Sunday, August 16, 2009

A Follow-up from Last week

So last week I shared with you that I read Strengths Finder, but I didn't share my specific strengths. So here they are:
  • Restorative - Chances are good that you are mentally quick and highly resourceful. You constantly consider how you can upgrade all sorts of things in your personal or professional life. You eagerly seek and find opportunities to better yourself.
  • Achiever - It’s very likely that you work industriously to finish all your daily assignments. You derive a great deal of satisfaction from reaching goals others have set for you. Meeting their expectations for the day undoubtedly is one of your top priorities.
  • Harmony - Because of your strengths, you long to attain mental and emotional steadiness in your personal and professional life. For this reason, you prefer to perform all the tasks assigned to you each day.
  • Learner - By nature, you frequently examine the factors leading up to an event. Therein you discover the reasons why things happened the way they did. A number of individuals and/or groups probably appreciate your logical thinking style.
  • Context - By nature, you are quite intrigued by history’s significant events and people. Instinctively, you may examine certain kinds of circumstances, opportunities, or problems.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The best thing I read this weekend

So, I read "Strengths Based Leadership" and took their assessment this weekend. It was a pleasant read and has tidbits of information that were insightful. It found was that there are no series of traits or strengths that all leaders typically possess. Rather, is it identifying your strengths and building a team around you that will complement (not compliment) them. It goes through 4 case studies of corporate leaders and how their differing strengths were utilized to lead them and their companies to success. While this was a bit intriguing, it was NOT the best thing I read this weekend.

The best thing I read this weekend was a 1 page article in BusinessWeek. It is titled "The Best Leadership is Good Management (click here). Can you lead and manage at the same time? This reminded me of MBWA (Management By Walking Around). It is a great technique for talking to folks, developing trust, mentoring and guiding, and of course, managing!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

On the Origins of Agile

So, as a practicing Agile Product Owner, with a more traditional product management background I decided to dig a bit deeper into original "founding fathers" of agile to understand their backgrounds. I've done some digging around and you can see the details below. All of the "founding fathers" of agile had a generally homogenous background founded in technical disciplines such as engineering, computer science, and physics. We all know that when you have homegenous teams, the results you tend to get are not as strong as those teams that are more diverse. I'm curious to know if agile manifesto and agile principles/techniques could be improved by revisiting them from a more cross functional perspective. We all know it takes more that developers to deliver software!

What are your thoughts?

Here is some of the research I did to review their backgrounds. While I realize I cannot encompass the full breadth of their experiences, you get the idea...
  • Mike Beedle - Technical Background - PhD in Physics and he has published in several areas including object technology, patterns, components, frameworks, software development, programming languages, reusability, workflow, BPR, and Physics.
  • Arie van Bennekum - Technical Background - Started his career as a developer and he has a IT education.
  • Alistair Cockburn - Technical Background - B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science with a PhD. He has been a hardware designer and research staff member.
  • Ward Cunningham - Technical Background - He has also served as Director of R&D at Wyatt Software and as Principle Engineer in the Tektronix Computer Research Laboratory before that.
  • Martin Fowler - Technical Background - He started working with software in the early 80's and in the mid 80's I started getting interested in the then new world of object-oriented development. I started to specialize in bringing objects to business information systems, first with a couple of companies and then as an independent consultant. In the early days this was using Smalltalk and C++, now it's Java, C# and Ruby.
  • Jim Highsmith - Technical Background - He has held technical and management positions with software, computer hardware, banking and energy companies. He has a B.S. in Electrical Engineering and an M.S. in Management
  • Andrew Hunt - Technical Background - Andy has been writing software professionally since the early 80's across diverse industries such as telecommunications, banking, financial services, utilities, medical imaging, graphic arts, and Internet services.
  • Ron Jeffries - Technical Background - Ron has been a systems developer for more years than most of you have been alive, and his teams have built operating systems, compilers, relational database systems, and a wide range of applications.
  • Jon Kern - Technical Background - Degree in engineering. Held positions such as Director of QA, Software Architect, etc.
  • Brian Marick - Technical Background - B.S. Math and M.S. in Computer Science. Lots of experience as a programmer and tester.
  • There are more, but you get the idea...