Software Process and Measurement Cast is not listening just to know when it is your turn to talk or to listen just to generate the next question. Both are destructive to understanding. (more…)

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SPaMCAST 452 features our essay on personal process improvement.  We are responsible for our own path in life. Stepping back and reviewing where we are today and where we want to be tomorrow is a form of a retrospective.  Just like any other retrospective, the goal is to change the trajectory of the path you are on.   

Kim Pries, the Software Sensei, discusses ethics in software. Ethics guide (or they don’t) practitioners of all types.  Many certification organizations include ethics statements but rarely have the teeth to enforce those ethics.  Kim asks whether this approach makes sense.

Anchoring the cast is Jon Quigley with his Alpha and Omega of Product Development column.  Jon is beginning a three column theme on the impact of people and learning on product development. One of the places you can find Jon is at Value Transformation LLC.

Re-Read Saturday News

Today we continue re-reading The Science of Successful Organizational Change led by Steven Adams.  THis week we dive into Chapter One titled Failed Change:  The Greatest Preventable Cost to Business?  The frightening part of this chapter is how intimately it resonates based on personal observation. Remember to buy your copy.   

Previous installments:

Week 1: Game Plan

Week 2: Introduction   

Week 3: Failed Change


Horse Crossing Sign

What is the Question?  Horse Crossing

Questions are a powerful tool for eliciting information, helping people grow, or leading people.  However asking questions often requires more than just opening your mouth and uttering the first words that come to mind.  Asking the right questions at the right time is a combination of art, science, and preparation. (more…)


Emotional intelligence often touted as a tool that can be used to make every outcome better. However, the more academic literature suggests economic intelligence is not a panacea.  There are numerous papers that identify scenarios in which emotional Intelligence has not discernible impact on business outputs and might actually get in the way. Several are described below: (more…)


Emotional intelligence is the proficiency of identifying and managing our own emotions and the emotions of others. Not everyone has the skills to be emotionally intelligent.  Skills represent an ability that comes from knowledge, practice, and aptitude in order to do something well. While everyone has a different beginning and maximum level of natural capability, between those boundaries skills can be learned and honed. (more…)

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Happy New Year!  

SPaMCAST 425 features our annual tune-up ideas. We need to strive to be more effective and efficient every day or the world will pass us by!  These are suggestions that have worked for me and might be useful for you.

We will also have columns from Steve Tendon with another chapter in his Tame The Flow: Hyper-Productive Knowledge-Work Performance, The TameFlow Approach and Its Application to Scrum and Kanban, published by J Ross (buy a copy here).  Steve and I talked about Chapter 14 which covers kanban, flow, and throughput.  

Anchoring the cast is Gene Hughson’s Form Follows Function Blog with an entry in his theme of leadership patterns and anti-patterns.  This week we talk about The Great Pretender.

Remember that Penny Pullan in SPaMCAST 424 offered listeners a great offer!  Penny provided a coupon for her new book  Virtual Leadership for 20% off.  Use the code  VLF20 at, which includes post and packing in the UK and the USA. (more…)


Blocking Out Extraneous Items Provides Focus

The end of the year is nigh!  We continue to break down nine of the techniques I have found useful to improve efficiency and effectiveness over the past year. Techniques include blocking electronic distractions, replanning, thinly slicing work, and a few simple time management techniques.  Put your phone into airplane mode and turn up your effectiveness and efficiency all the way up to 11.   (more…)

Tight stairway to the sky

Block Out Distractions

As the New Year’s celebration approaches, it is useful to reflect on how we can become more efficient and effective.  Continuing breaking down nine of the techniques I have found useful over the past year we explore a selection ranging from saying “no” to time boxing. The goal is to not only get more done but to get the right things done.   (more…)

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