Early Bird Ends Soon for Influential Agile Leader

If you are a leader for your agile efforts in your organization, you need to consider participating in The Influential Agile Leader. If you are working on how to transition to agile, how to talk about agile, how to help your peers, managers, or teams, you want to participate. Gil Broza and I designed it to be experiential and interactive. We’re leading the workshop in San Francisco, Mar 31-Apr 1. We’ll be in London April 14-15. The early bird pricing ends Feb 20. People who participate see great results, especially when they bring peers/managers from their organization. Sign up...

Change is Learning: No Silver Bullets or Quick Fixes

Way back when I was a developer, my professors taught me structured design and design by contract. Those were supposed to be the silver bullets for programming.  You see, if you specified things enough, and structured things enough, everything would all work out. I thought I was the only idiot that structure and specification didn’t work for. Why did I have to iterate and increment? At my first job, we had design reviews and code reviews. I learned a lot. I worked on a government contract, and the government mandated those reviews. They were useful, and they were supposed to be a silver bullet. Because we implemented features (yes, back in the ’70s, we implemented features), the reviews were helpful in the small. But, I worked on a program. There is just so much design by contract can do for a program. I was in Boston. I had questions for my counterpart in New Mexico. I was not allowed to talk to that person. (To this day, I don’t know who that person was. That person was part of another subcontractor.) I had to send my questions up through the project management layers to the program team and down the other side. My questions never did get answered. I left that company before I knew if my code worked with the entire system. I transitioned into project management, program management and people management. I have seen my share of fads, bullets, and fixes for the software departments. As a director in the early ’90’s I got sent to TQM school (Total Quality Management). My company thought it would change...

InfoQ Interviews Posted

While I was on vacation in early January, there were two interviews posted on InfoQ: Ben Linders interviewed Esther Derby, Don Gray, and me about the Change Artistry book. I’m really pleased about the way the interview came out. Thanks, Ben! Back at Agile 2013, Shane Hastie interviewed me. The interview is here. We spoke about many things: the dangers of multitasking, hiring, and agile program management. We had a great time. I only with you could have seen Shane on camera too. Oh...

Do You Have an Emergent Project?

I just finished the electronic version of Manage Your Job Search, integrating my comments from my beta reviewers. I’m getting the book ready for print and audio now. One of my realizations is that a job search is an emergent project. As much as you might want to, you cannot predict an end date. Other emergent projects are writing books (at least, for me they are) and change projects, such as transitioning to agile. What are the common characteristics of emergent projects? You know what you want as a result. You either want a job, a great book, or an agile transformation, which is often a cultural shift. You can’t plan the entire project all at once. You can plan a little. You might even be able to outline the entire project. But you know you will have to replan as you proceed. You know things will change. As a veteran of all three kinds of projects, yes, I can guarantee that all three will change! You can take advantage of opportunities along the way. Serendipity makes the project better. Even if you are one of the people instigating the project, you depend on other people to complete the project. Emergent projects are often a time of great change for the people on the project. They can be fun, also. But they can never be planned so that they “just work that way.” Nope. The people on the project need to adapt to what is going on that day, the next day, and the next. Many projects have characteristics of emergent projects. But they are not emergent by nature....

Would You Take A Pledge to Not Speak at All-Male Panels at Tech Conferences?

I saw this post yesterday, A Simple Suggestion to Help Phase Out All-Male Panels at Tech Conferences. And, I wondered what I would do, if I was male. Let me provide a little more context. I had a conference call with some of the Prag editors just a couple of weeks ago. The Prags publish three of my books. They are looking for women authors, and the reason behind the conference call? A tech conference was cancelled because someone realized zero women were speaking. As in zero, nada, null. My reaction was, “Why the heck didn’t they call me?” I’ve been the only woman on otherwise all-male panels at tech conferences. I speak the way I write: with authority. You’re not surprised, are you? I don’t have trouble getting a word in edgewise. The only problem with panels is that sometimes there are too many people on a panel, and then it’s difficult for anyone to get their thoughts in. I almost always get mine in. I speak at technical conferences. For example, I’m a repeat speaker at SQE conferences and on the No Fluff Just Stuff/UberConf conference tour. In fact, I only speak so far, at technical conferences. But, taking a pledge doesn’t solve the problem. In fact, since that’s only one solution, it’s a trap. It exacerbates the problem. I would hope, that if I was a man, I would still have the same problem-solving skills I have now. Any pledge you would take, depends on where you are in your career. If I was starting out, and no one knew me, who cares what pledge I...