My Agile Career and Adapting to the Winds of Change

March 27, 2013

I’ve spent the last 8 years in an organization that transformed itself to agile. This transformation began slowly, initiated by a team that approached me (I was our Director of Development at the time) about trying agile. I said, “Yes,” and our journey began!

Long story short, we moved our entire organization here in the Portland, Maine office to Scrum. We didn’t stop by making agile “something for the development teams.” As a management team, we embraced agile and transitioned our management approach to a servant leadership model. We read, experimented, sent people to conferences, brought in trainers/coaches, and we learned from both our successes and failures. (We did managed to screw up very now and then!)

Our First Maine Agile Gathering!

March 20, 2013

Given the increased interest in agile development in local Maine-based companies (I live and work in Portland, Maine), I was approached earlier this year about putting together an agile event. Since this is our first event, Pro Search, our sponsor, wanted to make it as attractive as possible for people to attend. They offered to make this a free event! We also settled on making this a half-day event to minimize the impact to work schedules.

We’re hoping that is will be our first annual Maine Agile Gathering on Friday, April 5th. We have some great speakers lined up:

Dan MezickDan LeFebvreBill Joiner

I own a great deal of thanks to these individuals who agreed to speak at this event. For anyone in the Portland, Maine area who would like to attend, please register in advance. (We need to plan space, and we are offering free breakfast as well!) I hope to see you there!

Agile is the Solution to a Critical Gap

March 13, 2013

The American Management Association (AMA) published a 2012 Critical Skills Survey that states, according to the U.S. executives polled, that the American workforce is average – at best – at the “four Cs” of Critical thinking, Communication, Collaboration and Creativity. The view of these executives is that the American workforce needs to excel at these four Cs in order for businesses to grow in the 21st century.

I don’t disagree that those are critical skills. However, there is a gap between what these executives are saying and what is happening on the ground. Tony Schwartz summed up this general sentiment in his book, The Way We’re Working Isn’t Working:
“The all-too-common dynamic in today’s workplace is parent-child. Most employers tell employees when to come to work, when to leave, and how they’re expected to work when they’re at the office. Treated like children, many employees unconsciously adopt the role to which they’ve been consigned. Feeling disempowered and vulnerable, they lose the will and confidence to take real initiative or to think independently. Doing what they’re expected to do often becomes more important than doing what make most sense, what’s most efficient, or even what might create the highest value.“

The Agile Family

March 6, 2013

How do you think kids would respond to the following question? “If you were granted one wish about your parents, what would it be?” Ellen Galinsky of the Families and Work Institute asked this very question to 1,000 children, and the number one response was that kids wished that their parents would be less tired and less stressed.

Work/life balance can certainly be a challenge. So how can we reduce stress while doing a better job of drawing our family closer while preparing our children to enter the world? Author Bruce Feiler thinks he has the answer, and he found it when he encountered a family in Hidden Springs, Idaho.