I’m crying

Agile & Lean, Musings | Posted by Doc List
Jun 17 2015

Read this first: http://www.hragilesolutions.com/blog/week12.

I love these women. I have loved working with them. I learned as much as they did, I think, as we explored applying the values, principles, and practices of Agile Software Development within the HR department at Gap Inc.

It saddens me in so many ways that this team is being “redeployed”. This project shows such promise, both at Gap and for the HR profession.

When I’m not so sad, I’ll write my thoughts about what we’ve learned and why this went the way it did.

For now, I’m being sad.

Amazingly Agile

Agile & Lean | Posted by Doc List
May 07 2015

I’ve been privileged (yes, seriously) to work with a group in the HR department at Gap Inc.

Yes, the HR department. Not software development/IT/technology, HR.

And it has been amazing. They built a team.

Going back to last year when this started, they had me come in to do Agile basic training. It was a three day class, and at the end of day one they said “While this might be very relevant for people in IT, it’s just not resonating with us. Could you do it differently?” At which point I threw away the Powerpoint I’d been using, found out from them what topics they were interested in/concerned about, and made it up as I went along.

They loved it!

The following week was aimed at doing some coaching, working with their pilot team. When they introduced me to that pilot team, there were Directors, Senior Directors, a Vice President, and a couple of Senior Managers. Lovely people who know a lot about the subject and care about it.

But they were the wrong people. They had too many responsibilities, too many demands on their time and attention, and would have been hard pressed to get things done. I told the Executive Sponsor this.

And so they built a team. They agreed to identify people who could be dedicated to the project. In some cases they searched the rest of the organization to find the best people to fill out this team of five. One of the members of the team has never been in HR. This process took months. I patiently-but-eagerly awaited the results, and finally got to meet the team in the last week of March.

This is a remarkable team. Their tenure at Gap ranges from 25 years to one year. Most of them have been in HR for a significant period of time. All of them are smart, personable, committed, and eager to learn. Oh – and they’re all women.

I’ve been working with the team, on and off, since the end of March. I’ve spent one week, two weeks, one week. We have a team room. We’ve done much of the usual kickoff/inception stuff. This team has struggled and learned and demanded more and more from me to satisfy their desire to learn. We’ve explored Scrum vs. Kanban vs. Scrumban (and – at least for the moment – settled on the latter).

They’ve tried cards+stickies and a few different electronic systems for managing the backlog and workflow. It’s been a whirlwind and an adventure.

Here’s one of the things that excites me the most: they’re making everything they do public!

Take a look at their site. I’m so impressed with what they’ve done, both as an agile team and in publishing the experience and their work.

It’s f’ing awesome! I’m so proud.

A Little Story About Personal Branding

Career, Events, Presentation, Social Networking | Posted by Doc List
Dec 13 2014

[Originally posted on Facebook]

A little story about personal branding.

I’m attending the Better Software Conference/Agile Development Conference in Orlando, Florida as a speaker. I did a tutorial on Monday on my philosophy of “It’s All About Me!™” and a short session on the subtlety of language on Wednesday.

After my session on Wednesday, I attended a session that a friend of mine delivered on personal branding. First, I’d never seen her present and wanted to. Second, I thought I might learn something new.

After her session, I wandered into the exhibit area (a.k.a. the break area). I picked up a lovely little snack and a cup of hot chocolate, and moved to a standup table and introduced myself to the fellow there. He introduced himself – he’s from the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC) – and said “Oh! We know all about you at the CBC!”.

I’ve never been to the CBC, never worked with anyone from the CBC, don’t know anyone at the CBC, as far as I know. It seems that their internal agile coach has attended one of my conference sessions somewhere, and when he returned he talked about it (okay, maybe he raved about it). If it’s the session I think it is, I give out some cards that are used for a role play simulation about facilitation.

Later, I ran into my friend Jennifer, who’d done the session on personal branding. She said “I saw you in the session and I thought ‘What is he doing here? He has done an amazing job of personal branding. Get out of here, Doc!'”

This stuff surprises me. I mean, I know I’ve worked at it, and established “Doc List” as a brand and a persona. It still surprises me.

When my team gave me the nickname in 2007, I freely admit that I set out to make it my brand.

Apparently it has worked.

It’s All About Me!™ in Orlando

Coping and Communicating, Musings, Social Networking | Posted by Doc List
Nov 13 2014

I just did my first half-day tutorial on my favorite topic, It’s All About Me!™. You’d think after talking and writing about it for years, I might have done something sooner.

Nope.

In reflecting on it, I conclude that I’ve been afraid that I’d put it out there and someone would call bullshit on me.

Happily, that didn’t happen. The feedback was excellent. My favorite was “Great session! Included original material rather than just rehashing existing stuff.”

I’ll be doing more sessions, and maybe sometime soon I’ll finish the book I’ve been working on.

Language counts!

Musings | Posted by Doc
Sep 24 2013

Here’s an interview that Ade Shokoya (AgileTV) did with me in Las Vegas after my session “You said WHAT?”.

Consistent with my thoughts on IAAM, I talk about the idea that behavior (including language) is all we really know about other people.

I want to take Paris

Photography | Posted by Doc
Aug 30 2013

Here’s what I just received. Feel free to vote for me. 😉

Doc, Art Takes Paris voting will be disabled in 3 days!

As a top contender for the People’s Choice Award take advantage of these final days to share your entry and get as many votes as you can before Midnight Monday to stay in the running.

Your entry currently has: 61 votes

http://doclist.see.me/atp2013

You’re entry continues to be amongst the highest voted so keep pushing and have your friends share your link with all of their friends, too. Make your entry go viral and you can be the People’s Choice winner who receives $10,000 in cash or a Trip to Paris!

Voting will be disabled THIS Monday September 2, 2013 11:59pm ET

Good luck, we can’t wait to see the results!

Emily K.
Community Director

Art Takes Paris
http://www.arttakesparis.com

Walking in sync

Agile & Lean | Posted by Doc
Aug 29 2013

At the client facility where I’ve been doing coaching and facilitation/training, they have large, long corridors floored in tile.

The other day, as I was walking out – about the equivalent of three city blocks – I heard footsteps behind me. Click click click of hard heeled shoes. I glanced over my shoulder and saw a woman walking in the same direction I was going. No big deal.

I faced forward and continued walking.

I heard the sounds of another person coming into the main corridor from a side corridor. Now the sounds went

Clickclick click click click…click clickclick click click clickclick…

As I listened it changed to

clickclick cliclick clclick click click click click

Just in case that’s not clear (LOL), what happened was that these two women started to walk in sync. It continued for a few more seconds until it was clear that they were walking perfectly in sync with each other.

meetingI turned to look and saw that they were not together in any way, and were walking on opposite sides of the corridor.

I blurted “You synchronized!” They looked at me, looked at each other, and laughed.

Now let’s consider the larger implications of this simple experience. Two people who apparently did not know each other, organically beginning to move in sync with each other.

How does this play in teams? (You knew I was going to go here, didn’t you? 😉 )

Consider a group of people who may or may not have worked together before, who have different work styles and rhythms, who see things differently and understand things differently. Throw them together in a modest sized room, give them some guidance on how they might work together, get them started, and coach and guide them. Mightn’t they also begin to walk in sync?

Walking in sync doesn’t mean that they become identical. The two women walking down the corridor behind me were not the same height, were no doubt thinking about different things, were carrying different things in their hands, wearing different shoes, and so on, and yet they naturally fell into sync with each other. Their differences remained, and yet they began to “work” together organically.

This is what we expect to see on Agile teams: organically beginning to work in sync, to develop rhythms and patterns that belong to the team, as much as to the individuals. We see this on high performing teams consistently.

Are you fighting the rhythm or letting it flow through you?

No one Agile

Agile & Lean, Musings | Posted by Doc
Aug 28 2013

What’s the right way to do Agile?

Thinking differentlyIs Kanban Agile? Or is there Agile and Kanban and Lean and…?

Is iterative harder than Kanban or vice versa?

These questions and more seem to lead to organizations making statements like “this is the way that WE do Agile!”

I don’t object to an organization choosing an approach, unless they choose from a position of ignorance or confusion or both. And that’s what I see a lot.

There is no one way or right way. Even within a single organization, there might be variations that make sense.

There is no Agile Cookbook. There’s a pantry, a refrigerator, a stove, and a bunch of hungry people. Go figure it out.

Agile is people, pure and simple

Agile & Lean, Musings | Posted by Doc
Aug 27 2013

In the community of Agile practitioners and aficionados, there is frequently a focus on practices. Developer practices. Tester practices. Leader practices. Ceremonies and rituals. A lot of what we do.

Those who have passed the Shu level are aware that this is only a small part of what has led to the success of Agile.

Consider the value statements (http://agilemanifesto.org):

  • Individuals and Interactions over Processes and Tools
  • Working Software over Comprehensive Documentation
  • Customer Collaboration over Contract Negotiation
  • Responding to Change over Following a Plan

The first and third are clearly about people. The last is also fundamentally about people – mindset, attitude, and management.

Also consider the principles (http://agilemanifesto.org/principles.html). I’d say that seven of them are clearly about people, and two others clearly have implications about and for people. That’s 9 out of 12.

This says that the seventeen men who collaborated on the Agile Manifesto saw people at the heart of everything. As do I. I don’t think that has changed in the twelve years since they penned this historic document.

Coaches coach people.

Trainers train people.

Many of the many practices are obviously about people. For example:

  • retrospectives
  • daily stand-ups/scrums
  • planning
  • estimating
  • pairing
  • co-location

Quite a number of the others are also – directly or indirectly – about people.

When you get right down to it, the practices are Processes and Tools.

Think about the people.

Happy birthday to you

Musings | Posted by Doc
Aug 25 2013

gladiatorWhen I was young, I armored myself in arrogance. It was my protection against caring what others thought of me. It was my protection against hurt. It was false armor and false protection.

When I was an adult, I began to have an idea of what it meant to be a full human being in a world of other human beings. Thanks to the love and patience of my wife Debbie, the patience and efforts of my teacher Mather Karateka, and the community of my martial arts friends, teachers, and students – my family – including Chuck Phillips, I began to realize the importance of the people around me.

The day of my revelation came in my 37th year, when I realized that I wanted to be someone other people liked, respected, and chose to be around. It was a difficult transition, to take off the armor of my youth and embrace the naked vulnerability of wanting to be real and liked.

It’s been 26 years since I joined California Karate Academy and began this journey. The journey is not over. I learn more every day about what it means to be a full human being. Being Jewish by birth and heritage, I think of this as being a mensch.

Today is my birthday. Those who know me know that I enjoy and celebrate my birthday, and am happy to have others do so as well.

The revelation I had today is that the birthday wishes of others represent some success along the path on which I set my feet 26 years ago. Having children and a wife who profess their love and respect and appreciation, having a community of friends and colleagues who wish me well and celebrate with me, and realizing that I set myself a difficult path of great value and have worked my way along that path… this is, for me, noteworthy, remarkable, and a source of amazing joy.

Thank you.

%d bloggers like this: