How to Survive the Downturn

Is a downturn inevitable? Given all the talk in the past couple months, it seems that a downturn can no longer help but to become a self-fulfilling prophecy if it has not already set in. The only question is how long and how deep? How should companies approach these uncertain times? Most of the companies I am talking to seem to be continuing much with business as usual. Granted, I am not currently working with investment banks nor home builders, but even a company I am working with that is … Continue Reading >

Piloting for Success

Although they have value, I’m not here to talk about quick hit or proof of concept projects. I’m talking about what leaders can learn from the disciplines of piloting aircraft. I earned my private pilot license in May of 2005. This post is a reflection on that experience and how it applies to business. Coaching Know anyone that learned to fly without a flight instructor? Not likely. Even if it were not an FAA requirement, it’s unlikely that anyone since Orville and Wilbur would try it. A good part of … Continue Reading >

Measuring Outputs Expanded

I talked at a high level in my Measure Outputs post about the types of measures that are useful. That post stated broadly that input measures do little to help improve, control or predict performance. In this post, I will expand on that concept to cover in more depth what types of measures focus on output and help drive process improvement. Perhaps the best known framework for creating measures is the balanced score card. This sets up categories of metrics that support an organizations strategies and vision. From the Balanced … Continue Reading >

Why Sign on the Dotted Line

Consulting organizations often require signoff on deliverables to ensure that the client acknowledges that contractual obligations are met. Across organizational lines, these signatures, serve mostly a legal purpose. I often wondered about the use of signoff on deliverables inside of an organization where there is no external relationship. I’ve seen some development shops average as many as 15 or 20 of these sign-offs a day. The intent of getting signatures on product deliverables, of course, is to ensure that the proper attention was given to the creation of the product. … Continue Reading >

Agile Aligned Organization

What should an agile organization look like? Continue Reading >

Learn from Successes and Failures

Brad Feld has a great post up today titled “What do you Suck At?  I love the exercise he describes that asks participants to talk about what they suck at. I was recently listening to a podcast from the Standford Entrepreneurial Thought Leaders Seminar by Tina Seeling.  She has an assignment in one of her classes for students to write a failure resume.  While typical resumes focus on successes, she suggests that we learn more by understanding our failures. Why? To me, failures and shortcomings define your learning. Great failures … Continue Reading >

People Laws (part 2)

This post continues the Laws of Development Physics as related to people elements that impact development. Continue Reading >

People Laws (part 1)

“…when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind; it may be the beginning of knowledge, but you have scarcely in thought advanced to the stage of science, whatever the matter may be.”                                                                                                                   – Lord Kelvin “There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement.”                                                                                                                   – Lord Kelvin While most will differ with Lord Kelvin’s second statement from 1900, I am somewhat more agreeable with him on the first quote.  As … Continue Reading >

Pay Now or Pay Later

To follow up on the fourth law, I add as reinforcement the fifth law of development physics:  If you cannot pay for variability reduction, you will pay in one or more of the following ways: Long iteration times and high story points in progress Wasted capacity or need for more resources Slower burn down rates Of course, the other option is to accept poor quality, which has an entirely different set of costs.  Either way,  the variably in a development process has real costs if not addressed.  This means that … Continue Reading >

Are you a Resultant?

I was reading through some old notes this evening and ran across this idea:    Consultant:    – Delivers Reports    – Retains skill     Resultant:     – Delivers Results     – Transfers Skills While I don’t think I want to be called a “Resultant,” I like how simply this places a focus on generating valued results and outputs. It also reminds us that it’s not just about doing for and to clients; we are most valuable when we help clients achieve results that they can successfully repeat themselves.