Review: The World is Not Small for Everyone

Many decades ago, my small-world assumptions were incredibly optimistic: I was smart, resourceful and helpful, and the world needed me, therefore capitalists would seek me out and pay me well. I discovered they weren’t looking very hard for me: I had to find them. I longed for experts in my own social group—i.e., gay software entrepreneurs—who could advise me, and found few. I even wrote to venture capitalist colleagues asking if they knew any gay VCs: nope. I remember thinking I couldn’t talk football and I didn’t play golf, therefore I would find few commonalities with straight men. Though I now realize how prejudicial this assumption was, it turns out the main victim was likely me. Continue reading

Learning Science and Agile Training

New cognitive psychology results can help us provide better training. Trainers seek to transform the way you think about tasks, motivation, planning and outcomes, and equip you with enough understanding to succeed. My Scrum Trainings are done in the afternoon, reinforcing learning by exploiting sleep cycles. Further ideas include changing venues from day-to-day, varying ways of applying agile thinking to problems, etc.

As Director of the Agile Program Office at Citrix Online, I trained people in agile thinking, including XP, Scrum, Lean and enterprise-level productivity improvement. I’m keenly interested in approaches that enhance learning, especially in Scrum Training. Agile methods are difficult for many to fully embrace, and I want to do anything I can to help. Continue reading

Meeting Scrum: Part 1, Make Information Flow

Concerned citizens might warn you not to stand to close: I rope nearby bystanders into the crime I’m currently committing. So when Scott Downey, the General Patton of Hyperproductive Scrum, told me he was busy crawling wineries near my Santa Barbara office, I suggested getting together. “How about 11:30am for lunch?” I asked. “Perfect,” he said, “See you then.”

Scott arrived, we had a hearty repast, and after agreeing the world needed our genius, I had to get ready to to teach the second afternoon of Scrum Training at Citrix Online. Did he want to come? “Sure,” he said. As we walked into the conference room, I asked if he might like to present some of my slides? “Why not?” he said. When we started looking at them, Scott felt uncomfortable. Could he use his own slides? Continue reading

Cult of Zero: Free Your Creative Soul

A “Cult of Zero” is developing worldwide. Adherents drive the total emails in their inbox to zero, every day, with great results in improved productivity. I talk about how you can get your inbox to zero, and keep it there.

Unbelievers wonder why cultists obsess about their inboxes. Take a look at the church roster, and you might find a hint. Some are well-regarded executives, who somehow find time for impromptu meetings or a mid-day tennis game. Some are up-and-comers, picking their battles. Some are just calm folks doing a great job, unperturbed by late-breaking drama.