Berry With A Beat

I am now a professional mime.

When the Internet decides to be slow, in turn cutting out the audio component of a meeting I’m in the middle of with my teammates in Romania or India, the HD webcam stays rolling, like an out-of-date analogy, my face lights up, like Garry Kasparov playing chess, and my hands are all over the place, like an Italian stereotype.

I lead teams that are not in the same room, so to mitigate the 3 continents and 10.5 hours between me and, say, Vivek & Mihai, I:

  • tell stories to bring people together, like how I ran into Kevin Spacey at a Starbucks
  • show and tell the random things lying around our conference rooms, like little trinkets like oversized clothes pins and 3D-printed Sesame Street characters
  • intonate exaggeratedly, because our budget doesn’t allow for teams to have studio-grade microphones & speakers to share speech subtleties
  • apologize liberally, because I am often cutting people off since it is not always clear when somebody has finished sharing their thought because of an audio lag
  • pause often, because teammates often start talking for a few seconds before realizing they have yet to unmute themselves
  • insult them flatteringly, like, “oh no no please, the top of your head is so well shaped… please don’t ruin this experience by showing the rest of your face.”
  • explain that what I had just said was a joke, because sarcasm does not always travel across national borders fully intact
  • crack jokes, because it brings people together via laughter

I will sing and dance and still be productive so that people know that when you come to my meetings, you know you will leave with a little more funk, and your day will be a little sweeter. This is my flavour of ScrumMastery; I am a berry with a beat. My goal is for you to leave as a berry with a beat.

Oh, what joy it is to create a berry with a beat.

Analyzing Blog For Tricia

This blog is all about me.

It always has been, and if you gleam something of value from it, then, you’re welcome: this experiment of applying Scrum principles to personal development is a fun and enlightening ride.

I’ve added metadata (which is nerd babble for ‘tags’, which geek babble for ‘adjectives’, which is dork babble for ‘words to describe things’, which is baby babble for ‘metadata’) to these blog posts to see what I can learn and relearn. Before I get to concrete Scrummy analysis, it’s interesting to note that…

This blog isn’t all about me.

Over the course of three years, I’ve inadvertently woven my private life into this public exploration, which we can now see since Tricia has her own WordPress category.

She is first alluded to in Short-Term Press Release, where I slip in that I’m a boyfriend. As a side note, this whole ‘husband’ thing is still kinda whacked – I’ve had way more practice as a ‘boyfriend’, but enough about metadata (which is nerd babble for ‘tags’, which is geek babble for ‘adje…).

She had indeed moved in by Good Enough, where we are “crafting this space”. This is also the first post tagged with ‘genesis story‘, where I talk about how and why this ScrumOfOne idea and blog began.

She added ‘fiance’ to her metadata (which is nerd babble for…) as per Engagement. The Boston Marathon bombings and the aftermath are also loosely documented here.

Together, we moved into a new place in Cambridge as per Hello Again, Genesis. Echoes of moving into the Boston pad as a single guy are heard.

She added ‘wife’ to her metadata (which is…) as per ScrumOfTwo, which expands on my Life Is Like A Burrito (.com!) bit.

Et voila! Thus, we find one sub-story based on perspective (right, sweetheart?), which is in itself based on, and just another word for, one more time, metadata (…).

Quirktastic or Corporate Bingo

Ever read a passage from an article on a lazy Sunday afternoon while sipping a cappuccino, and say, “Man, I totally gotta lift that and make that the basis of my next blog post?”

Nope, me neither.

I also remember watching my dad speak to everyone in the town square on the Fourth of July. He was up in this little white gazebo, and he was talking about the state of the city. He used the word “ain’t” at least a dozen times, so afterward I gave him the gift of feedback. He looked me straight in the eye and said, “Are you really trying to help me get better or are you embarrassed?”

I said, “Honestly, a little bit of both.”

He said: “Son, this is who I am. And look out there. This is who they are. And if they can see me be imperfect and be the mayor, then one of them will aspire to be the mayor, too. People prefer their leaders with flaws because it makes these positions more attainable for the rest of us.

Here, Brad Smith, CEO of Intuit, in an interview by Adam Bryant for yesterday’s ‘Corner Office’ column of the SundayBusiness section of The New York Times, talks about his parents. In the process, he talks about the benefits of appearing human when in a position of leadership. Sure, the mayorship appears more attainable, and I would argue that is because the mayor appears more relatable.

Ever listen to a public relations message or a corporate pep talk and it is littered with stuffy-sounding jargon? “At the end of the day”, “Productize”, “Quality Initiative”, “Deliverable”, “Going Forward”, “Opportunity For Improvement”, some buzzphrases sound self-aggrandizing, some of these come off as adding no value, some do both, and man do these really grind my gears. They are very effective at being incredibly impersonal. Don’t use them.

Be relatable.

Hell, I’m trying, but that’s because I’m really a robot.

A handsome, charming, Spanish, sword-fighting robot. Don’t tell my wife.

I Am A Millionaire (And So Can You!)

Folks, it happened. I am a millionaire. After 10,000 hours, I’m popping tags like the silly can holders.

Or at least… I live like a millionaire. On the daily, I swan dive into a multi-storey vault of Dogecoin a la Scrooge McDuck. Luckily, such riches have afforded me the necessary thick skin and equally necessary metallic Beyonce bouyancy to not get all cut up by or drown in said vault of said coin. (I got 99 problems, but tetanus ain’t one. (Hit me!))

So after my morning swim, after shimmying the moon dust off my shoulders, I get on with my day. And my days are pretty ordinary, except for the ‘living like a millionaire’ part. My vast wealth of cryptocurrency stays in that vault because I don’t need it to live like a millionaire. I already know how without all that.

“What?” you say, “Are you gettin’ all cheesy on me?” Naw, Pepper Jack, this is something that recently hit me like a tonne of feathers with a brick in the middle.

Fill in this sentence for yourself:

I live like a millionaire when I…

Here, let me help you out – this is just some of what’s on my list. I live like a millionaire when I:

  • play Candy Crush when I go to the bathroom.
  • beatbox in the shower.
  • rack my brain around Chinese Checkers.
  • commandeer a public piano.
  • crack a bad joke.
  • watch and hear my wife’s reaction to said bad joke.
  • walk around holding my wife’s hand.
  • say ‘wife’ whenever I can ’cause it still sounds foreign.
  • blare ‘And You and I’ by Yes before getting married.
  • jam to ‘Burn’ by Ellie Goulding as I walk out of work.
  • bask in ‘Express Yourself’ by Charles Wright & the Watts 103rd Street Rhythm Band just about any other time of day.
  • whistle my theme song.
  • sit at my throne desk.
  • hang out at a cafe.
  • drink a cappuccino.
  • go on a date with a buddy.
  • make up a silly story.
  • tell the story behind my watch.
  • tell the story behind my pen.
  • tell the story behind my wedding band.
  • tell the story behind the number four on clocks.
  • tell the story of how I work for Taco Bell as a motivational speaker.
  • tell this joke: Did you hear about the Scottish cross-dresser? He wore pants.
  • watch and hear your reaction to that joke.

Sure, if I had some loose Hamiltons I’d build a community music studio and start a hovercraft polo league, but I’d also continue to do the above already awesome things. And of course, how I live like a millionaire will differ from how you live like a millionaire.

How do you live like a millionaire?

How can you live like a millionaire right now?

Hello – Is It Me I’m Looking For?

I can see it in my eyes.
I can see it in my smile.
I’m all I’ve ever wanted.
And –

…if we check out the System page of this blog, we see how this whole ScrumOfOne set of practices I’ve forged actually increases my Inner Peace.

Man does that sound awesome – I want me some of that existential goodness.

Sometime before the home settling, the wedding, the move, the move prep, and the wedding prep, I stopped being fully engaged in applying Scrum principles to my personal development. I had been working off of a Scrum-Lite process where, yes, I had a backlog, but it was to keep track of the things to which I was largely reacting. While the days were focused on mostly logistical issues, and rightfully so, what was missing was personal growth, and the accompanying Inner Peace.

Now that things have calmed down, with the state of the home being that folks have been able to stay over without being warned to mind the bear traps duffle bags and to watch out for that tree box, I’ve returned to putting things in a number of personal backlogs, prioritizing them, and siphoning off a few into the current sprint. And just the process of doing all that has felt grrrrreat! The relief has come less from knowing where I am going and more that I am not missing anything. I can’t get all the things done now, but they’re not forgotten, and the most important stuff is getting addressed. Very Scrum. What’s that tingling in my toes? Oh yeah. Inner Peace.

So I’m back on the bandwagon, and man do I not want to fall off and lose my growing Inner Peace… or… get dysentery.

Want more transparency? Fine. I thought it would be enough to tell y’all that I’m wicked pumped to be back in the game, but you’re egging me one… I’ll publish my velocity and the Kaizen story so y’all can learn along with me. There. You’re welcome.

The more important bits of Kaizen will fall into an improved System page – I’ll update that section to reflect what has been practical and repeatable.

First piece of Kaizen (for Sprint 141, which is the number of paychecks I’ve received, with a biweekly schedule that conveniently aligns with the sprintly schedule): Actually read the Sprint Backlog each morning. It’s simple, but this is the piece of adaptation that is independent, negotiable, valuable, ‘estimatable’ (such a clumsy word), specific, and testable that gets Scrummin’ back into my daily routine. And Inner Peace. Let’s not forget that.