Archive for the ‘consulting’ Category


It’s Your Choice

October 30, 2019

framed grateful or hateful


What Kind of Critic Are You?

July 20, 2019

You probably have been the recipient of “constructive” criticism.  Did you enjoy it?  Was the experience useful?  Really?

Have you ever been in a position to GIVE that kind of feedback?  Be assured that it’s not comfortable for either person.

  • Are you the type of critic that gives feedback with lots of “facts” that justify or make YOU feel better about giving that criticism?
  • Are you the type of critic that gives criticism because you are “helping” by providing them with the “truth”?
  • Are you the type of critic that gives feedback by talking around and around the criticism in an effort to soften the blow?
  • Are you the type of critic that tries to minimize the seriousness of the feedback and then quickly redirects the conversation to cheer them up?

Next time, spend a while thinking about how the other person you are critiquing can best RECEIVE your comments.  For example, will they want to hear your input directly, with no frills or do they need the message to be tempered for them to hear what you have to say?

If you can adapt to another person’s communication “protocol” maybe your comments will be received as caring and not criticism.



Agile Heresy

January 2, 2012

 Those who do the work are the best people to estimate what it takes to perform the work.  Makes sense.  Sounds reasonable.  The problem with such a definitive statement is the subjective word “best”.  Most of us read “best qualified” into that statement.  But what if the “best” person to do the estimation, won’t?  Have you ever worked with people on an agile team who don’t want to contribute to the backlog item estimation activity?  Sometimes a rigid corporate culture causes people who are, or perceive themselves to be “lower on the food chain” to say little and thereby avoid perceived conflict or anger of a more senior person.  Sometimes it’s a cultural behavior.  Sometimes fear.  Sometimes shyness.

 One successful team that I coached found a workable solution.  They selected a small sub-team from the more senior people on the team.  This sub-team did the estimation for the whole team.  It worked well and they have been very successful.

 But do you think this is agile heresy?  If so, how would you otherwise fix such a situation?

 Paraphrasing that old adage: You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him estimate.


The Leadership and Communication Lessons of Josey Wales – Part 4

October 7, 2010

In the last installment, we left Josey and his rebel friend at a river crossing. There they met the boatman Sim Carstairs, Granny Hawkins, who runs a supply store, and a carpetbagger. We discussed the loquacious Sim and now let’s see what we can learn from the unforgettable Granny Hawkins.   This grizzled, toothless, wise old woman can teach us numerous lessons.  Read More…


An Agile Landmine

September 14, 2010

I was innocently browsing some online agile material when I stumbled upon a landmine. I came upon a blog article that was shocking. The article recounted the concerns that the blogger had heard from developers regarding the impact that agile dogma has had on their lives. This article from Daniel Markham – Agile Ruined My Life – is edgy, hard-hitting, and touched off quite a firestorm of responses. So grab a fresh cup of java, kick back, and enjoy this wide open discussion. Agile zealots beware. Pragmatists enjoy.


What Would You Like To See…For Free?

August 17, 2010

We are beginning a project to develop freely available online content. But first, we need your opinion on what topics this content should cover. Please take a moment to answer these five quick questions so that we can provide you the information that you need. Click here to go to the survey. Thanks for your input.


How to Work a Trade Show – Part 2

February 15, 2010

In part one of this article, I discussed advice given to a consultant colleague who was presenting at his first trade show. I talked about being an active attendee and gave pointers on presentations. Part 2 continues on these topics and then talks about interacting with vendors.  …Read more