On the rim of one volcano with the cone of a second in the background!

I am hiking volcanoes this week, literally! The 400+ page copy of Thinking, Fast and Slow has not been in my day pack (it is in the luggage). We will be back next week. If you are in Portland, Oregon, I hope to see you at the Pacific NW Software Quality Conference beginning October 14th through the 16th.  I will be speaking on the 15th! Register now: https://www.pnsqc.org/2019-conference/

Also, remember that I have a webinar on value stream and process flow mapping for The Great IT Professional Organization on October 22, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM EST. The registration link is http://bit.ly/2VaFzm3  The webinar is free!  I hope you have time to be in the audience!

Sitting on mountains this week has caused me to reflect on an entry from January 1, 2015, titled, Getting Stuff Done: Daily Retrospectives.  A re-edited version follows —

Reflection is a central tenet of all Agile frameworks. Do a bit of planning, execute against that plan, then step back and reflect on what was done and how it can be done better. Reflection acts as both a capstone for a period of work and as an input into the next cycle. For example, in Scrum, each sprint culminates with the team performing a retrospective so they can learn and improve. Retrospectives have the same power whether they are team-based or done at a personal level. In personal Scrumban, performing a daily retrospective is useful to generate focus and then tuning that focus based on the day-to-day pressures and changes in direction. (more…)

I am taking a day off from our re-read of Thinking, Fast and Slow to spend the day at a pickle festival.  I began the morning with a bike ride (Mr. Adam’s has already commented on Strava) rather than running to change things up just a little which helped shift me to an introspective mood!  For your reading pleasure, a slightly modified entry from the Motivational Sunday series, this one from a Sunday in December 2013.

While we have a little less than half of a year left before the approaching New Year we can still take time to consider the goals and objectives we created for the year or New Year’s resolutions made.  However, many times we set goals that do not support our vision.  Goals are steps along a path, while the vision is the destination.  If we were to write our goals in a user story format, the goal would the action and the vision or strategy the benefit. When goals and vision are not linked, it will be hard to achieve either. (more…)

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SPaMCAST 511 features our essay on reciprocity.  Reciprocal agreements are part of working and playing well with others that we begin learning on the playground and then bring to the office with us. There are many types of reciprocal agreements in a typical agile project.

Entries in the Reciprocity theme:

Reciprocity and Reciprocal Agreements In Action https://bit.ly/2MbxIP3

Five Reciprocal Agreements In Agile https://bit.ly/2MguslE

Reciprocity or Manipulation? Seven Simple Questions https://bit.ly/2CDotIa

Negative and Unhealthy Reciprocity https://bit.ly/2oZRp3v

Our second column features Kim Pries, the Software Sensei.  Kim discusses the use and impact of domain-specific languages.  The Software Sensei provides sage advice!

The final column this week introduces the Software Process and Measurement Cast listeners to Sandeep Koorse. Sandeep delivers advice on an innovative approach to ensure retrospectives deliver value.  Reach out to Sandeep at sandeep@koorse.com

Re-Read Saturday News (more…)

Questions, like most tools, can be used correctly or incorrectly.  A hammer used on a nail or on a screw is still a hammer; however, in most circumstances, we would debate the effectiveness of the hammer when used to insert a screw.  Questions are no different than our proverbial hammer.  Used well they can generate information or shape behavior; used incorrectly they can generate misinformation and friction. When questions are used for coaching and mentoring there are a number of poor practices that should be avoided: (more…)

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What is on your to-do list?

I was recently standing in a line waiting to get on an airplane and overhead a child talking with an adult.  The part of the conversation I heard began, “When I grow up I want to be. . .” Whether the child knew it or not, he was espousing a goal based on his vision of the future. In the run-up to the New Year, it is important to remember the benefits of goal setting. Setting goals is important for deciding what you want to achieve in a specific period, whether a day, month, quarter, year or lifetime. Goal setting provides value by forcing a degree of introspection, acting as a filter to separate the important from the irrelevant and as a guide to channel behavior.

Introspection is the act of calmly reviewing one’s thoughts, sorting through the clutter of day-to-day living. Techniques like retrospectives are a structured approach to introspection at a group and personal level. Meditation is also a valuable technique for individual introspection. The act of stepping back and thinking about the future is an excellent first step in the process of goal setting by providing the quiet space to consider what has been accomplished and to consider aspirations. You need to first agree upon a vision of the future to pursue so that you can set  goals to help to achieve that vision.
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Happy Thanksgiving

Empathy is defined as understanding what another person is experiencing from their frame of reference. Translating that definition into action requires more than just an understanding. People that are empathic exhibit four basic attributes.  A person being empathetic must: (more…)

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Don’t get distracted…

I am experimenting with a set of time and task management techniques that include personal Kanban, The Pomodoro Technique® and retrospectives. I use the term ‘experimenting’ advisedly. Getting stuff done requires a pallet of techniques to tackle the complexity of the day-to-day environment. Unfortunately, I have not found the perfect set of techniques that work in every circumstance. There are a number of hurdles that I have had to address during this current experiment. (more…)