Written by Derek Huether Tuesday, 9 October 2012 03:06
There isn’t a week that goes by that I don’t hear some awesome quote or analogy. I put as many as I can into my mental back pocket, hoping for an opportunity to pull one out at a moments notice. When you’re stuck for a quote or analogy, to help someone understand what you’re trying to say, do you ever ask yourself what’s that awesome quote that I just heard the other day?
Though not all quotes or analogies are applicable to what you do, some are just cool.
Here are 10 that I keep handy. I actually had a longer list but nobody likes to read really long lists.
Are there any quotes you would like to share? Please add them to the comments section.
- Because the needs of the one… outweigh the needs of the many. – Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Captain Kirk. I like to use this quote when explaining the contrast between egoism, utilitarianism, and altruism (servant-leadership).
- The more they overthink the plumbing, the easier it is to stop up the drain. – Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, Scotty. I’m admittedly a Star Trek geek. I’ve used this once when trying to articulate Lean thinking. I also segway into the untrue but compelling story of the Million Dollar Space Pen.
- The thing is, Bob, it’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care. – Office Space, Peter Gibbons. I like to use Office Space quotes, particularly when referring to empowered teams and while drinking from my Initech coffee cup. Mmm’kay? Greeeeat.
- Luck is not a factor. Hope is not a strategy. Fear is not an option. - James Cameron. This quote was on the back of the LeadingAgile t-shirts we all wore at Agile 2012. I still have strangers walk up to me and ask about its origin.
- That which does not kill us makes us stronger. - Friedrich Nietzsche. I think of this quote during almost every run I take. After taking an inventory as to my physical condition, I have a mental debate as to stopping or keep pushing forward. I keep pushing forward.
- We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.- Walt Disney. I’ve told my son over and over again to challenge the status quo (I don’t call it the status quo because he’s seven) and when given the choice, try new things.
- When we go into that new project, we believe in it all the way. We have confidence in our ability to do it right. - Walt Disney The power of positive thinking and an empowered team.
- Plans are of little importance, but planning is essential – Winston Churchill. Another almost identical quote came from Dwight D. Eisenhower: Plans are worthless, but planning is everything When I talk about the Agile Manifesto and how should be responding to change over following a plan, this becomes one of my most commonly used quotes.
- Stable Velocity. Sustainable Pace - Mike Cottmeyer. This quote appears on the back of the LeadingAgile running shirt. It has become the unofficial motto of my life, as it applies to work, family, and running
- We don’t need an accurate document, we need a shared understanding - Jeff Patton. I was attending Jeff’s session at Agile 2012, when I heard him say this. It really resonated with me. I don’t know if the quote was scripted or impromptu. Regardless, when I recently quoted him at a Project Managment Symposium in Washington DC, I saw over 400 project managers nodding their heads.
Written by Derek Huether Thursday, 4 October 2012 09:08
I want to thank everyone for coming out to the PMI Washington D.C. Project Management Symposium. It was a great crowd. The ballroom was full and I was told there were over 400 people in the room for my talk. As promised, here is the SlideShare of my presentation. At the end, you have the ability to download it.Join the conversation. There are currently 4 comments.
Written by Mike Cottmeyer Tuesday, 2 October 2012 11:27
Project Managers get a bad rap. Many times, when we hear “project manager”, we think of the middle-aged man who either can’t cut it anymore technically, or that woman who is little too bossy for her position, or the self-important young guy angling for a promotion. Granted, many PMs are placed into leadership roles without having the requisite soft skills to be successful. However, there is one thing that has remained a positive constant with any good project manager I’ve seen: change management.
I once heard a speaker at the annual PMI Global Congress in North America say “Project Managers are change masters. We lead teams and organizations from current state to future state”. For the life of me, I can’t remember the name of the talk or the speaker. But his one closing line stuck with me. (Sidenote: if you’re that Congress speaker, please let us know by posting a comment below). I *love* this quote, and I’ve used it to kickstart an activity in the agile classes I teach to project managers. It goes something like this:
“Okay, PMs. You’ve reached the end of two days of agile training. When you go back to the office, you will be faced with the status quo of bad quality, late projects, and burned-out teams. You are change masters. You will be charged with leading us from current state to an agile state. In your groups, design a agile transition plan.”
I’ve done this about a half-dozen times now with classes specifically offered to PMI Chapters across the country, and the outputs are amazing. Here is a list of some of the things proposed by these much maligned project managers:
- Find an executive champion
- Use an Agile process to roll out your agile process, using monthly or quarterly iterations
- Have your agile expert be the Product Owner, leading a dedicated transition team, and reporting to senior stakeholders
- Craft an Agile Adoption Backlog, consisting of things like: training, an agile pilot project, a list of organizational roadblocks
- Focus on thin vertical slices of the organization, just like you would with potentially shippable product increments
- Implement both process metrics (% teams transitioned) and business metrics (stakeholder satisfaction) to measure progress
In case you didn’t notice, this is eerily similar to the kind of guidance you might get from an agile expert. I’ve been at agile conferences where audiences swooned at a keynote speaker recommending essentially the same things. But these plans are produced by professionals who have little to no experience working with agile techniques. Interestingly, this exercise does NOT work very well with a room full of engineers or analysts new to agile concepts. Instead, it’s the PMI groups that have the most success with applying their new agile training to change management.
Of course there will still be project managers out there that resist your move to modern management practices. But the next time you come across one of those project managers, pull them into the conversation and challenge them “How would you transition us to the future state we want?” You just might be surprised as the results.
How about you? Have you ever worked with a Project Manager that was really good at Change Management?
Join the conversation.
Written by Mike Cottmeyer Tuesday, 25 September 2012 07:31
Just a quick note to let you guys that LeadingAgile is continuing to grow. This time we aren’t adding more consultants… we are adding more infrastructure!
First… I’d like to welcome Eric Kristfelt as our new Director of Business Development. Eric and I have known each other since our days together at VersionOne. Eric sold me into my first long term consulting gig with those guys. It was quite a coup ‘cuase VersionOne doesn’t usually do that kind of coaching. The gig just happened to be in our backyard and in my area of domain expertise… financial services. It was a good fit so we grabbed it. Anyway… Eric and I stayed in touch after I left V1 so when he was ready to make a move, we talked.
Given that we are partners with VersionOne… this kind of stuff can get pretty dicey. Everything was handled above board and with VersionOne’s full blessing. It was all very cool and we are looking forward to having Eric on board to help fuel our already rapid growth!
Next… I’d like to welcome Kate Kelly onto the team. I’ve known Kate literally since elementary school and Denise and Kate have been friends forever. As we’ve grown, sometimes the amount of back office stuff takes more time than Denise can give. Kate joined the team to help Denise with the overflow in the short term… but long term she gives us extra bandwidth to support our growing team while we are out on the road working with clients.
Anyway… please join me in welcoming Eric and Kate to the team! We are SUPER excited to have both of the on board!
Written by Dean Stevens Thursday, 20 September 2012 08:00
When working with organizations in Agile transformations, I help them to do what makes sense. I encourage them to challenge me when they think I am suggesting something that does not make sense.
Do what makes Lean-Agile Sense
Here is the rub. When I explain what makes sense, I talk in terms of “principle based” sense. Agile Sense provides a set of values and principles to guide our decisions and actions to achieve an Agile mindset. Lean Sense explains some of the process science of flow embodied in Agile methods. It is surprisingly easy to loose sight of this at key moments. Education and training on the Agile Manifesto and Lean Thinking is critical early on.The rest of the coaching engagement is a pragmatic application of Agile and Lean sense in decision making. This is a great way to help them learn and for me to make sure they understand.
Beware of Common Sense (and Be Aware of Culture)
Organizations and individuals will face challenges in an Agile transformation. They will struggle with decision making to solve these challenges. This struggle is good. But if they are not intentionally doing what makes Lean-Agile sense, they will inspect and adapt away from Agile. Teams tend to revert to solutions based on common sense in the organization. Common sense is the knowledge and experience most people have. It is based on what has “worked” in the past. It is remarkable how fast a group can slide back to what they did before based on common sense.
A Bias for Less
Common sense tells us we need more of the things on the right of the Manifesto. More documentation and following the plan. These are comfortable and safe. Agile sense encourages a bias for less on the right. Encourage a bias for less of the items on the right instead of more.
For example, as teams struggle understanding what to build, some managers want to solve the problem with more documentation. Agile Sense encourages progress towards working software. Start with getting getting better at collaboration to demonstrate software sooner.
Common sense tells us big batches lead to efficiencies of scale. Lean sense explains big batches lead to expensive delayed feedback and wasted effort that out weigh these efficiencies. Without fast feedback, we do not learn as we discover the solution.
Stay engaged in retrospectives and decision making. Look for common sense solutions.
- A bias for more of the things on the right side of the Manifesto
- A bias for bigger batches
- A bias for delay in feedback
Change the conversation with Agile and Lean sense. Promote a bias for less, not more.Join the conversation. There is currently 1 comment.
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