May 122016

Book Short: Scrum ptious

Book Short:  Scrum ptious 

I just finished reading Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time, by Jeff Sutherland and JJ Sutherland. This reading was in anticipation of an Agile Facilitation training my executive team and I are going through next week, as part of Return Path’s  Agile Everywhere initiative. But it’s a book I should’ve read along time ago, and a book that I enjoyed.

Sutherland gets credit for creating the agile framework and bringing the concept scrum to software development over 20 years ago. The book very clearly lays out not just the color behind the creation of the framework, and the central tenets of practice again, but also clear and simple illustrations of its value and benefits.  And any book that employs the Fibonacci series and includes Theodore Roosevelt’s “Man in the Arena” quote — my all-time favorite — is off to a good start by me.

I’ve always appreciated a lot of the underlying philosophy of Agile, such as regularly checking on projects, course correcting in response to feedback from customers or other stakeholders, and working hard to remove any impediments to progress in real time.

One of the author’s most poignant points is that “multitasking makes you stupid.”  I hadn’t focused in the past how agile allows you to clear away context shifts to focus on one task at a time, but that’s another great take away from the book.

Our Agile Everywhere initiative, which is designed to improve productivity across the organization, as well as increase accountability through transparency, is even more critical in my view after having read this book.

The thing that I am left struggling with, which is still very much a work in progress for us, and hopefully something that we will address more head on in our training next week, is the application of the agile framework to teams that are not involved in the production of a tangible work product, such as executive or other leadership teams.  That is something that our Agile Everywhere deployment team has developed a theory about, but it still hasn’t entirely sunk in for me.

I can’t wait for next week’s training session!  If you have any experience applying the agile framework to different types of teams in your company I’d love to hear more about it in the Comments.

 

Jul 042013

Best CEO/Entrepreneur Quote Ever, By a Mile

Best CEO/Entrepreneur Quote Ever, By a Mile

I’ve seen and heard a lot of these.  But perhaps it’s fitting that on Independence Day, I realized that this gem of a quote, not specifically about entrepreneurs or CEOs but very applicable to them, comes from President Theodore Roosevelt in his “Citizenship in a Republic” speech at the Sorbonne in Paris, April 23, 1910:

It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat.

Amen, Brother Teddy.  This quote is so good that it appears twice independently (once from me, once in a contributor’s sidebar) in my almost-ready-to-pre-order book, Startup CEO.  In fact, let me quietly take this opportunity to start a bit of a hashtag movement around the topic at #startupceo.  More to come on this next week!