Archive for ‘Sharing’

2014-02-03

Art in the Family

My awesomely talented nephew has started a blog with which to share his art and other things. Be sure to check it out:

http://insensitivecostume.wordpress.com/

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2013-11-26

Founding a Non-Profit – The Legacy We Leave

I know I have been awfully quiet of late so here is a fantastic bit of sharing from a former colleague. Enjoy!

doriannsworld

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“Everyone must leave something behind when he dies, my grandfather said. A child or a book or a painting or a house or a wall built or a pair of shoes made. Or a garden planted. Something your hand touched some way so your soul has somewhere to go when you die, and when people look at that tree or that flower you planted, you’re there.It doesn’t matter what you do, he said, so long as you change something from the way it was before you touched it into something that’s like you after you take your hands away. The difference between the man who just cuts lawns and a real gardener is in the touching, he said. The lawn-cutter might just as well not have been there at all; the gardener will be there a lifetime.” ~ Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

As I review this year of posts, travelling…

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2013-05-28

Rainy Day Clean up

Several months ago Ed Yourdon purged his Flickr photostream of photos that he felt were not among his favourites. My challenge was I linked several of my posts to Ed’s photos but I did not cache a copy of the photo. As a result I had several broken image links.

Today is a rainy day, the house is clean and no renovations to complete so I decided to clean up the broken links. I also wanted to add a new post so that readers wouldn’t think I had abandoned my blog. So here it is and I am busy with other things. I will post again when something strikes a chord. Cheers.

2012-10-25

Philosophy Rules!

People come, people go, subway trains go flying by me - but I just maintain my Zen trance, and calmly read my book...Philosophy is a great choice when picking a degree and we now have the data to prove it. A friend recently shared a blog post on Facebook that I wanted to highlight. This is an addendum to my earlier post “Humanities is a Good Choice” because graphics can a great way to communicate. The blog post in question leads with a graphic based on the data found here. As I was trying to find a link to the original graphic, I discovered at least 2 other blogs that commented on this data. I get the feeling that we philosophy majors are a bit insecure because we love it when we find evidence supporting our choice. I know I love data like this.

2012-10-25

A Great Summary of Agile Development

For those using agile methodologies, Henrik Kniberg posted a great little video about agile (software) development. He tells the story from the view of a product owner and I think it is a very useful overview for anyone trying to understand how agile all fits together. So take just fifteen minutes out of your day and check it out.

2012-06-03

Power Questions – A Review

The other day a colleague posted on her blog about the book “Power Questions: Build Relationships, Win New Business, and Influence Others“. Within minutes of reading her post, I had bought and started reading the book thanks to the power of electronic delivery. Why did I do that?

In my journey towards being a better father, friend, sibling, person I have read books such as “Crucial Conversations” and “Difficult Conversations“. Both are great books that have helped me stop making assumptions about others, learn to listen and to share more of my own thoughts in a respectful, non-confrontational way. In these books asking questions is essential to build understanding and the examples are all focused on emotionally volatile situations. That is great and isn’t always useful when you are looking to apply that same process outside of interpersonal situations.

In the past few years I have had the privilege of working with a couple of people who know how to ask power questions. Hopefully you know the type, the one who sits quietly listening then they ask the one question that completely re-frames the discussion into new and meaningful ways. And I have always wondering how do I develop that skill?

None of the questions in Power Questions were surprising or revelatory to me. The power of the questions comes from the story that told about how each question changed an interaction and made that interaction more meaningful. It allows you to imagine yourself, or remember yourself, in a conversation that would have benefited from the use of a power question. The story told with each question helps connect you with the question so that when faced with a similar situation you will recall the question.

So why did I buy the book? It is because I want to contribute in meaningful ways to the conversations I participate in both at work, and in life in general. This book is just one more tool that I can use to help me do that and well worth the few hours to read it. It is also a book that I think I will refer back to on a regular basis to help me tune my thinking.

2012-05-28

Collaboration At a Distance

Getting teams to function well when they are not co-located isn’t easy. Some teams figure out what works for them and, in my experience, most don’t do it well. When discussing this with others, there is always agreement that teams can be highly productive when distributed geographically and no one has ever given an example of how to get a team there. That was until I read an article by Johanna Rothman. Johanna posted the article on InfoQ which gives a step by step process that worked for a team as described to her by one of the team members.

Not only does the team make collaboration work across geographical locations but also across four and a half time zones. This is impressive.  For the teams I work with, we only have to contend with North American east coast versus west coast time zone. We do have teams in India however they are co-located and only need to collaborate with the North American Product Owner.

Not all steps will work for all teams however what is described should provide a distributed team some ideas of things to try. There will also be organizational challenges. For example, we use Scrum as our development methodology and the teams would have to work with their managers to ensure that expectations are met if they were to start using kanban. I would hope that this wouldn’t be too big a stumbling point as ultimately we just want quality software delivered at regular intervals.

I would love to hear thoughts from others on this topic, particularly any practices that work for your teams that aren’t in Johanna’s article.

2012-05-01

Sometimes you have to blog

Ed Yourdon's PhotostreamAs I mentioned in my post “New set of Posts“, I use this blog to share articles and blogs I have read that I think my colleagues and others should read. In that same vein, I would like to welcome my colleague Jarett to the world of blogging.

Jarett has started what is most likely going to be a very technical blog call “Silent Excellence“. Jarett leads a group within Sage that promotes the use of Sage Data, or SData, for product integration’s. Colleagues and partners are asking him for all sorts of information and sending out emails and resending emails quickly becomes tedious. To make everyone’s life easier, Jarett is blogging his answers for all to read. Due to the fact that partners as well as colleagues benefit from his information a blog was a good choice.

In the not so distant past, we would be sharing this via a mailing list and the blog is a much better format. The writer can create a much richer experience for the reader and the reader chooses when to consume the information. A win-win.

2012-03-28

Scott Berkun on Creativity

Scott Berkun, an author I greatly admire, posted a video where he talks about creativity and some ‘hacks’ to help you with creativity. This isn’t a “follow these steps and you will be creative” talk. Scott starts out by making the point, creativity is hard.

Scott begins by describing his view of creativity. He sees it as the combination of existing ideas. So there are no new ideas, only new ways of combining previous ideas to create something new. This is a view that I support. I certainly believe that we are the sum of everything we have done in our past though not in a deterministic way. It is non-deterministic in that we always have a choice and that our choices determine who we are.

After giving his view of creativity, Scott describes the three things that influence it, inhibition, environment and persistence. I think Scott has done a great job of distilling all the possible influences to these three items. I was unable to think of anything that couldn’t be categorized using the above.

And finally, Scott describes five hacks which help build creativity in different ways. I won’t give it all away and a summary would be, don’t trust your memory and change things up.

Check out the video as it is an hour well spent. If you don’t agree be sure to let me know and be creative about it.

2012-03-14

Positive Influences

A colleague blogged about National Women’s History Month and celebrates it by reflecting on the women whom have had a positive influence in her life. Celebrating the positive people in our life is something we should do on a regular basis, and if you are like me, something you don’t do enough.

So following on dorianns example, I want to celebrate the top three women in my world. For the record, I am ordering the list by the length of time these women have been in my life. I am not elevating any one of them over another. They are all important to me.

The first is my sister. While we were not particularly close as children, as adults she has helped and supported me whenever I needed it. One of my great pleasures in life is being able to spend time with her.

The second is my daughter. While she isn’t yet a woman, it isn’t that many years away. The joy that she has brought to my life is unbelievable and she has forced me to grow in ways I never expected. Every day my daughter delights and amuses me and I truly look forward to her growing into adulthood.

And third, not to be confused with last, is my partner Wendy. For the first half of your life you live with an idea of what your life partner will be like. For me, it was mostly about someone who loved me to the core. For all my faults and idiosyncrasies, they would be there for me to pick me up when I fall and celebrate my successes. I found that person in Wendy.

So that is my top three. There are so many others, both family and friends, that I have had the honour to share time with in this life. To my top three women and everyone else, male and female, that fill my life with happiness, thank you!

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