Moving Firewood

I live on a farm. I have a machine shed in which I store firewood for the winter. The shed is located about 400 feet behind my house. Every Sunday, I start the little Case IH tractor and load the bucket with firewood, and drive it to the front door of the house where I move it from the bucket to the wood box. That process takes one Pomodoro. About 25 minutes.

Unloading the wood from the bucket to the wood box is a highly variable activity depending on who is there to help. Continue reading


TDD – some resources

For those interested in Test Driven Design but don’t know where to begin, below is information and tutorials from the web that offer some basics to help you get started. Introducing TDD in Telecom with the large legacy code base can be challenging and complex, but before tacking the mountain, you need some gear and knowledge. Here are some useful tools for you to get started.

  1. Wikipedia Reference for TDD with lots of external links.
  2. TDD video tutorial of simple banking transactions using Visual Studio. 31 minutes
  3. Bas Vodde’s TDD slide pack – telecom centric and with real code examples. 63 slides in PDF format.
  4. Acceptance Test Engineering Guide from Microsoft Patterns and Practices. 250 pages in PDF format
  5. TDD Tutorial using the CHECK tool on C code – web link
  6. TDD Group on LinkedIn

More to come soon. If you would like to share some information, pass it on.

Servant Leadership

If you are a leader, Robert Greenleaf’s Servant Leadership is required reading. Assuming you cannot find the time, the following paper by Larry Spears summarizes the main ideas of Servant Leadership. The link is here. The key characteristics of a servant leader are as follows:

  1. Deep commitment to listening intently to others. Seek to understand.
  2. Strive to understand and empathize with others.
  3. Heal yourself and others – commit to making those you serve stronger and better, and yourself too!
  4. Persuade rather than exercise authority
  5. Nurture your ability to dream big, to conceptualize
  6. Develop foresight, learning from the past and present to envision the future
  7. Stewardship – “to hold in trust for others”
  8. Contribute to the growth of others
  9. Build a sense of community

Great ideas from 40 years ago! As we attempt to move faster and build an innovation-centric culture, we cannot rely on the traditional authoritarian leadership models. Instead, create an organization where the people doing the real work are valued and trusted to get the job done, and serve those innovative, intelligent people to help each one draw out their own best talents and abilities. Wouldn’t that be a great place to work?

Hiring Agile Managers

Assume for a moment you were asked to hire an Agile manager for your business.  What kind of manager would you hire? What qualities are important? What behaviors would you like to see demonstrated by your new manager each and every day? Here are some questions to get you thinking about it.

  • Is the manager conservative, with respect for traditions and status quo? Or is the manager less focused on what has worked in the past and does not rely on precedent?
  • Is the manager innovative, willing to try new untested approaches and ideas?
  • Is the manager technical, maintaining in-depth knowledge of the technical domains in which (s)he works?
  • Does the manager believe that decisions are made by him/her alone? Or does the manager have a collaborative mindset and uses engagement, interaction, and conversation to drive debate and uses that knowledge to arrive at a team decision?
  • Does the manager think strategically? Not just short-term, but long-term and does this manager use intuition alone or data alone to look at strategy or a combination of the two?
  • Is the manager persuasive? Does the manager influence effectively? Is the manager capable of adapting to cultures and mindsets and thinking styles whenever necessary to deliver the right message?
  • Is the manager an introvert or extrovert?
  • Does the manager have energy, intensity, emotional expression, and have the ability to motivate others?

These and other questions are covered in-depth in the following report. I invite your feedback and comments on what YOU think makes a good Agile manager. Have you hired one recently? How did you decide? I welcome the collective wisdom.