Dan North on Our Obsession with Efficiency

When browsing Øredev’s videos from the 2009 conference I found another one that interests me. Dan North talks about Our Obsession with Efficiency.

The description says:

So here’s the thing, I don’t believe in efficiency. It’s our obsession with efficiency that has got us into the current technology mess, and which has led almost directly to heavy waterfall processes. Efficiency is how you let the big vendors sell their bloated technologies to the poor CIOs.

Dan talks about efficiency (doing things right) versus effectiveness (doing the right things). One of his comments is that Effectiveness is often inefficient.

Scott Hanselman on Information Overload and Managing the Flow

The videos from Øredev 2009 are starting to show up. Scott Hanselman had a keynote on Information Overload and Managing the Flow that I missed at the conference but now have seen on video.

The program text says:

As developers, we are asked to absorb even more information than ever before. More APIs, more documentation, more patterns, more layers of abstraction. Now Twitter and Facebook compete with Email and Texts for our attention, keeping us up-to-date on our friends dietary details and movie attendance second-by-second. Does all this information take a toll on your psyche or sharpen the saw? Is it a matter of finding the right tools to capture what you need, or do you just need to unplug.

Scott talks about effectiveness (doing the right things, moving the ball forward) and efficiency (doing things right). He covers many ideas and concepts like email rules, the importance of triage (decide if deal with or not, when), The Pomodoro Technique, Dave Allen’s GTD, Covey’s quadrants and the principles of flow.

Scott also says that the optimal number of threads in a system (including us humans) is one, in other words no multitasking. When it comes to tools Scott recommends Evernote for information storage and Remember The Milk for to-do-lists. Personally I am not keen on computerized to-do-lists, I prefer to write lists by hand.

Øredev 2009 is over

I was at Øredev 2009 November 2-6 and it was a terrific conference with lots of interesting presentations and around 900 attending. It was well organized and I really enjoyed it all.

On Monday I attended a full day tutorial with Marc Lesser.

On Tuesday I prepared the slides for my own presentation. In the evening it was Speaker’s Dinner at Rådhuset. Great people, great food and an impressive house.

On Wednesday I attended the track PM in Practice.

On Thursday I attended the track Aspects of Leadership where my own presentation was. In the evening we got an entertaining presentation by Ze Frank (an American online performance artist, composer, humorist and public speaker).

On Friday I spent some hours at the conference and then went back home.

Note! In the Archives at the Øredev site are videos from previous years.

Note! The videos from Øredev 2009 are starting to show up.

Aspects of Leadership at Øredev 2009

Thursday November 5 was the second day of Øredev 2009. I followed the track Aspects of Leadership which had this desciption:

Leadership is a fine balance between drive and the capability to efficiently and humanely manage people. The speakers invited to speak on this track have extensive experience of leadership in many different organizations and lines of business. You will learn to adjust your leadership style to reflect the circumstances you face, how to use coaching to improve collaboration in your projects and gain insight into the causes of destructive leadership behaviors.

The first session was No More Death by Meetings with Erik Lundh. The program said:

The Planning Pump is the emergent behavior observed for 10 years in and around agile teams that gets motivated to plan two weeks of work in just 60 minutes.

The essence of the presentation – as I understood it – was that if people know in advance what’s on the agenda (and that the meeting will only last 60 minutes) then they will prepare and connect in advance.

Next session was Understanding the origins of destructive leadership – Why bother with bad? with Leo Kant. The program said:

Studies explaining the causes of destructive leadership behaviors are very few. This presentation will cover two ongoing studies of such situational and individual antecedents of destructive leadership behaviors. One of the studies is conducted in a normal working environment. The second study investigates the antecedents of destructive leadership behavior in a crisis management simulation.

Leo Kant talked about constructive (good) leadership versus destructive (bad). Passive leadership is considered destructive. What’s interesting is that:
• Good and Bad are not opposites on the same scale.
• Bad and good co-exist.
• Bad is stronger than good.
• Most leaders do both.

My own presentation was titled Project success by helping project members realize their full potential and my core message was that Coaching brings out the best in individuals and in teams.

After me was Situational Leadership on Projects: Adopting Leadership Style to Conditions with J. Davidson Frame, PhD, PMP, Academic Dean at the University of Management and Technology, Arlington, Va. The program said:

On projects, you need to adjust your leadership style to reflect the circumstances you face.This presentation offers a framework for identifying appropriate leadership style, based on such factors as project size, time horizon, risk, complexity, novelty, and level of team cohesiveness. It also points out that you don’t need to have great charisma to be a good leader. Transactional leadership is often good enough. If you are really good at what you do, this will gain you followers.

We got an engaging introduction to Situational Leadership. He mentioned that Transformational leadership (think Martin Luther King) is 5% and Transactional leadership (think Jack Welch) is the remaining 95%.

Ending the track was Leif Dagsberg from Wenell Management AB who talked about ABC in Projects.

“A” stands for the activators and relates back to what actions we can take to make a preferred behavior happen. “B” is the behavior as a result of an activator. “C” means that we need to support the individual with consequences such as motivation. Psychological research tells us that If we want to change a Behavior, 80 % of the impact is related to our way of working with the Consequences of the changed behavior in comparison with working on different Activators.

Note! In the Archives at the Øredev site are videos from previous years. The 2009 videos will be there too.

PM in Practice at Øredev 2009

Wednesday November 4 was the start of Øredev 2009. I decided to join the track PM in Practice which had this desciption:

Project Management is about identifying and building effective relationships with the key people and groups on which project success depends. Project Managers focus on two sets of responsibilities; managing the team and ensuring tangible project deliverables and business value. Listen to a Case Study that describes and explores the learnings of old truths, combined with an agile approach, or to the true story of how large organizations have implemented Scrum and agile methods.

The first session I attended was titled Good is the Enemy of Great – a case study of continued success. It was presented by Hans Selén, Program Manager at IKEA. The program said:

As professionals we all strive for good results and achievements. But how do you accomplish repeatable project success and day-to-day operations in IT programs involving between 25 and 80 persons? And how do you improve when you have delivered reliable service of business critical applications around the clock and 6 projects, all with the agreed scope and quality, on time and on budget? And how do you utilize the agile approach and still use the good things you have learned over the years?

The enemy of all IT-projects is size, complexity. That led them to set a maximum complexity at 8-10 people and 8-10 months. I like this comment: Anyone can start a project, the trick is to finish them.

The next session I attended was The Manager’s Guide to Agile Adoption with Mike Cottmeyer (Agile Project Coach, Process Methodologist, PMP Certified Project Manager, Certified ScrumMaster). His presentation was about:

A roadmap for agile adoption that begins with teams and demonstrates how teams work together to deliver more complex projects & portfolios. Mike will expand the team concept to include capabilities & show how capabilities can be organized to optimize value across the enterprise value stream.

Then I attended Agile Adoption at Enterprise Level with Petri Haapio who now is Director Coaching at Reaktor Innovations in Finland. He talked about his experience from Nokia Networks and the desciption said:

The true story on how large enterprises have implemented Scrum and Agile methods and the result. Are there any metrics? Are the companies more effective? Who benefits? How to deal with resistance? Which roles are pro and which roles are negative to these methods. All these questions are answered from an enterprise view and with strategy in mind.

Note! In the Archives at the Øredev site are videos from previous years. The 2009 videos will be there too.

Marc Lesser at Øredev 2009

On November 2nd I attended a full day tutorial with Marc Lesser at Øredev 2009. The tutorial had the title Accomplishing More By Doing Less and the program was this:

Marc will present tools and practices for integrating mindfulness practice and emotional intelligence as a way to develop leadership ability, create more meaning in our lives, and allow for greater ease and satisfaction. This is an experiential workshop that will draw from spiritual practices (meditation, mindfulness, compassion), leadership practices (listening, innovation, focus) and creative expression (movement and writing).

I really enjoyed the tutorial, it was a great mix of old and new with exercises in the mix. There were two exercises that stand out to me, they are useful in different ways and in different contexts.

One exercise was journaling in three steps with these starting sentences:
+ What matters most to me is…
+ What gets in the way of doing what matters most to me is…
+ What supports me to do what matters most to me is…
It shall be journaling without too much thinking, write what comes up.

The other exercise was ‘the blame game’. It was describing a situation from different perspectives, first as if everything was all their fault and then as if it was all your fault. In reality it’s often somewhere in between, that was much easier to see once you had described both sides.

Marc Lesser also opened the conference with the keynote address “Accomplishing more by doing less” on Wednesday the 4th of November.

Update
You can watch the keynote speech on Vimeo, Marc Lesser – Accomplishing More By Doing Less.

Read more:
LESS – Accomplishing More by Doing Less, a book by Marc Lesser

Speaker at Øredev 2009

I am scheduled to speak at Øredev 2009, an IT Conference for Sharing Knowledge.

Øredev is the premier conference in Europe focused on the software development process. Nearly 1000 programmers, developers, engineers, educators, testers and managers gather to share their knowledge and experience.

My presentation is scheduled on November 5 in the track Aspects of Leadership and is titled Project success by helping project members realize their full potential. I intend to talk about how coaching can be used to improve collaboration in projects. A rough outline is in the program:
• Introduction.
• Laying the foundation and ensuring common definitions.
• Coaching the PM to develop him professionally and as an individual.
• Coaching a project team as a group, as well as the individuals within the group.
• How the PM can develop coaching skills and use them in his work.

This is my first major public speech which is somewhat horrifying. My own learning process will result in blog posts about presentation in this blog.

Update November 8, 2009.
The presentation went well and I realized that I really like the role of speaker, talking about a subject that matters to me. I had the benefit of working with a speaker’s coach and mentor which helped a lot.

Update April 3, 2010.
You can now watch Speaker at Øredev 2009, the video

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