Monday, November 4, 2013

What do you do for a living?

What do you do for a living?
I would bet that your answer will consist primarily of your job assignments or professional characteristics.

What makes you sad?
Do I see among many others a failure of a company project or missed deadline?

What makes you happy?
May I guess that it is part your work achievements and part your personal life victories. Predominantly the second part of the answer.

On a grander scale:
How would you like to feel and based on what? What are the strongest influences you are object of and  how do you react to them? How do you feel at the end of the day?

There are many stories that epitomize the really simple to articulate, but extremely hard to implement solution. I guess you have heard the story about the fisherman and the fishing empire. It's a long one for this blog post.

There is one simpler that became my favorite one. It has been echoing in my head the whole day. When asked, one of the Mountain Men replies:
 - What do I do for a living?
 - I Live for a Living.
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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

How do you warm up a large audience?

You are in a room, in front of a large group of viewers, listeners and hopefully admirers. You are just about to begin a lecture, a presentation or a speach. How do you engage everyone's attention in a way that leads them to the topic?

Well, the easiest route is to ask them to dance, move around in the room, play a game or tell a joke. How about people who are not willig to behave like kids or feel offended by the topic of the joke?

Here is one idea that I used on a conference (ETC 2013): Take a careful look around, most probably there is something catchy in the environment that you can use as a riddle. Use it as a simple, yet powerful tool to jump start your session.

For example, how many of you know that the furniture equipment company Steelcase has played a major role in the first steps of the company IDEO? How can we connect this to the topic of the presentation of Design Thinking? Quite simple. Start with the question "Can you please tell me the manufacturer of the chairs used in this room and why is it important for our topic today?". As it happens they are a very fine example ot Steelcase chairs and at least someone in the audience will be able to deduce the connection.

So, with a very short question that does not require extensive effort you will achieve several goals:
 - people will start thinking about your topic - great, as they will listen more carefully
 - they will look around and make a basic connection to the ones sitting next to them - you can use this at later stages of your presentation, such as hands-on sessions
 - they will wake up, provided that you are one of the many speakers in a long series or presentations.

Great start!

Now you have to raise the bar with the presentation itself.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Rocket Science

The blog post that moved me quite a bit last week was Björn Goerke's First, they fire you up….

For me, as an information developer and a writer, this presents a perfect cohesion between beautifully laid out thoughts an a curious video.

My reply to it is that for every Solid Booster Rocket there is always the hope to become a SpaceX Reusable rocket.

[credits: spacexchannel]

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

H1 2013 Personal Retrospective

One of the main continuous improvement imperatives is "Learn". Learn from your personal experience, from your observations, from trusted people around you.

In my case, there have been so many exciting assignments and events that they have left me with little time to think and consider. I guess, the summer is a nice time to think about the lessons from my participation as a:
 - coordinator and lecturer at the Sofia University course on "Managing Software Projects and Companies"
 - lecturer Technical University of Sofia summer practice course
 - speaker at ETC 2013 Sofia

Some of the next posts will summarize them. Your comments are highly welcome.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Between stimulus and response, man has the freedom to choose

Well, sooner or later, the summer vacation is over and is time to get your hands dirty.

This transition is remarkably harder, when there are tough decisions to be made, especially involving close friends and colleagues. This, I guess is the right time to remember the first of the 7 habits:
 - Be proactive - willfully choose your path and do not let be acted upon, be "response-able".

Quite often there is the temptation to give ready answers and hope that they will stick. Similarly, quite naturally, they do not. Unless the receivers of these ideas is actually starting to
 - Dream of achieving your proposals.

Hmmm, it is an interesting relation between Stephen Covey and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Watch me presenting at Evolution of Technical Communication conference

If you happen to be in Sofia, Bulgaria on 21 June 2013, you can come and watch me present and discuss the connection between Design Thinking and the profession of information development.

Information about the conference: Agenda.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The All Mighty Scrum Master

It is absolutely true that a correctly set up team of professionals does not need a dedicated Scrum Master.

Problem statement: However, sooner or later, they will fall in the trap of the everyday ordeal. You can easily recognize it by retrospective action items not done, or a messy Jira, or continuous overcommitment. There might be other signs, specific for your team.

As to why it happens: The answer can be found in team dynamics. Sooner or later, the team reaches the stage after "form-storm-norm-perform". This stage still does not have a name. It is characterized by the old "common sense" taking rule.

Solution: This is the right time to reintroduce the role of the Scrum Master. It must be someone with knowledge of the project history, as well as with a lot of trust from the team. The only missing ingredient from the recipe is human interaction and dedicated discussions on how to overcome the good old common sense. For inspiration how to continue, refer to Beware of Common Sense