What are some signs you are working at a “sinking ship” company? Thu, 2013.12.05Posted by Charles Rivet in Uncategorized.
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This is a good list of signs to watch for in this economy…
Thanks to systems perestroika – éminence grise for pointing it out!
PowerPoint Karaoke (or table topics?) Wed, 2013.11.27Posted by Charles Rivet in blog, Funny, product-management, Video.
Tags: battledecks, Clubs, Microsoft PowerPoint, Organizations, PowerPoint Karaoke, ProductCamp, ProductCamp Ottawa, Self Improvement, Toastmaster, Toastmaster International, United States, youtube
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At the recent ProductCamp Ottawa, one of the submitted topic was PowerPoint Karaoke – something with which I was not familiar. The description seemed interesting, but there were other topics to attend. I actually don’t even remember whether it was one of the picked topics – or maybe it was running at the same time as mine – but that does not matter. I decided to look this up and found a good description (with tips) and this SXSW 2008 recording (they call it “BattleDecks” but it’s the same thing):
This seems like a lot of fun! Back when I was a member of a ToastMasters club, we had this thing called “table topics” where you were given a topic and then, without preparation, had to talk for 40-60 seconds about that topic. This is a similar idea, but with a set of PowerPoint slides! I used to enjoy table topics, I guess I would also enjoy this!
The Agile Manifesto reworked for Systems Engineering Mon, 2013.11.25Posted by Charles Rivet in Agile, blog, ibm, systems-engineering.
Tags: agile, Agile development, agile-manifesto, Hazel Woodcock, IBM developerWorks, INCOSE, Methodologies, Programming, Systems engineering
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In her community on , Hazel Woodcock posted an excellent blog entry describing a rework of the Agile Manifesto (really a “ “) into something that is more relevant to system engineering and the development of large systems.
If you have any interest in systems engineering (or if you are a member of INCOSE, like me), you really should have a look and make your voice heard (you’ll have to join developerWorks to be able to comment)!
The Five Monkeys Experiment (with a new lesson) Tue, 2013.10.29Posted by Charles Rivet in Uncategorized.
Consider yourself lucky if you ever get the opportunity to hear Eddie Obeng give a talk.
My first introduction to him was a video of his TED talk on “Smart failure for a fast-changing world”. This week at JiveWorld, he gave the keynote speech. With passion and some unorthodox presentation techniques, he walked us a through a range of practical insights about human beings and ways to change behavior.
ProductCamp Ottawa – November 2, 2013 Mon, 2013.10.28Posted by Charles Rivet in Agile, conference, OPMA, product-management.
Tags: Canada, CaseWare, Ottawa, ProductCamp, ProductCamp Ottawa, unconference
If you have any interest in the various aspects of product management, you should consider registering and attending. There are currently 11 proposed sessions, including my own (session #9: Agility in Product Management).
No one is sure yet which session will be running as the participants will be voting for the selection as the first action of the day.
I look forward to meeting you there!
Manifesto for Half-Arsed Agile Software Development Mon, 2013.10.28Posted by Charles Rivet in (anti)patterns, Agile, Funny, quote, software-development.
Tags: agile, agile-manifesto, funny, product-development, software-development
By now, everyone doing software (or product) development has heard of the Agile Manifesto (if not, you need to get out of your cave more often).
Like most process, one needs to apply an interative, incremental approach to process adoption. This is why we get something like the Manifesto for Half-Arsed Agile Software Development.
It would be so funny if it were not so true…
Tags: 3c, collaboration, communication, cooperation, organisation, silo
In the past, I’ve experienced a lot of cases where silos existed within companies and organisations. More recently, with my work with communications service providers, the silos between product management (part of the CMO organisation), business systems (BSS, part of the CIO organisation), and operations (OSS, part of the CTO organisation) illustrated the problems in delivering their products to customers.
More recently, I was reminded of this during last week’s meeting of the OPMA (Ottawa Product Management Association, which also includes program and project managers) and an INCOSE Canada (International Council for System Engineering) symposium. These silos certainly appear to be the norm in many organisations – and seldom to beneficial effect!
The problem with these silos is that they encourage the transfer of information through documents that are passed “over the wall”. Although this could be seen as a sign of collaboration (e.g., “I provided the requirements, my job is done!”), it is not truly conducive to all parts involved in the product delivery process understanding and meeting the needs of the stakeholder (“the customer”). It also does not promote the adoption of an agile approach, especially when the needs of the customer change or are better understood.
I have come to think of this problem as on of “3-Cs”: Communication, collaboration, and cooperation.
There has always been a lot of talk about communication being essential to everyone knowing what needs to be done. Unfortunately, the silos tend to make this communication one-way, and I do not see that as communication! Communication that just goes one way is publication, even publicity in some case (e.g., “See, I know what the customer wants!”). Publication also tends to be a point in time occurence and not continuous. What is needed is communication that is a continuous dialogue that occurs regularly until the product is delivered – not just at the start and end. Participants need to be able to ask questions and get answers in order to get to a common understanding of what needs to be done, of what the customer problem and needs are and and how they will be solved.
But communication is not enough. There also has to be collaboration during that dialogue – it can not only be a question and answer exchange. Participant need to provide insight from their own knowledge and experience. This collaboration will help the company achieve the best solution for the customer’s problem.
And even that is not enough – we also need cooperation. Collaboration has a tendency to only occur during specific communication events, e.g., meetings. Cooperation happens when communication and collaboration happens spontaneously. In many cases, it is the result of the synergy that happens when communication and collaboration become almost symbiotic, when the team knows enough about the whole product that, when new information becomes available, they are already thinking about new ideas to meet the customer’s needs and they already know who to talk to – there is no more need to way for the next meeting or to create a new document. At this point, the silos are broken and success is assured.
I do realise that I am taking some liberties with the formal definitions of my 3-Cs, and I make no apologies for that. It is an easier mnemonic to deal with (especially since it seems to have already been used often as such).
The important thing in all this, after all, is to remember that when developing products, we all need to become more agile and dedicated to meeting the customer’s needs and solving their problems. If we don’t, we will take longer and risk losing the customer!
Corporate mass & inertia prevents agility Fri, 2013.09.13Posted by Charles Rivet in blog, product-management, software-development, systems, systems-engineering.
Tags: agile, devops, product-management, SAFe, sailing, software-development
Tommy (someone for whom I have the greatest respect) made some very interesting comments in his posting: Corporate mass & inertia prevents agility.
Now, I have also had some experience sailing and that certainly helps me relate to the metaphor he uses. Sometimes I like the slow boat and sometimes the fast one – it really depends on what you want to accomplish. However, in this age where “internet time” is what companies have to worry about, agility is what is needed for the complete delivery of products. There has already been a lot of talk about agile development for quite a while – and that is certainly a great thing for the software industry, but development is just a part of the product delivery, one has to embrace the complete lifecycle and think about agile product management (check out the front end of SAFe) and agile DevOps.
But then, there’s also some benefits to sometimes take a slow boat to China…just not when you need to deliver a product to your clients!
The end of an era and the prospect of new opportunities Thu, 2013.09.05Posted by Charles Rivet in ibm, job, work.
Tags: blogging, business, full time job, future, ibm, resume, technology, work
It’s the end of an era…
At the beginning of August, after coming back from vacation, I was advised that my position at IBM was eliminated. I had been with IBM for the last 15 and a half years, through two acquisitions – the longest I have been with any company (as my LinkedIn profile accessible from the side-bar can attest). It has been a roller-coaster ride over the last few years, but I generally enjoyed my time with IBM and, especially with all the great and amazing people I have had the chance to meet.
Since then, I’ve gone through the usual loss stages and I last week I started to actively look for new opportunities. The first thing I noticed is how hard it is to write a résumé when you haven’t had to do one in over 15 years! I’m now thinking that a job search is a full-time job!
This is also a good time to revisit my strength and what I want to do with my career going forward. I still have many things to think about in that regards. I do love technology, so it will definitely still play a role in my future. And perhaps I’ll have more time to blog…
Wish me luck!