Category Archives: analysis

A High Bar for Product Culture

My daughter is in the phase where she’s always asking me “why?”, so she asks me, “Why do you go to work?” …and I hate how a toddler has given me so much pause… because I don’t like my answer.

Here’s a window into an internal struggle:

Do you work for a company with an inspiring vision? Why the heck not? And why do you choose to spend your days contributing to a group that’s not improving humanity?

And now, here’s my struggle as I iterate on my Agility:

Why continue to focus on how things are being built & done when what we are building & doing is not improving humanity?

What do I tell my 2-year-old daughter? Continue reading

Reality Now Sucks, and is also Just Different

It’s 5am. It is OK to hate reality. You know you want to. Go ahead. I grant thee permission.

Oh, you’re right: the other half of the blog post title represents a more stoic and less detached approach to life, and while, on a good day, y’might resolve to this state, you’re likely to have an initial set of cortisol-driven, fear-based reactions.

And I say: embrace it …for a bit …because you’re human and this is part of the experience …and you only live twice. (#YOLT)

This isn’t a post about how an emotionally mature way to handle change we don’t at first like is to recall Bill Belichick’s, “it is what it is”.

This isn’t a post about how it is more spiritually sustainable to remove outcome from life events, and to go with the flow.

This isn’t even a post about allowing yourself to feel emotions (even though that’s how I’m starting all this).

It is about how the title is “Reality Now Sucks, AND is also Just Different”, and not “Reality Now Sucks, BUT is also Just Different”. Continue reading

Hammer and the Hedgehog

What’s the worst place to have an epiphany about your whole approach to life being wrong?

At work. In a meeting. Run by you. About your approach to life.

Why Agile?” was the topic of our bi-weekly Agile Guild gathering: when to ‘use it’ and when not to ‘use it’. Answer: When tasks are complex, not simple. What’s another way of thinking about complexity? There’s high discoverability & low predictability. I just saved you the bulk of an hour-long discussion. You’re welcome.

No mind-blowing epiphanies yet. So far, we gucci.

All of a sudden, fellow Scrum Master Stephen busted out a cautionary quote about ‘using Agile’, a version of which I like is:

If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail.  – Abraham Maslow

Well, in Asheville they say – that the Merrill’s small head grew three sizes that day. (And then – the true meaning of Agile came through, and the Merrill found the strength of ten Grinches Merrills, plus two!)

Mind equalled blown. Doesn’t often happen. Continue reading

Are you Lazy? Get a Routine

I’m pretty useless after the dance party.

After dinner, the table mostly put away, and our daughter’s toys mostly… not put away (yet), the CD player goes on, and the dance party begins.

Matt Heaton steps the tiny masses through basic behavioural norms like stopping and going. Then there’s a Wombat Dance. (We have a 2-year-old, so this all makes sense.) Before Matt, but still in popular rotation, we had Karen K and the Jitterbugs, wherein you, too, may want to be a Jitterbug, or have Pancakes for Dinner.

At some parentally appointed point, the music stops.

At some later painfully negotiated point, toys are put away.

At some even later peacefully navigated point, our daughter is in bed.

At this point, I’m pretty useless.

There’s 1-2 hours left in regulation time before the daily game is over, and I’m not really in the mood for anything creative or productive. Personal growth-related activities? Pfft, grrrl, please.

So what’s a citizen to do? Continue reading

What I Learned from the Consultancy Experiment

Ever wanted to be a mad scientist? As a Biomedical Engineer, my version of this involved lab coats, organs, and Southern accents.

If you drive North from Boston on I-95, before you get to New Hampshire, you’ll see on your right an Alfalfa farm. You’ll know because it is written out in what should be wrought iron.

If you take a Systems Physiology class in college, you’ll learn how the kidney’s mostly passive filtration system is truly magical. You’ll know because your kidneys will vibrate warmly. Giving you a hug. From the inside.

If you put those 2 together, you logically derive the motivation for studying Tissue Engineering in grad school: the commercial for Merrill’s Kidney Farm.

Picture folks in thick-rimmed glasses, wearing overalls, and white lab coats. Cue that Southern accent… Continue reading