In most cases, a Center of Excellence is anything but!
I apologize in advance for this post, but I couldn’t help myself. I found this Electronic Tresspassing while I was skimming blogs before church today. An alleged thief is alleging that an iPad owner is tresspassing by activating the alarm alert feature of Find My IPhone to find his iPad. How ludicrous! This individual should just admit to the charges and serve his time.
I thought you might find this humorous, yet a warning. Be sure you activate the Find My iPhone feature on your iPads and iPhones. You never know when you’ll need it.
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A friend of mine, Mike Jebber, is providing a guest post for your reading pleasure. Enjoy!
I was reading a post about players in the NFL this weekend. The post focused on the contributions players were likely to provide to their teams vs. the statistics they were likely to generate. The article pointed out that many players will have contributions greater that the statistics they will generate in the coming year, and that solely relying on statistics to gauge production is not a true representation of the player’s value to their team. There was a quote by Mark Twain included in the post which went like this:
“There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.”
– Mark Twain’s Own Autobiography: The Chapters from the North American Review
In the NFL, statistics alone are not good at representing what is actually happening on the field to produce wins, and that’s the point isn’t it, to keep winning? Take for example, the wide receiver that only has 30 catches and 450 years for the year because he is such a threat that he was double or triple-defended all season ; the stats would not be able to represent the value of that players effort to the teams winning season simply by showing the catches and yards. If the team goes to the playoffs and continues to win in part due to the efforts of this receiver isn’t that what counts?
We experience the same type of situations within our Scrum teams, and every role has a part to play in the success. Not every team member is a super-star, producing “amazing stats” every sprint, or plays the role of a flashy position player like a star receiver or running back on an NFL team, however that doesn’t mean that their contributions are not as important to the team’s success. Most Scrum teams have their own offensive line (in football it’s 5 team members that do the un-glamorous work of blocking all of the forces on the opposing team who are trying to stop the progress of your team) that quietly, but effectively, perform the tasks that are critical to the team’s success but rarely, if ever, get recognized for what they do. After all, in Scrum, it’s not how many story points we produce or how many user stories we get out in a sprint, it’s how much value (how many wins) we provide to our stakeholders and users (fan base).
So the next time you look at a team and start to gauge their performance based on some of the statistics that Scrum produces (user story count delivered, hours worked, features delivered), step back and take a look at the teams record for the season and gauge their performance on the entire body of work, including the thankless job of covering the mundane to do what is needed for success.
I can’t believe it has been over a year since I wrote my post about Easter Eggs(EEs). A lot has happened. Most of it good, though I have found a few EEs. Here is the good:
- I took a job with FNF. I think it is a great opportunity.
- I have met some really great folks at FNF.
- We have trained about 150 teammates at FNF in Scrum.
- I finally got to live near the beach in Fenandina Beach, FL.
- I walked/ran the Gate River Run without collapsing from a heart attack. I am still paying for this though.
- I got to go some Jaguars games. (I am a football fan, so seeing a game was positive. The Jags just happened to be playing.)
Here are some of the Easter Eggs I have found:
- Finding out that your team has DEC COBOL and Clipper applications you support.
- 120 MPH windows are required if you want to upgrade that house near the beach.
- Some of my teammates have been rebadged four times in the last six years or so.
- Technology is moving forward at a faster pace than I thought.
- I have Bugs Bunny Syndrome (BBS).
- The Indianapolis Colts run as a premier NFL team is over.
- Payton Manning is a Denver Bronco. Seeing all the #18 Bronco Jerseys in the Denver airport was a killer.
- Turning 51 has been tougher than turning 50.
Three out of eight Easter Eggs are work related, and can be overcome. Nice balance. Overall, more positive than negative. I say it was a pretty good year. What do you think?
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As some of you know, I like to read the blogs of other Agile thinkers. I also follow some of the bloggers in the marketing/social media space. Most of you have not ever heard of Kyle Lacy or Dan Zarrella. However, you may know the name Seth Godin. I have been reading Seth’s blog for the last couple of years, which has lead me to buy a couple of his books as well. So right up front, IMO, I think some of Seth’s posts are purely created to get some idea out that has been clogging up his brain. However, occasionally, there is one that really strikes home.
Fifty is the new thirty is a post that stuck with me. Maybe because I am fifty-one, though I would like to believe it is more likely due to my feelings about getting older in the work environment. I see a lot of my friends who start a job, get comfortable, and then are shocked when the rug is pulled out from underneath them. What my friends don’t realize is:
- Unless things change dramtically, our 401ks and IRAs are not going to grow at the same rate they did in the past.
- Events outside of our control will continue to dominate the landscape for the forseeable future.
- At fifty, we will work for another three companies before we retire.
- Our parents will have used up all our inheritance.
So what do we do about it? Have a big pity party for ourselves? Yes, it sucks. I hear ya. It’s not fair.
Nope. That’s not the American way. I agree with Seth’s points. As a fifty year-old, I have seen a lot.
- 15% raises with 20% inflation.
- Gas prices going up 20%
- Multiple economic busts
- a laptop the size of a brief case weighing 50 pounds be replaced by an iPad
As the end of the baby boomers, the odds on us retiring at 70 are not very good. So, what do we do about it? I am going to continue to do exactly what I have been preaching: KEEP LEARNING!
How am I going to do that? I am going to keep trying to stay young. Not just buying an iPad or an xbox, but learning to surf, kayak, and sail board. Walking races, and enjoying my treadmill. I am going to continue to read technical books, and continue to spout off on a blog.
Enough about me. What are you going to do for the next 20 or 30 years? Mope?
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This morning, I was reminded that I have been absent from the blogsphere. I am on my way to Agile 2012 in Dallas, when digging out my iPad, I found a flyer from the Scrum Alliance Spring Gathering. For those of you that are not in software business, these are two of the best conferences on the Agile software approaches.
Finding the old flyer reminded me thta i have fallen into one of my old traps: Bugs Bunny Syndrome (BBS).
Before I describe Bugs Bunny Snydrome, let’s make sure we are all on the same page. For those of you youngsters from the Thundercats and Transformers eras, Bugs Bunny is a cartoon character that was prominent in the 60’s and 70’s who’s main adversary was a daft hunter named Elmer Fudd. Occasionally, Bugs would go into his rabbit borough and emerge in another place. Sometimes, it was where Bugs intended to go. Other times, Bugs took a wrong turn in Abluquerque and ended up somewhere other than where he intended. Bugs didn’t follow the map and didn’t have landmarks to guide him.
So BBS is the ability to go into a borough and emerge someplace else. In my case, I have been boroughing at FNF. Good thing right? Focus on the task at hand. The challenge is that I have been so focused on what we have been doing at Fidelity that I have not been doing a good job at staying current. Not only have I not been pushing my thoughts and ideas out into the world, but I have fallen behind in my reading as well.
I have found that you are never really cured from BBS. My relapses occur typically when I start a new job or a new adventure in my personal life. I have found that I can combat this syndrome by a couple of simple actions:
- Set a fixed time each day where I read. Reading while on the treadmill is my favorite. Another good alternative is to stop at your favorite coffee shop.
- Attend an industry event. In my case, I am focused on Scrum and Agile.
- When ideas pop in your head, write them down. This technique works for many authors and artists. Try it. It works.
Hopefully, these steps will help you keep BBS in remission. While you can never truly get BBS cured, you can at least keep it under control.
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