In Pursuit of Mastery

Learning and mastery are higher level human needs . Mastery involves both learning and doing. Mastery is the "Ri" level in Shu-Ha-Ri . Mastery requires a lot of trial and error. I recently bought a skateboard.  I haven't owned a skateboard since I was about 15.  It was a little scary getting on it at first.  But it came back, like riding a bike. I ride regular, with my left foot forward, pushing with my right foot.  I had tried goofy--right foot forward--for variety, but couldn't get the hang of it.  But on my first day with my new toy I went too far and hurt my right achilles.  So I couldn't ride anymore unless I rode goofy.  That required that I start over.  I had to learn to balance with my right foot forward.  Had to learn to push with my left foot.  Had to learn to carve by leaning in a way that felt unnatural. I was unsteady.  Self-conscious.  Scared that I might injure myself. As I rode around the neighborhood, I had to concentrate on what I

Positive and Negative Space in Scrum

Negative space , in art, is the space around and between the subject(s) of an image. Negative space may be most evident when the space around a subject, not the subject itself, forms an interesting or artistically relevant shape, and such space occasionally is used to artistic effect as the "real" subject of an image. As an art major, I studied negative space and positive space in design. Here are some examples of negative space in design: By John smithson 2007 at English Wikipedia - Transferred from en.wikipedia to Commons by PHansen., Public Domain, The concept of negative space came to mind as I read a recent blog post from Ken Schwaber . This is his response to people asking for updates to Scrum, for example, to add Product Backlog Refinement as a prescribed ceremony: “Scrum is a general-purpose framework applica

Engineering Managers, Directors and VPs in Agile

Most guidance on Agile is directed at team members in such roles as Product Owner, Team Member (including developer, QA engineer, and UI/UX designer), and Scrum Master.  This leaves some with the impression that there is no place in Agile for traditional organizational leadership roles with manager or director titles. On the contrary, people in manager, director, and VP roles are essential to the success of an Agile organization.  To be effective, they need to practice discipline, discernment, and discretion Discipline – through Lean/Agile Governance principles and practices IT Governance happens, intentionally or otherwise.  Agile leaders should be deliberate in creating the right degree of formal governance for their organization that will allow teams to thrive.  A recent survey by Scott Ambler and Associates found that Agile Governance has a significant effect on creating conditions that allows Agile teams to thrive. Discernment – by participating in as many

Severity, Priority, Impact and Likelihood - Managing Defects and Risks

Defects and Risks are often dealt with in a subjective, emotional way.  That's unfortunate, because among all the things a software development team deals with, those are two that can be handled in a more constructive and empirical way. First, a couple definitions. Defect Severity: the degree of impact a defect has on system operation. A defect is something observed, so impact can be empirically quantified. Risk Severity: the degree to which a hypothetical event, should it occur, would impact system operation. A risk event is something that has not occurred, so impact must be estimated or extrapolated. The common element in both Risk Severity Assessment and Defect Severity is Impact on Revenue.  The FMEA framework that AKF recommends uses 1 = Low, 3 = Med, and 9 = High, to represent the exponential effect of a high impact risk or defect Impact on Revenue No payments being collected and/or payment data security compromised (Critical) Payment collection being de

Chatbot Code of Ethics

A  NYTimes article  describes efforts by a consortium of the largest technology companies to create ethical standards for AI. A related article in MIT Technology Review is titled  AI Wants to Be Your Bro, Not Your Foe . Artificial Intelligence has reached a level of sophistication, and is on the brink of being so pervasive, that we can have these serious conversations. In my work developing AI-powered chatbots to assist with learning, I work within the bounds of these 7 precepts: Right View - our chatbots honor humanity, human dignity, and the human quest for knowledge, understanding and technological innovation Right Intention - our chatbots promote human progress in the areas of intellectual pursuits and personal ethical development Right Speech - our chatbots use encouraging, prudent, and situationally appropriate language Right Action - our chatbots perform with integrity toward the aforementioned right view and intention Right Live

Product v Project Focus in Software Development

Product v Project Focus in Software Development Many IT organizations use a traditional project approach to software development. Agile success is dependent on forming product teams that have these characteristics: A defined focus area (application, domain, system, etc.) Persistent over time Cross-functional skillsets, giving it the ability to deliver a fully baked solution in each iteration   “Concept to cash” responsibility—taking work from early discovery and design steps through delivery and into production deployment and operational support It’s important to understand the difference between product focus and project focus. A product team can still deliver value in a project context, but the way the team is organized and delivers is very different. Here are some contrasting characteristics: Product Project People Team is primary means of creating value. They stay together over a long period of time and over multiple “pro

Enterprise Agile Framework: The Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS)

Brian Rabon introduced me to the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) as the framework he uses to manage his company, The Braintrust Consulting Group (TBCG). EOS is the missing element in organizations that are having some success with Agile at the team level, but not succeeding with change at higher levels or outside software development. As Charlie Rudd points out in his post The Third Wave of Agile , there is broad consensus on the value of Agile practices at the team level, but all types and sizes of businesses are struggling to scale Agile and to increase agility across their organization.  I think EOS addresses those challenges. EOS is comprised of the EOS Model : Having a model like this in place allows teams to function optimally as self-organized units that share the vision and goals of the organization.  Teams are able to align themselves with the organization's objectives, and can see how their outcomes affect the organization's performance. The EO