Proactive Means Watch Your Step Please

Proactive Means Watch Your Step Please

AgileCxO (Washington DC)
Friday, September 22, 2017  1 – 4 PM
Agile – Leadership Required!

The Venue:
The Mead Center for American Theater
1101 6th Street Southwest
Washington, D.C. 20024

Denver Startup Week
Thursday, Sept 28, 2017  8 – 10 AM
Storytelling: Developing the Big Picture for Agile Efforts

The Venue:
3001 Brighton Blvd.

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The Software Process and Measurement Cast 440 features our essay on two storytelling techniques: premortems and business obituaries.  Almost all work that takes more than a few days is subject to risks that are not immediately obvious without some form of structured process to focus the team’s thought process. Teams often use storytelling techniques to generate a big picture/vision to guide a project or to help people frame their thoughts. A story provides a deeper and more nuanced connection between the team and information than most lists of PowerPoint bullets or a structured requirements documents. The same storytelling skill can be used as a risk management tool. Premortums and business obituaries are structured techniques for using storytelling for risk management.

Our second column is from Jeremy Berriault. Jeremy discusses the importance of conferences for learning new ideas and for networking.  Jeremy suggests that if you are have not learned new ways to test and you are testing the same way you were last year then you are falling behind. Jeremy  blogs at  

Jon M Quigley brings his column, The Alpha and Omega of Product Development, to the Cast. In this installment, Jon discusses mental models and their impact on how you develop and deliver value.  One of the places you can find Jon is at Value Transformation LLC.

Re-Read Saturday News

Chapter 3 of Holacracy completes Part 1 by laying out the structure needed for an organization to be able to quickly and continuously evolve how authority is distributed.  An organization’s structure needs to be conducive to the processes needed to distribute authority.  This chapter provides an alternative to the classic pyramid structure of organization design which is typically out of date, irrelevant and difficult to change.

Visit the Software Process and Measurement Cast blog to participate in this and previous re-reads.

A Call To Action

I need your help. I have observed that most podcasts and speakers at conferences over-represent people from Europe and North America.  I would like to work on changing that exposure. I would like to develop a feature featuring alternate software development voices beginning with Africa and Southeast Asia. If this feature works we will extend it to other areas.   If you can introduce me to practitioners that would be willing to share their observations (short interviews) I would be appreciative!


The next Software Process and Measurement Cast will feature our interview with John Le Drew.  John and I discussed the concept of safety at work and how safety, or the lack of it, affects software teams.  John is the host of the Agile Path Podcast I recommend you check out his podcast but make sure you are back here for our interview next week!

Shameless Ad for my book!

Mastering Software Project Management: Best Practices, Tools and Techniques co-authored by Murali Chematuri and myself and published by J. Ross Publishing. We have received unsolicited reviews like the following: “This book will prove that software projects should not be a tedious process, for you or your team.” Support SPaMCAST by buying the book here. Available in English and Chinese.


Many of the contributors to the Software Process and Measurement Cast are give webinars, attend and present at conferences.  On a monthly basis, I will provide a list of webinars and conferences that we will be attending. If I get discount codes for any of the conferences I will pass them on to you! (more…)

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Conferences force us to sit next to people we don’t know, to interact during exercises and maybe even have a conversation that would not happen if you were watching a webinar in your cube.  Professional conferences force attendees to step outside of their comfort zone. Even if it is a tiny step, it can possibly change how we perceive the world.

Shifting outside of our comfort zone, a state of mind without a sense of risk, makes it easier see things differently. Our comfort zone can be limiting, because it insulates you from perceiving change. Dr. Bill Joiner, in his keynote at the Scrum Gathering, Las Vegas 2013, suggested that today’s managers must have the ability to achieve sustained success in a rapidly changing environment or they won’t survive. I translate that to mean that comfort zones are a thing of the past.

In person professional conferences are a tool to challenge us intellectually and provide a platform for changing how we think about our professional challenges. For example:

  • Presentations that challenge orthodoxy that wouldn’t draw as mass-market webinars.
  • Free form programming such as Open Spaces or Un-conferences that open the lectern to anyone with an idea or a question.
  • Access to experts for formal and informal conversations.

Regardless of your profession, not challenging ourselves to move outside of our comfort zone will make us intellectually lazy.  Without challenges we can’t hope to raise our game to meet the future.  Attending professional conferences and benefiting from not only the presentations but from the interactions is a powerful tool to meet the challenges of tomorrow’s workplace.