Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Books of the year 2005 | Peerless pages | Economist.com

in the opinion of the economist there is a list of the best books of 2005 in the following categories:

Biography, history, politics, science, business or purely imaginative fiction

Monday, December 19, 2005

mountain moving

One Energetic, Optimistic, Sunny Soul can motivate an Army to Move a Mountain.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

whale done

"One thing we learned quickly was that it doesn't make much sense to punish a killer whale and then ask a trainer to get in the water with him."

Thursday, December 08, 2005

ludic christmas

Wow! its nearly christmas. Like many parents i've been spending a small fortune on christmas presents for the kids.

So which of the presents will make it past the turkey and why? Is it time for a sweap stake?
The wisdom in Buzan's "Brain Child" suggests that electronic games with limited possibilities are likely to fall by the way side while games with a multitude of possibilities including cardboard boxes will capture the imagination.

Here is my opinion of what makes a ludic toy
* useful out of the box
* no need to read the manual to get started... five year olds cant read
* provides options beyond the initial basic use
* is not constrained by its form... A car is always a car but a stick can be a lightsaber etc.
* learining is rewarded

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Thursday, September 15, 2005

4 spans of job design

� 'What resources do I control to accomplish my tasks?'
� 'What measures will be used to evaluate my performance?'
� 'Who do I need to interact with and influence to achieve my goals?'
� 'How much support can I expect when I reach out to others for help?'

coaching - tips from the browns

Great coaches understand the way the minds of high performers work. Each player has his own needs. You can see this most clearly after the players lose a game. Some want the coach to come up to them and talk to them about it. Others want to be left completely alone; they want to deal with the loss in their own heads first.
During my time with the Cleveland Browns, I saw players working with several different coaches. The successful coaches kept the individual needs and interests of each player in mind. The players willingly worked harder for them because they wanted so much to please them.

In my own work, my priority was also to try to get a sense of who each player was. I would begin with an interview, in which I focused on understanding a player's background -- when his talent was first recognized, how he had been steered into pro football. In a second session, I would conduct a more formal assessment to gain a deeper understanding of the player's core personality, motivations, values, needs, problem-solving skills, and interests. Finally, in a third session, we would go through all the results of the assessment tests. It was at that point we talked about who the player was, what really challenged him, what put fire in his belly.

Whatever form the coaching takes -athletic or psychological--a coach needs to focus on just one thing: his players' confidence. In a top pro-football team, all the players are talented and fit. What differentiates the winners is self-confidence. And that kind of confidence is a matter of choice. It isn't something your opponents can take away; it's something you give away when you stop believing that you can win. That's why a good coach never undercuts or demeans his players when a game is going badly. The players need to believe that their skills are better than their opponents'. That's not to say that coaches should ignore failure--far from it. They have to analyze and understand the failure in order to avoid repeating it. But they must not point fingers, because that only makes the players more likely to repeat the mistake.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005


Some quotes on simplicity from www.wired.com

Simplicity is knowing when less is too little and more is too much. simplicity = sanity -- John Maeda, MIT

simplicity is the basis of good design. Style is not about complication and excess, but about being designed around the individual -- Sara Berman, fashion designer

Simplicity involves two major processes: eliminating redundant elements and integrating things to make them flow -- Ken Okuyama, Pininfarina

Simplicity requires focusing on the similarities between entities, not the differences -- Gary Chang, Architect

Simplicity means products of the best quality displaying essential elements, but without additional ornamentation or clutter -- Peggy Fritzsche, President Radiological Society "

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

team learning

Funderstanding - The 5th Discipline: "Team learning--Senge's fourth discipline states that any group's collective IQ will always be much higher than an individual's IQ. The only way to begin building group IQ is to open the channels of communication within the group and start talking to one another."

White Paper: Return on Participation

White Paper: Return on Participation: "when participation is easier, more people participate � increasing the value the Community creates for both the sponsor and the participant. This is the principle that we call Return on Participation. "

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Occam's Razor aka simple design

Occam's Razor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia: "In its simplest form, Occam's Razor states that one should make no more assumptions than needed. When multiple explanations are available for a phenomenon, the simplest version is preferred. A charred tree on the ground could be caused by a landing alien ship or a lightning strike. According to Occam's Razor, the lightning strike is the preferred explanation as it requires the fewest assumptions."

Friday, February 25, 2005

energisers and energy sappers

I have been reading Kent Becks revised version of XP explained and he's replaced the 40 hour week practice with energised work. This tied in with a section of Sir Clive Woodwards biography that really clicked with me. Clive described how members of his original squad behaved negatively in certain circumstances and when he took them to the Royal Marines training camp they were tagged as people you wounldnt go into battle with.

In a high performance environment its vital that you can rely on your team mates. To know that they can be realized upon and that they will contribute to the optimism of the team. Energy sappers drag the team down with negative comments and actions.

managers need to deal with the SAPPERS

teams need to deal with the SAPPERS

individuals need to be mindful of the comments and actions and how they influence the team

energize work don't SAP it!

Monday, January 24, 2005

Measuring Performance

Generally only performance of menial tasks can be measured quantatively.
Performance measurement generally is much more subjective!


At a recent Performance Management Training course I was discussing the difficulty of appraising staff who are on XP team. After walking the trainer through the process and describing how developers give estimates and sign up for stories per iteration, the trainer pointed out that although you dont know who has written each individual item of code but you do know who has been accountable (ie the person who signed up for the story).

It was also noted that while writing 3, 6 or 12 month objectives was difficult due to the changing nature of a project, XPs combination of Iterations, Stories and Planning provided an excellent performance management system.

Futhermore it is my own opinion that setting project level performance objectives where success depends on team performance assists in generating a collaborative environment and contributes to the overall success of the project

Tuesday, January 04, 2005

how to motivate?

A friend said that software is being paid to have fun. Since we spend so much time at work it should be fun and we should encourage each other to celebrate successes.

Ken Blanchard Newsletter: November 2004: "Cheering each other on�Create a collaborative climate where milestones and other measures of improvement are celebrated and people feel acknowledged. Reward and recognition focused on catching people doing things right is one of the best ways to positively reinforce a motivating work environment."