Agile Doesn’t Mean Endless

So Agile development is great for iteratively working closely with customers to develop and refine information systems that are useful to them and the organization.


But even in Agile, there is a beginning and an end to the sprint planning and project management.


Taking Agile to somehow mean endless in terms of adding more and more requirements or scope creep is not what is intended. 


Agile has to be bound by common sense somewhere between what is needed for a minimally viable product (MVP) and what is achievable with the designated resources, objective, and scope. 


Good project managers always have to be sound arbiters and be willing to ask the tough questions and determine if something is truly a requirement or simply a wish list item that is out of scope (but of course, could perhaps make it in for future enhancements).


We need to understand the difference between genuine customer service and irrational project exuberance based on inflated expectations. 


It’s not a dangerous project bubble we want to create that can and will get busted, but rather a successful project that is delivered for our customers that help them do their jobs better, faster, and cheaper.  😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Expect Less / Appreciate More

I thought this was a great saying in the Wall Street Journal book review today.


“Expect Less, Appreciate More.”


Many people in their late 30s and early 40s become disillusioned with life. 


They have been on the treadmill chasing love, fame, and fortune for so long. 


But reality sets in and they don’t get everything they think they have coming to them.


Hence some level of mid-life crisis sets in. 


However by the time people reach their 50s, things seem to shift again, and a happiness or peacefulness sets in. 


People start to expect less and instead appreciate more from the blessings they do have. 


The treadmill becomes a long walk along the beautiful beach or park trail. 


We don’t need to chase success, but rather just see the great lives in so many ways that G-d has already bestowed on us. 


The U-shaped curve of life–where we start all bright-eyes and bushy tailed in our younger years and which descends into disappointment and disillusionment in mid-life, comes up once again to happiness and a fulfillment in our later years. 


Over the course of our lives, we learn that life does not ask, but rather it tells us. 


And if we just listen, we can find meaning and contentment amidst it all. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Jack Of All Trades

I saw this quote hanging on the wall. 


It’s by science fiction writer, Robert Anson Heinlein.

“A human being should be able to:

  • Change a diaper
  • Plan an invasion
  • Butcher a hog
  • Conn [control] a ship
  • Design a building
  • Write a sonnet
  • Balance account
  • Build a wall
  • Set a bone
  • Comfort the dying
  • Take orders
  • Give orders
  • Cooperate
  • Act alone
  • Solve equations
  • Analyze a new problem
  • Pitch manure
  • Program a computer
  • Cook a tasty meal
  • Fight efficiently
  • Die Gallantly

Specialization is for insects.”

It’s sort of fascinating all the things that are expected of people to be able to do. 

And this is a short list–I’m sure you can think of many, many more things that people have to be able to do to survive, to live, to thrive. 

What complex and magnificent creations of G-d we are! 

Not only in terms of our physiology, but also in terms of our cognitive, emotional, social, and spiritual capacities and desires. 

We are flesh and blood, but with a breath of life from the living G-d, and we are capable and can do so much. 

At the same time, we are imperfect, limited, fallible, and mortal. 

– Jack of all trades, and master of none. 

Expect the best, but plan for plenty of mistakes and disasters along the way. 

Live well, and return to the creator a better person. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Reading Your Emails

Surveillance.jpeg

So you know you typically get a message when you log on your computer at work that there is “no expectation of privacy.”


Meaning…you’re on the corporate network and so remember that you can be monitored. 


Well we all read that warning and sort of know it by heart.


But do you really think that someone is watching you.


Well be assured that they are!


Talking to one of my colleagues and friends recently and this is what happened.


He had to fire one of his senior guys. 


And I asked him why?


He said:

“Because he was dead wood.”


I asked what he meant as this was a senior person in the organization that was being let go.


So he said:

“Well I read the last few days of his emails on his account and he was doing absolutely nothing!”


And I was like hmm, that’s amazing that you actually go into his account and read his stuff.


Yeah, I know it’s not really his employees–the guy is at work–but still it’s his email account that he uses, seriously.


So it’s not just some corporate spooks sitting in the bowls of the building in a darkened security operations center behind a lot of cool looking screens monitoring your accounts for suspicious activity.


It’s your management too that can logon and see and read your stuff, whenever.


So this guy that was fired wasn’t just dead wood, he was actually dead meat. 


“Smile you’re on camera” in more ways then one.


So if you decide to write some juicy emails today or save some salacious files on “your” computer or on the network, the expectation surely is that they are being read–you can take that to your privacy bank. 😉


(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

The Beating Of Life’s Drums

So this was some awesome drumming at the Renaissance Festival today.


The beating of the drums was powerful and in a sense mesmerizing. 


It moved the people to sway, to dance, and to feel the power of the moment. 


In life, as they say, we all sort of move to a different beat–our own beat!


Recently, I had the experience to meet someone who was a truly wonderful person, but who came from a very different geographical, religious, and cultural background. 


There just seemed to be so many misunderstandings as a result, and it wasn’t because anyone was being hurtful or a bad person. 


Rather, we were dealing with good people, who just had very different expectations of each other and of life. 


The beat was there–like a heartbeat, but the beat wasn’t in sync, so in the end, everyone decided it best to go their own way in blessing, and find the life that would met their needs and where the beat was going to be in tune for them. 


In a sense, while we are all the same, yet we are all subtly different whether by nature and/or nurture, we come to situations and to each other with different viewpoints, distinct needs, as well as specific ways to satisfy them and grow us. 


Good and bad is beyond the point.  


Two hearts beat as one and that is a miracle when it happens. 


At other times, two hearts beat each other in their differences and maybe in exasperation and finally in sorrow.


The beats are strong and we search for the beats that uplift us, mesh with us, and make us better when we’re together. 😉


(Source Video: Andy Blumenthal)

Creation and Time Management

Embroidery

This is a photo of a beautiful embroidery.

It is called “Creation” by Leonard Nierman. 

Really liked it!

Also, wanted to share something funny I heard from a colleague about time management (as learned at DoD).

It doesn’t have to do with creation being 6 days and on the 7th day, G-d rested and it was good. 

Rather it had to do with being on time (or not) as follows:

“If you’re on time, you’re late.  If you’re 10 minutes early, you’re on time.”

Wish that was standard fare. 😉

(Source Photo: Andy Blumenthal)

Why We Expect Nothing

Why We Expect Nothing

I took this photo of a sign at the Metro station to the Reagan National Airport by Washington, D.C.

“Expect The Unexpected” is the warning.

Don’t be complacent–anything can happen–be vigilant–is the message.

It reminds me of a Seinfeld episode where Jerry jokes about people going to the beach and hiding their wallets in their shoes.

Like, a criminal would never think to check your shoe!

Oh, push the wallet all the way down to the toes, under the tongue, that way the bad guys will never be able to get to it.

Here, it’s more a case of of why don’t we expect the darn expected.

Everybody knows that people “hide” their valuables at the beach in their shoes!

In modern times, we seem blind though to any expectations at all.

– Arab Spring and civil war spreading into Syria and Iraq–after Tunisia, Libya, Yemen, Egypt, and more–who would’ve thought?

– Russia taking over Crimea and agitating in Eastern Ukraine–after their little excursions into Georgia and Chechnya–who would expect that?

– Financial meltdowns and major recession after the dot com and housing bubbles–even my barber was talking about retiring and buying a mansion in the Caribbean–where are these coming from?

The question then is are we really unable to see past our noses or do we just hold steadfast to principle that ignorance is bliss?

Well let’s just test the “expect nothing doctrine” that we seem to all be living by these days and see how you feel about these:

  • North Korea–they would never invade the South again.
  • Iran–sure, they are going to give up their nuclear weapons and their greater Middle Eastern Caliphate ambitions.
  • China–Yeah, we’ll just pin them in the South China Sea and they’ll never get out.
  • The national deficit–it’s not and will never be too big for us to handle because we’re rich.
  • Terrorism in a major American city–not after 9/11 and all that Homeland Security.
  • Environmental catastrophe–we will build a big bubble over ourselves, so no problem.
  • Economic inequity–the top 1% deserves to control 43% of the Nation’s wealth and everyone else just sit down and shut up.
  • The Singularity–how could a machine ever be smarter than us; we’ve got all the technology fully under our control.

Well, if you are blind or dumb enough to believe these, just keep putting your money in your shoes at the beach, because there is no reason to expect that anyone would ever think to look for it there. 😉