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7 February 2018

Remote working and the Allen curve


The Allen curve is an observation made in the 1970s that the further away someone is the less likely a person will initiate communication.

This evidence that backs the 'co-location wins' meme.

Tom Allen replicated the experiment in the early 2000's with the hypothesis that skype, email, digital comms and better av equipment would have reduced the impact of the phenomena.

He found that the initial state - making a move to initiate communication remained the blocker to more frequent communication and collaboration.

The current working and untested hypothesis is that younger people have spent more time online and collaborating digitally and so we have evolved our social practices to reach out more easily.

It is my observation that this is true of some demographics but is not yet the normal state of people on teams.

When you chose to work remotely you need to specifically address this issue. How can you encourage the flow of information and questions/answer activity that leads to collaboration?

25 July 2017

12 steps to project success


  1. Start with success criteria
    • What does 'done' look like? 
    • Start with the project sponsor/owner's vision.
  2. Understand who the players are: Who are stakeholders, who are consumers/customers and who are decision makers? What do each of them want?
  3. Does everyone have the same understanding of the goals? 
    • Are the goals reasonable?
    • What are the gaps? 
    • What will you do about them?
  4. What are the risks you are living with? Business Value (Does it have a tangible, sustainable benefit?) and Delivery (time, cost, feasibility, money?)
  5. What should we really be doing? 
    • A plan that incorporates all the above? 
    • Create the vision with your inner circle.
  6. Close the gaps in expectations.
  7. Ensure the solutions team know what is expected. 
    1. Definition of done, etc
  8. Ensure that the solutions team have a system in place that helps monitor progress and surface problems quickly
  9. Manage the issues
  10. Communicate
    • At the start, regularly while on the journey, then
    • Pre-launch comms, launch comms, post launch comms. 
    • Set and manage expectations, then tell everyone what a great job has been done to embed a sense of satisfaction in people
  11. Thank everyone involved for their contribution
  12. Bask in the glory of a successful project
Thank me later

11 June 2017

LAST Conference 2017, Melbourne

LAST conference is in it's sixth year this year.

LAST is a cross functional conference, that has roots in the lean and agile movements.

Cross functional?
This conference  is a platform for a variety of people to meet together and share. It's so much better than a bunch of software devs, Product managers or testers circle jerking themselves.

Roots in Agile and Lean?
The truth is that these days we steal the Agile and Lean  labels and co-opt them for our own agenda; which is "The Learning Organisation."

Goddamit, I should be better than this at four martinis. (But maybe my source remains opaque ans special.)

So, go sign up and buy a ticket.

Seriously, you'll thank me later. It is really a globally unique experience. And it's fucking amazing.

What? You want your annual training budget to be expended on, what? The mediocre crap fest that a google search pays off? 

(Amusingly my personal search on that topic yields not one reputable result I would recommend let alone pay for. Maybe your google profile is more optimised for good results than me.  I hope it works out for you.)

No seriously, people, get to LAST. Then think seriously about your training and development budget after your eyes are opened to the real potential before you.