Lifehacking with Scrum

I’ve often spoken about the benefits of iterative design, and in particular agile management approaches, such as Scrum. Most of my experience with Scrum is as a software development approach (e.g. building web applications), but I’ve always seen the value in the methodology outside of this sphere, just rarely had the opportunity to work with it in this way (due to the nature of our engagement with clients).

Bruce Feiler does a terrific job of explaining the basics and benefits of a scrum approach outside the traditional software realm in Agile programming – for your family:

I love this “life hacking” idea—and love the anecdotes relating to the benefits that Bruce highlights in his talk. I’ve recently started to use this approach to manage a non-software team, and we have already started to see benefits. Multiple members of the team have commented how the extra visibility is really valuable. I’m also seeing benefits (as team leader) in terms of visibility, but especially collaborative prioritisation.

More about Scrum

If you’re interested in finding out more about Scrum as a methodology, I have found Softhouse’s Scrum in 5 minutes primer a very helpful introductory guide (HT @missnae) It’s a slightly annoying download process, but one of the better guides that literally takes 5 mins to get through.

The Interaction Consortium and Zumio adapted this diagram from Boehm, Barry, and Richard Turner (2005. Management challenges to implementing agile processes in traditional development organizations. IEEE Software 22 (5 (September/October 2005)) to visually explain the basic gist of Scrum.

Illustration of Scrum process


COFA + Saasu presentation follow-ups

I’ve been remiss in not posting up some follow-ups to the presentations I made (not so) recently at COFA and the Saasu Cloud Conference.

COFA have posted a “highlights” that I think captures the essence of the presentation quite well, I think, so probably easiest just to pass that along:

The Saasu presentation happened not long after, and shares some of the themes and examples, albeit less focused on service design’s application to social innovation and more directly outlining the benefits to small to medium businesses.

I’ve posted the slides to Slideshare:

The deck with associated notes (including links and follow-up references etc.) can also be downloaded as a PDF (6.8MB).


Quick note on strategy vs. tactics

It may seem fairly straightforward, but in a few recent conversations/engagements I’ve noted diverging opinions of what is considered “strategy” versus “tactics”. Damian Damjanovski posted last year on the same challenge (so it would appear I’m not alone in this experience).

In the midst of undertaking some reading for my masters studies, I came across this definition in ‘Strategies for change’ (Connor, PE, Lake, LK & Stackman, RW 2003) citing Robert Lauer, which I thought was pretty succinct (and similar in intent to Damian’s definition:

a strategy is “the general design or plan of action,” whereas tactics are “the concrete and specific actions that flow from the strategy.” While strategies evolve [more slowly] over time, tactics can change quickly, being added or dropped as the strategy for change is implement.

Just wanted to collect it here for future (publicly accessible) reference…


Michael Masserman’s talk at Digital Eskimo

I had the pleasure of attending a talk hosted at Digital Eskimo the other week, by Michael Masserman, one of the political campaigners on the Obama campaign.

Thankfully the Eskimos recorded the event so I don’t need to do a write up ;) [Note: the link in that post is currently incorrect – correct link below the vid in this post]

Although Michael’s talk focused on offline organising, it was still inspiring and informative to hear, even for an online geek like me.

Check it out:

DE Talks: Michael Masserman and Grassroots Community Organisation on the Obama Campaign from Digital Eskimo on Vimeo.


Victorian Bushfires

Over the past two weeks we’ve all been reeling from the news coming out of Victoria, of the devastation wrought by the bushfires.

Although I’ve been silent here (and on my personal blog) this has been primarily because I simply don’t know what to say. That said, there are times for words and times for prayers – an event like this is a time for prayer in my opinion…

Needless to say my thoughts and heart join all those at the memorial gatherings today in sending my best wishes to all those touched by this tragedy.