Bias to Inquiry is Hard

I’ve got a Bias to Action. My wife will call me a Fact Finder, which is true, and at some point… I do make a move.

I recently learned the phrase “Bias to Inquiry”, which is useful in the world of an Agile Coach: you run across a behaviour you deem odd, and instead of wanting to act on it, you first seek to learn about it. Context is key. History can be insightful. Figure out why there’s a fence across the road before trying to tear it down. It’s the fifth Habit.

This Bias to Inquiry is something I do at work – I get paid to be diplomatic.

This blog post is to acknowledge aloud that Bias to Inquiry at home is hard.

Let’s take a benign example:

Oh, lookie here! Clothes strewn in the hallway. I’m going to make a quick decision and either kick it aside or take a detour to throw ’em in the hamper.

Then there’s a more contentious example:

Oh, lookie here! You believe some fantastical conspiracy theory about the election or vaccines. I… don’t even know where to begin.

I don’t always have the time or energy to first seek to understand bullshit. Maybe I should be more open-minded. Maybe I should have more grains of salt with what information I consume in general. Being open to learning is generally good for one’s survival, so why not apply that in these cases?

I’m just saying it’s hard.

Notes on Vision

I have a product framework based on a great book on roadmaps, folding in a few standard key ideas like having a vision. Personally, I like having a few versions of the same vision, adding granularity to represent deeper understanding & appreciation, to then aid different levels of daily decisioning decision-making.

Here’s the really dorky part. As “Merrill the Third”, I’ve grown up drawn to the number 3, and lately, thirds. Applying this odd proclivity (self-five!) to visioning crafting vision(s), I aim for lengths of about a minute, and a third of a minute (20 seconds), and a third of a third of a minute (~6 seconds), and a third of a third of a third of a minute (~2 seconds) (one over: three to the power of three – another self-five!).

So here are my notes on Vision.

Much like my notes on Minimalism & Product, these are not my most complete ideas (nor my most current… these are about 6 years old, a lifetime ago), but they resonate with me enough such that I look back on ’em from time to time, and figured I’d share ’em with you.

You’re welcome.

Continue reading Notes on Vision

Look At The Camera

It’s simple… If you Zoom-From-Home, then: Look at the camera!

I mean… I could end this post right here.

But I won’t… This is just one of a few Remote Facilitation Tactics I wrote about a year ago, where a piece of insight I came to was:

You are either connecting with a person for your benefit (by looking at the person’s image), or connecting with a person for their benefit (by looking ‘at’ the person via the camera).

I seriously think I’ll turn this Public Agile Service Announcement into a rap song:

Continue reading Look At The Camera

My Approach to a Quick Retrospective

It’s simple… Do not do a quick Retrospective.

But if y’ain’t got a lotta time… I do a “Fist Of Five“, gather quantitative & qualitative data, pretend for a moment we have 6 fingers on a hand, then capture a piece of Kaizen, all in 3 minutes.

I mean… I could end this post right here.

But I won’t… Remember that insurrection on January 6th? What the fuck was that shit? People were fed lies to fuel all sorts of anger & fear, which led to some of them invading the Capitol?!? Like, holy fucking shit!!! That whole scene represents major failure on a number of fronts, and… We. Need. To. Retrospect. HARD.

Alors… The quicker you Retrospect, the lesser the quality of the actionable item of improvement on the other side, mostly because you don’t give yourself the time to think up and dive down into how to make the next chunk of time better. Also, the shorter the amount of time you’re reflecting on, which is usually the same amount of time ahead of you that you hope to improve, the lesser the potential impact of the Kaizen. Think about it… Are you holding a Retrospective at the end of your day? Then the Kaizen will impact the next day, which will not be as potentially impactful as one you would pick from a weekly Sprint Retrospective, or a quarterly one, or a yearly one (New Year’s Resolutions, anyone?). Or one for a 4-year cycle (voting for a US President, anyone?). The LONGER the amount of time you’re retrospecting, the deeper the potential impact of… a piece of Kaizen. Yet, this isn’t what Agile is about… it’s about quicker feedback loops, to more frequently validate if you’re going in the right direction, mechanizing pivot/persevere decisions. Think about it… again… Are you holding a Retrospective at the end of your day? Then that retrospecting mechanizes how you change direction once a day, which will not be as potentially impactful as one for the next half-day (re-centering post-lunch, anyone?), or half-hour (a 1-1 regular meeting, anyone?). Or one for a moment (mindfulness, anyone?). The SHORTER the amount of time you’re retrospecting, the deeper the potential impact of… retrospecting. Oh, and the less risky a piece of Kaizen.

Maybe… I should’ve ended this post back there.

Continue reading My Approach to a Quick Retrospective

My First Interview

I was called a YouTube Celebrity after connecting with somebody new via LinkedIn, who had a video appear in her YouTube feed, of an interview of me that a buddy of mine conducted for his YouTube channel.

Granted, I’ve only done one, where it featured the ScrumOfOne portion of my Agile journey, but then branched out to cover popular discussions about Scrumming as one (what was difficult, what did I learn, …), books I recommend, how I answer one job interview question, and what I say I’m up to lately.

It also memorializes my mustachioed days.

Now, when I read that title card, I interpret that as if I am a cat & a genie, but in reality, I mention something about a cat, and I mention a genie in my answer to that one job interview question.

Oh, and no: I’ve since shaved.