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A Splendid Mirror

Oh the irony of a Pig and Chicken paradigm.


If you know of the Scrum parable of the pig and chicken.  Then you may find this story humorous.   I'm working with a group trying to teach them just enough Scrum to form a project team.  Trying to facilitate just enough team formation to allow them to self organize.  We planed a 3 day workshop, to be immediately followed by sprint one.  It went well.  Although some troubling patterns were apparent, we summoned up the courage to keep moving forward.

Fast forward to Sprint Two's planning session.  Only three of the seven team members were at the planning session, one had to leave for an hour during the session.  The product owner did not appear, the scrum master had a higher priority meeting.  Summing more courage to venture into the unknown the 3 team members and the two coaches (we pair coach teams) ventured into the unknown. We discussed the obvious impediment in the room.  Created a working mitigation plan for the missing product owner and we planned the sprint as best we could without any guidance from the missing leadership.  The team asked for help in raising this impediment.

I sent an email to the team's director - the sponsor of the project, and included the whole team in the email.  An example of raising an impediment, a teachable moment.  Just the objective observation of what was happening, and how it was impacting the team.  Along with some subjective opinion of the risk.

"I'm very concerned with the number and frequency of team members absences from team events and Scrum process meetings.  I've not encountered a successful Scrum team that can operate with this low a level of team commitment to the project."

The private reply was: "Thanks for the email. Who else on the team are chickens?"

Now this question took me quite a while to process.  Oh-boy, wouldn't a face-to-face conversation be so much better.  Have I fallen into poor behaviors?  Behaviors that are in contrast to my principles.

I do not use the pig and chicken joke to teach the distention between team commitment and and stakeholder interest in my practice.  However, it is a well known piece of the Scrum vernacular.  Now, we must sort out this misunderstand of the term "chicken" within the Scrum context.  Who on the team is a chicken?  The obvious answer is no one on the team is a chicken, the team is made up of pigs.  Yet the sponsor, who rightly considers himself just an interested party (a chicken) appears to be searching for a well defined set of roles that will allow him to know who on the team is required for the team's meetings.  And he does this using the exact parable which was used to explain the definition of the term 'scrum team'.

Oh irony - what a splendid mirror you make.

In our 3 day workshop we spent quite a bit of time talking about how words have various meanings to different people.  One word that we used to illustrate this was the word "team."  We did various exercises to define words, to start sharing a common understanding of the words and phrases we use in our work day.  We obviously have more work to do.

What does it mean to be on a team?
Will a group of part-time participants become a high-performing team?
How does one best accomplish achieving low priority commitments?

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David's notes on "Drive"

- "The Surprising Truth about what Motivates Us" by Dan Pink.

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What I notice first and really like is the subtle implication in the shadow of the "i" in Drive is a person taking one step in a running motion.  This brings to mind the old saying - "there is no I in TEAM".  There is however a ME in TEAM, and there is an I in DRIVE.  And when one talks about motivating a team or an individual - it all starts with - what's in it for me.

Introduction

Pink starts with an early experiment with monkeys on problem solving.  Seems the monkeys were much better problem solver's than the scientist thought they should be.  This 1949 experiment is explained as the early understanding of motivation.  At the time there were two main drivers of motivation:  biological & external influences.  Harry F. Harlow defines the third drive in a novel theory:  "The performance of the task provided intrinsic reward" (p 3).  This is Dan Pink's M…

Software Development terms applied to Home Construction

Let's Invert the typically wrong headed view of Software Development project management as a construction project.  We can map it the other way just to see if it works... to have some fun, to explore the meaning of phrases we toss around quite frequently.


Normally Project Management terms come from a construction domain.  We are going to apply the lexicon of modern software to the construction of a home.  We will follow the construction project and meet some of the people doing the work.

This is a very small (8 homes from $600,000 skyward) program in my 30-40 year old neighborhood.

About 6 months ago I saw the programs landing page go up.  It gives casual observers and some of the stakeholders a general idea of the intent of the program.  And most importantly who to contact for additional information if you happen to be interested in their products.

The Refuge program has 8 product projects and has them running independently.  Yet much of their DevOps infrastructure has already b…

Where is Shakespeare When We Need Him?

We are desperately searching for a term for people that connotes the best of human kind.  The creative, sensing, combinatorial synergistic, empathic solutioning persons that have yet to been labeled with a role name that works.

Some of the old terms:
Staff, Workforce, Human Resource, My Team, Army, Company

Shakespeare created 1700 words in his time.  He mutated verbs to nouns, and vice-a-versa, transformed verbs into adjectives, and formed words from whole cloth never before heard.  This skill is rare, but there is a poet that can create the term we need in the twenty-first century.

What should this term define?

21st Century Human Resource; the generalizing specialist.

Yes, but what more?  What less?

Suggest your poetry in the comments, let us see if we cannot do 1/1700 as well as The Bard.

By-the-way; who create the phrase "coin a word"?




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Innovation in the Automobile Industry

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In the early 1900s there were few automobiles, very little infrastructure created to support the industry.  For example the road system was still designed for horse drawn wagons and the wagon wheel (remember a steal rim and wooden compression spoke wheel).  The future US Highways, or the 1950s Interstate Highway System at the cost of $425 billion were decades and many innovations away. There was no gas service station, there were however horse stables, farriers, and blacksmiths in each town along the roads.  There was no real "road map", there was no road naming system, like was created in 1926 - the United States Numbered Highway System.

The industry employees millions of people, and was a large factor in the economy of the USA.  It created or was created b…