Several weeks ago, I was having lunch with Mike Cohn. We were catching up and discussing several topics. At one point, he simply asked “Why do I write the blog? Why am I considering writing a book?” Now this is not the first time someone has asked me this. So I gave my standard truthful answer…to make a difference. Genuinely, he then asked for who – not in a generic way but the specific persona, the specific person I wanted to make a difference for. Immediately a moment…a person came to mind:
After my conference session focused on going from manager to leader, an individual wrote on my feedback form: “Best session I’ve attended by far. Insightful, retrospective, personal, relatable, humorous. Left feeling like I made a new friend and inspired to get back on the management track I fled from 3 years ago. Thank you”
Whether they fled or are still there…I want to support people to learn how to lead networks not heirarchies. I want to help people realize that they might be intentionally or not Dilbert’s pointy-hair boss and encourage them to understand how to lead from the edge. I want leaders to raise the bar.
Now this probably doesn’t seem very eye-opening. Obviously, I’m focused on leadership. Yet, as someone that has taught me so much over the years, he helped me over a hurdle in a single lunch. Focused on leadership was too vast – it was overwhelming. He recommended that I pick 2-3 specific personas to focus on. Imagine that agile practices put to value beyond software ;). So I went back home after lunch and began working:
- Leslie: I’m an experienced Project Manager. I’ve been tasked with converting the team to Agile.
- Edward: I’m a developer, who just became a ScrumMaster. I have no management/leadership experience.
- Amy: I’m a practicing ScrumMaster but not experiencing high performing results.
- David: I’m a practicing ScrumMaster and I want to help the team achieve even more
(note: ScrumMaster could be titled Team Lead, Project Manager, Technical Lead, etc)
(did you see what I did there with LEAD? little things, people. little things 🙂 )
Just simply writing these down helped me. First, there is Leslie. Leslie is not a lost cause as many agilists would paint a picture of. Nor is Leslie destined to struggle. That said, I believe there is a vast amount of solid materials/resources out there for Leslie to start her journey of building Agile foundational knowledge and gaining awareness of being vs doing Agile. There is often a Leslie in my trainings or conference sessions and I love helping but this is not my target focus for a book that I want to share.
Then there is Edward. Often, Edward is an easy person to help. In most cases, everything is new and they are open to learning. Just like with Leslie, when I need to help Edward, I have a long list of books, sites, conferences that I can point them towards. So I’m left again feeling like this is not the area where I can add most value. Instead, it’s when Leslie or Edward’s journey are now at an Amy or David’s stage.
This eliminated a significant number of topics that were whirling in my head of having to be included. This gave me a focus to interview, ask for reviews, etc as I head down this path. Since I’ve been honest about my angst with writing this blog, you can only imagine the angst I feel towards writing a book. The funny thing is between this new focus and the ability to leverage the blog to work through it, the angst is manageable. As for the title, outline, etc…well, I said I made a step. I’ll enjoy this moment for a bit..
How have you leveraged Agile practices to help beyond software?