Saturday, September 13, 2008

All business is personal

We are in the political season, sometimes called the silly season. I will avoid discussions of politics, but I said that to introduce a well-worn phrase: "All politics are local."

Whether that is true or not, it led me to the observation that "all business is personal." That phrase and a note on this blog by Shannon Wagner. And a discussion with my sister-in-law in the mountains.

Business is a revealing of who we really are. Business is an acting out of "love thine enemies". Business is the 12-step program to becoming a mature person. Business is how we really help our grandmothers, our kids and those members of our families who have known hard times. Business helps us appreciate that it is more blessed to give than to receive.

Yes, Virginia, there is much evil and much failure in our being and our doing. Business is that process of refining that out, however slowly it may drip out, drop by drop.

Some people think business is about money, as though it were a zero-sum game. This is not so.

Yes, making a reasonable return for capital investors is a constraint. Like side-lines in a football game. But it is not the game. In business, you score each time you make someone happy. Make just one someone happy...(if you remember that song that Jimmy Durante sang).

Agile is personal, for example. It's between persons.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A personal note

In 2001 I was living in NC working as a consultant in NYC.

I remember early on a Tuesday morning, getting on a plane in Greensboro and flying to LaGuardia. I stopped to get some beanie babies for my kids.

And took a taxi to the World Trade Center at about 8:25am.

It was a beautiful September morning, crisp, clear. The taxi driver said there was some smoke at the WTC, so he turned on 1010WINS ("all the news all the time"). "A small plane seems to have lost its way and crashed into the WTC." I needed to take the PATH trains to my client in Jersey City. I told the taxi driver to keep going. I lived in NYC for 20+ years; we don't stop for minor things.

He left me off at Bowling Green. I rolled my luggage toward the WTC.

And the second plane roared past my ear. Or so it seemed. And crashed, with a loud explosion, into some everyday normal people sitting at their desks drinking their morning coffee.

Everyday between 8:30 and 9am there are (were) about 100,000 people in the WTC Plaza area, half in the World Trade Centers and half in transit. You can be sure they wanted to kill at least 50% of those people.

As you are reminded of this event, remember that it affected real people. People just like you. Directly. It isn't about the TV or the radio or the movies or the newspapers or the books. It was real people.

I was there. So I must tell this story, this too true story again. I worked many years in the WTC or going through the WTC mall day after day. They bombed my living room and people I knew.

If it tells me nothing else, I tells me what my mother told me long ago. Be alive now, have the courage to do it now.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Hyperproductive Distributed Scrum

Back on July 21, 2008, Jeff Sutherland gave a talk on Hyperproductive Distributed Scrum at the Googleplex in NYC.

Here is the video.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Self-Organization in Scrum

Last Thursday, Sept 4, 2008, Jeff Sutherland gave a talk on Self Organization in Scrum at Google in NYC. The talk also covered some of the associated contradictions (or perhaps, seeming contradictions).

Here are the slides from the talk. Google video to come soon.