Eatinglightbulbs, Gets a Facelift!

I’ve re skinned my blog to something more up to date and simple. It’s more readable and looks nice too!

After living and working in Asia for close to two years it is time to say goodbye! My job in Thailand ended in February and I’ve been doing some traveling. First to Bangkok, then Myanmar and at the moment I’m in Taipei. 

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The Science Behind Scrum

Scrum is a flavor of agile software development. In agile the development teams are cross functional and are self-managing. The development cycles, called sprints, are short, 4 weeks or less. By the end of a sprint the code must be functional, tested and working. Scrum functions on something called empirical process control. Traditional software development (command and control) uses defined process control, which is based on the theory of how something should work. This is at the heart of why so many traditional software projects either fail or generate bad code. A defined process control is meant to work on projects that are not very complex, tasks that do not need to be exact, like making hat pins. Empirical process control is used in serious engineering when tolerances need to be exact.
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Do You Have Vendors or Partners?

How do you treat your vendors? Are they partners that are interested and engaged in your success or just a resource you use as needed? Many companies are too focused on having the upper hand and squeezing every last dollar out of vendor relationships. Both customers and vendors are guilty of this. When a relationship is focused on money and status, the rules change. If vendors gave their best price on the first quote and companies didn’t try to squeeze them, they could get money out of the way and focus on results.
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I Heart Zappos!

I just spent 4 hours watching a Zappos All Hands meeting. They started streaming these meetings last quarter and there were over 1500 total views with a steady participation of 165 people. What does it say about a company that 1500 non employees would tune in to watch a business meeting? I’ve worked in the Fortune 100, the military, state and federal government as well as educational institutions and small businesses. This was without question the best all hands meeting I’ve seen. No surprise really, but still impressive as hell.
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Parkinson's Law and ROWE in Government

I was recently found Parkinson’s Law, “Work expands so as to fill the time available for it’s completion.” So I got on Amazon and bought a used copy of the book since it’s out of print. It was written in 1957 and is largely about the problems with government administration. Nothing much has changed since then. Parkinson talks about how bloated the British Admiralty became between 1914 and 1928. Ships in service decreased by 67.74%, men in the service decreased by 31.5% and dockyard officials increased by 40.28% while Admiralty officials rose by 78.45%. He says there are two reasons for this. “An official want to increase subordinates not rivals” and “Officials make work for each other.”
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It's All About Trust

In many businesses trust is hard to find. Do time cards, lengthy HR manuals, top down management and lack of transparency lend themselves to an environment of trust? Not so much. Organizations that have great cultures are based on values and trust. A healthy corporate culture is rife with trust at all levels, including vendors, customer and consultants. From executives to front line employees and everyone in between. At this juncture in corporate history trust is starting to make it’s way into our cultures and has been for 30 years of so, though it’s still the exception and not the rule. Too many executives are doing things the way we did them 100 years ago by holding on to controlling behaviors and focusing on short term profits.
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The Coming Customer Service Renaissance

In the next 5-10 years we’re going to see customer service increase across most industries. We are going to see good customer satisfaction being valued and pursued as a differentiator in business. This is going to lead to a customer service renaissance. With company after company trying to stand out and win loyal customers. When a company goes from zero to a billion dollars a year, in ten years, people pay attention.
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The Myth of Multitasking

Multitasking or divided attention is for computers not people. There is a mountain of evidence that says human beings can only do one thing at a time and do it well. I’m on the hunt for a job and just about every job description I read requires the skill multitasking. I’ve discovered that it’s possible for us to check email while attending a staff meeting, but you’ll write crappy emails and miss much of what’s said in the meeting and good luck coming up with intelligent sounding answers if called upon. My life lessons are backed up by psychology and neuroscience.
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