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Always Be Closing – or Not

It is relatively easy to sell a product. You may make a profit or not, depending on variety of factors, but the approach is pretty straightforward. All it takes is to find a pain, figure out a way to make it go away and then see whether you were right in both of these. Market will mercilessly validate all the factors you accounted for, how you did it, and what you missed. It was the same for IT world, with only minor changes being the projects, resulting in approach that could get the catchy name of “product development as a service”.

Then, the Agile came – and things started to change.Read More »Always Be Closing – or Not

How to Change the World

Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to change the world. Some of my ultimate goals did include obvious choices, like world domination. Which would, clearly, be the best fate that can be imagined for the whole mankind. Well, with years passing, the idea evolved. For now, it kind of settled on a meaningful eulogy. Something more than, “Well, there was this guy and now he’s not around”. Inevitably, as I attempted to conquer, dominate, or just alter some areas of reality, I failed quite often. After all, there’s no reason for you to call me the Supreme Leader. Yet.

Still, by failing quick and often, I got pretty close to how to actually change the world.Read More »How to Change the World

End the Menace of Two Days

I am close to openly disdain the idea of sending people to few-day long courses and expecting them to perform some complicated duties. Hell, even the learning process is often corrupted to the bone. Think of trainers who do nothing but training, full-time, with hardly any exposure to actual business. Think of certificates achieved upon completion of simple web-based tests. Think of generic courses, in no way adjusted to what people actually need. And all these flaws produce hundreds and thousands of scrum masters, project managers, product owners, and all other roles possible.

Then, these people get back to work and are expected to ‘perform’. Because they’re ‘qualified’. God Almighty…Read More »End the Menace of Two Days

The Silver Bullet

There is no single ingredient to anything. To be a good leader, you need humility, confidence, perspective – and many more. To be good at sports, you need training, proper nutrition, good rest – and many more. To build a successful business, you need resilience, a lot of hard work, a good team to compliment your weak spots – and many more. Every aspect of reality comprises of multitude of factors, many of which we may never truly realize. That’s just the way things are. There’s no silver bullet to help you achieve greatness in whatever you pursue.

Except there is one.Read More »The Silver Bullet

Aspire for THE BEST

Everyone strives for something different. Be it a specific job title, a big dream to chase, a particular spouse. Nothing wrong about it, especially considering needs of any single person do not remain static over their lifetime, but evolve to match their circumstances at the time. Obvious, isn’t it? Yet, some of our strives seem, well, unnatural at best. What do I mean? If you imagine a tree, its history, the legend behind it, what do you see? It starts with a single stalk, then first leaf, then trunk manifests itself, then you get branches, with more and more leaves and even more branches. Environmental reality can and will affect the process. Winds will blow, shaping the tree in a awkwardly aerodynamic shape, allowing it to grow more easily. Every now and then, a fire will sweep the area – hopefully the tree will be big enough to sustain it. Mistletoe will prey on it, as will several insects, birds and other beings.

What will the tree do about it?Read More »Aspire for THE BEST

Focusing Agile Transformation

I remember the first of my employers going Agile. These were fun days. Virtually all project managers, along with some upwards-mobile candidates, were sent to an expensive (more than half of my monthly salary back then) two-day long course. Then, we were all sent link to some website test somewhere. The fact that we all passed should’ve lit some warning lights for me. Back then, it didn’t. As soon as the certificate arrived in my email inbox, I did the obvious thing. I updated my LinkedIn profile. We all did. Officially, we became Scrum masters – hence, by association, the company became Agile.

Damn, I was stupid back then.Read More »Focusing Agile Transformation

Why I Run

We all have days that, for lack of a better expression, utterly suck. Mine was Tuesday, a bit over two weeks ago. Early morning, I finally made a long-postponed decision to resign board membership of a very promising consulting company. With all the fun and excitement about it, it was hugely time consuming – and I tend to have my plate full to the limit. Communicating it wasn’t easy, as the rest of the board are all my friends. On my way to the client, I got an interesting call from medical lab. Long story short, either I’d change a lot of things in my life, or I’d die sometime this year. This was new. Then, major political turmoil at one of my large accounts resulted in their cancellation of all consulting services. Including mine. As I had daily sync with my staff in the evening, I was clearly in what could be called a bad mood. As we were concluding the call, my operations manager – who knows me well – told me just one thing.Read More »Why I Run

Personality Trait to Enable Agility and Leadership

Just previous weekend, I had the opportunity to share my thoughts on “that whole Agile thing” on a conference in Cracow, the capital of Poland for majority of its known history. While explaining the Agile onion concept, origins of which I couldn’t find (though I would love to buy whoever thought it out a beer or two), I made a comment that the single personality trait that makes the actual agility possible was humility. Which, contrary to what you might think, is nothing about religion and is not, in any way, related to modesty. Especially the popular, false one. Coincidentally, I have a strong belief and evidence that humility also enables one to be the proper leader.

Isn’t that what we all want? Agility, leadership – widespread, across our workplaces? Now, that would make sense, wouldn’t it?
Read More »Personality Trait to Enable Agility and Leadership

The Framework Menace

Old times were simpler. When running a project, you just drew a Gantt chart. Then prayed. When motivating (which, as we are now, is not possible), you gave people more money. Or less. When scaling, you made your pyramid bigger, one level at a time. It’s all more complicated now. With projects, you have plethora of options to choose from, from hardcore (and boring) established methodologies like PMI or PRINCE2 to hippie lightweight approaches allowing you to think you’re cool, or a master of something – think Scrum and Kanban. With motivation, well, there’s the Management 3.0, Simon Sinek’s idea of Why and a ton of voodoo conveniently called leadership. Scaling, especially when you’re all cool and Agile, gives you an option of LeSS (that, some say, works), SAFe (that sells brilliantly, as it addresses all insecurities of old school managers in a perfectly engineered way) and Nexus (which is vague and esoteric enough to feel like a futile attempt to join the scaling bandwagon). It’s not easy to pick the right framework these days, especially considering each one is a viable and useful option.

Then, making this choice altogether might be a mistake.Read More »The Framework Menace

Beyond Plans

Nobody in their right minds would’ve ever admit to not have plans. Yes, you may have no idea what to do this evening, which particular car to buy and whether you’d like strawberry or banana flavored ice-cream on your cheat day. But these are all virtually meaningless nuances. Except for the car part, of course. Now, take a step back, then another and one more, just enough to see the big picture (Health and safety advice: while you do that, please beware of staircases, LEGO blocks and cliffs). Some sort of plan will be there. It might be a bit vague, e.g. getting married someday, to someone, hopefully not in Las Vegas. If you’re being honest with yourself, this plan will actually be more specific. On the other hand, it might be extremely concrete, even SMART (though you might want to be careful here) – for instance, matching your current salary with side gigs until the end of the year. You do have some idea on how you’d like your life to change.

And the worst that can happen is that you simply succeed.Read More »Beyond Plans

Just Part of The Business

A few years back, I was asked to work with a team that has worked on an uneasy task for over a year. They were to outsource maintenance and expansion of business-critical software. Interestingly, they took it over from another supplier which, clearly, had no idea how to work on such a product. While developing new functionalities, they were fixing legacy bugs. Being honest, they did create quite a few of their own. It’s just how it is, when you code, there are bugs. On top of it, there was the client’s product owner, struggling to tie lose ends. All the fun you could have, as I thought.

Then one day, there was a face to face meeting.Read More »Just Part of The Business

Fake Agile

With what I do in my life, I visit quite many software development companies. From multinational corporations, via overgrown start-ups, to small ones, with just a dozen of employees. They’re all different, no story is ever the same. They aim at various markets, work using plethora of technologies, display all possible buzzwords of the last decade or so. There’s a common denominator though, which is Agile. Whoever works in software, for whatever reason, wherever in the world – they’re all the same at this one. It seems almost disgraceful to admit to work in some other way – that would be so 20th century! And whenever I ask them to show me their Agile, it’s always the same. Kanban boards. Magnets with photos. Burndown charts. Burnup charts. Software to streamline all these. And, inevitably, heaps and heaps of post-it notes, in every possible color of the RGB universe.

It’s so easy to fake Agile.Read More »Fake Agile