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Synergic Reading Lessons

Here is a new set of books for Synergic Reading, lessons from more perspectives than one can wrap their minds around.

I just ran across the book:  The Billionaire and the Mechanic on "the Face Page" (what my 85 yr old father calls it).  Apparently it's the choice of flight reading by Lia, a row boat captain who plans a trans-pacific crossing single handed this year.  See her awesome row boat:  Row Lia Row.
The America’s Cup, first awarded in 1851, is the oldest trophy in international sports, and one of the most hotly contested. In 2000, Larry Ellison, co-founder and billionaire CEO of Oracle Corporation, decided to run for the coveted prize and found an unlikely partner in Norbert Bajurin, a car radiator mechanic who had recently been named Commodore of the blue collar Golden Gate Yacht Club.
Julian Guthrie’s The Billionaire and the Mechanic tells the incredible story of the partnership between Larry and Norbert, their unsuccessful runs for the Cup in 2003 and 2007, and their victory in 2010. With unparalleled access to Ellison and his team, Guthrie takes readers inside the design and building process of these astonishing boats, and the management of the passionate athletes who race them. She traces the bitter rivalries between Oracle and their competitors, including Swiss billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli’s Team Alinghi, and throws readers into exhilarating races from Australia and New Zealand to Valencia, Spain.
The title of Lia's in flight reading reminded me of a book I enjoyed 30 years ago, when I was building a boat:  The Starship and the Canoe.
Freeman Dyson, world-renowned astrophysicist, dreams of exploring the heavens and has designed an inexpensive spaceship to take him there. George Dyson, a brilliant dropout, lives in a tree in coastal British Columbia and is designing a giant seagoing canoe. Both men are intensely, passionately dedicated to their visions. Kenneth Brower explores the relationship of this odd father-son duo, whose goals could hardly be more different yet whose approaches are inevitably alike, with insight and sensitivity.
And add this book to the mix Baidarka: The Kayak
George Dyson, the son of distinguished physicist Freeman Dyson, grew up immersed in the world of groundbreaking science. His previous books include the acclaimed ""Darwin Among the Machines,"" He and his father are also the subjects of Kenneth Brower's dual biography, ""The Starship and the Canoe,"" Dyson lives in Washington State.
Then along came this article: How Dyson saw Feynman - Nine letters by Freeman Dyson portray his relationship with the Nobel Laureate.

My first foray into Synergic Reading:

Wondering what other books I should read concurrently with the philosophy of this book, Other Minds, on the mind of our alien ancestors. In chapter one Peter is already mashing up Ismael and Darwin, so I feel it appropriate to do a bit of mix-in myself. I'm thinking Seven Brief Lessons on Physics will add spice. To bad I recycled How to Create a Mind at Half Price Books.

I've also got to read Coaching Agile Teams by Lyssa Adkins for work's book club. And I may mix-in a bit of LEGO Serious Play, because I cannot get serious about coaching - seems like a play activity to me.

Maybe I will devise a quadrant model of these books. A Venn diagram of their overlapping topics.

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David's notes on "Drive"

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

Amazon book order
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.


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…

What is your Engagement Model?

What must an Agile Transformation initiative have to be reasonably assured of success?

We "change agents" or Agilist, or Organizational Development peeps, or Trouble Makers, or Agile Coaches have been at this for nearly two decades now... one would think we have some idea of the prerequisites for one of these Transformations to actually occur.  Wonder if eight Agile Coaches in a group could come up with ONE list of necessary and sufficient conditions - an interesting experiment.  Will that list contain an "engagement model"?  I venture to assert that it will not.  When asked very few Agile Coaches, thought leaders, and change agents mention much about employee engagement in their plans, models, and "frameworks".  Stop and ask yourselves ... why?

Now good Organizational Development peeps know this is crucial, so I purposely omitted them from that list to query.

One, central very important aspect of your Agile Transformation will be your Engagement model.  

Exercise:: Definition of Ready & Done

Assuming you are on a Scrum/Agile software development team, then one of the first 'working agreements' you have created with your team is a 'Definition of Done' - right?

Oh - you don't have a definition of what aspects a user story that is done will exhibit. Well then, you need to create a list of attributes of a done story. One way to do this would be to Google 'definition of done' ... here let me do that for you: Then you could just use someone else's definition - there DONE!

But that would be cheating -- right? It is not the artifact - the list of done criteria, that is important for your team - it is the act of doing it for themselves, it is that shared understanding of having a debate over some of the gray areas that create a true working agreement. If some of the team believes that a story being done means that there can be no bugs found in the code - but some believe that there can be some minor issues - well, …

Refactoring - examples from the book

Martin Fowler's book Refactoring:  Improving the Design of Existing Code has a simple example of a movie rental domain model, which he refactors from a less than ideal object-oriented design to a more robust OO design. Included in this Zip file are the Java source code files of the Movie, Rental, and Customer classes. Along with a JUnit CustomerTest class. Using these example source files you too can follow along with the refactoring that Fowler presents in the first few chapters of his book.

Metrics for a Scrum Team (examples)

What metrics do you collect to analyze your scrum team?

We live in a world of data and information.  Some people have a mindset that numbers will diagnose all problems – “just show me the data.”  Therefore many directors and senior managers wish to see some list of metrics that should indicate the productivity and efficiency of the Scrum team.  I personally believe this is something that can be felt, that human intuition is much better in this decision realm than the data that can be collected.  However, one would have to actually spend time and carefully observe the team in action to get this powerful connection to the energy in a high-performing team space.  Few leaders are willing to take this time, they delegate this information synthesis task to managers via the typical report/dashboard request.  Therefore we are asked to collect data, to condense this data into information, all while ignoring the intangible obvious signals (read Honest Signals by Sandy Pentland of MIT).
What if …