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Posts Tagged ‘chris’

Brand Yourself: Get a strategy

Published by Christopher Daily on June 17th, 2011 - in Business Musings, IMO

Have you bought into the whole social media craze? I think I have. Since you are reading this, you can attest that I have started. I have a Facebook page, a Linkedin account, I am on twitter, and I blog. I am a member of more sites than I can remember. As you can tell, I don’t really have a strategy. I blog, and I try to keep everything else up to date. Figuring out how to use technology as it evolves is challenging enough. Add the dynamic that you are trying to figure out how competitors use the technology as they gain experience, and you end up with a complex project. Now most of you are thinking that you are not competing against anyone. If you are one of those doubters, ask someone who has recently been unemployed lately.

Time is money to a business, so time spent on social media that does not provide the projected return is a waste. Yet in our personal life, we often jump into things with out considering the time we spend. We plan everything in business. We construct project plans, 5 year plans, marketing plans, and communication plans.

So, why do we need a digital strategy? A digital strategy combines web, mobile, and internet activities into one consolidated view of communication. A half hearted approach never works. We have learned that throwing money at technology doesn’t work. Many view this as a marketing attempt or campaign. There is another reason we need to have a strategy.  Adaptability.

Your brand takes time to establish and build the recognition you desire.   In addition, you will need to monitor the results of your activities, adapting your strategy to take advantage of what works and modifying what doesn’t.  Reading the definition of Strategy in Wikipedia I found the following: “thus a Strategy will rarely be successful if it shows no adaptability”.  Isn’t success what we are trying to achieve?

Thanks for coming in today.

Chris

 

Today was a big day for Chris Daily’s blog.

Published by Christopher Daily on May 20th, 2011 - in Blog, Business Musings, IMO

Up until today, my blog was hosted at wordpress.com.  Today, I moved it to my own hosted environment.  You will notice a different format, with different capabilities.  Over time, I will be adding additional features to improve the usability.  Thanks for your past and future support.  I hope you enjoy.

Thanks for coming in today.

Chris

What Scrum blogs do I read?

Published by Christopher Daily on May 6th, 2011 - in Scrum, Software Development

Over the last 2 years, I have become a voracious reader thanks, in no small part, to my treadmill and kindle/iPad. I retired my kindle about 10 months ago when the iPad came out. One device to play music and read. You can’t beat it. Enough of the Apple commercial. This morning, as I was doing my usual routine of imitating a gerbil on a habiwheel, I noticed that my list of blogs has grown quite lengthy. There is quite a variety of blogs that I try to go through every morning. The topics range from local news to my pastor to Seth Godin (not necessarily in that order). I thought I would share some of them with you over the course of the next few weeks to get your feedback on what blogs you might recommend.

As most of you know, I have been doing some reading, research, and working with Scrum. I wish I had more chances to use it, but trying to sell clients in the Midwest that thisRugbything is going to work is tough. I consistently read five notable blogs authored by Agile evangilists:

These is not a compete list, but it is a start. As I look at this, there are two blogs that I should add to the list: Scrum Alliance and Scrum.org (this is an RSS feed. I couldn’t find a blog).

Any suggestions on other blogs?

Thanks for coming in today.

Chris

Quote: Some people fear failure. I think you fear success.

Published by Christopher Daily on April 28th, 2011 - in Business Musings, IMO

Don’t you hate it when somebody makes a statement that just cuts right to the core? The quote “Some people fear failure. I think you fear success.” was actually a text message in a thread from my buddy, Jeff Dunn, and myself on April 20, 2011. As soon as I saw Jeff’s text, I immediately asked if I could use it.  It must be it hit so close to home with me.  As with most quotes, this one is applies to me part of the time. I respectfully disagree with Jeff in the context of the conversation thread, but there have been situations which I think I probably resemble that remark. 

As I think about Jeff’s text, I think we all fear failure. Before we go too far, we should probably get a definition for failure.  Wikipedia defines failure as “Failure refers to the state or condition of not meeting a desirable or intended objective, and may be viewed as the opposite of success.”

A couple of things jump out at me when I look at the Wikipedia definition.

  1. You have to intend to do something to be a failure or 
  2. You have to have an outcome that is not desirable.

With all the negative connations of failure, I would suggest failure is not a bad thing. Here’s why:  

  1. To fail you have to take action intending for a specific result.
  2. If you don’t take action, you can’t technically fail.

So, if you never try, you have not failed.   IMO, not trying is worse than failing.  Jeff, in this case, not doing anything is worse than failure.

Thanks for coming in today.
Chris

Being Agile(Scrum) in a PMI world!

Published by Christopher Daily on April 26th, 2011 - in Scrum, Software Development

Last week, my post about certifications (click here) created several spirited comments about the qualifications of Scrum.org.  My rationale for writing this post was I am a little concerned about which certifications, if any, to invest in.  This morning, my news reader picked up the following blog post (click here) from Ken Schwaber, who is credited as one of the founders of Scrum, Scrum.org, and Scrum Alliance.  If you are interested learning more about how the founder Scrum.org views the PMI Agile certification, you should take the time to check this post out.  BTW, I wish I would have thought of Ken’s title for his blog: Telling It Like It Is.  

I agree with Ken’s main points:

  • The manufacturing approach, which strives toward predictability, doesn’t work very well.
  • The proof of how a process or certification work will depend on the actual results.
  • The role of project manager has changed in the purists’ implementation of Scrum into the role of Scrum master.

It will be interesting to see what the PMI certification ultimately helps improve project success.  There will be a lot of debate on this topic. 

Thanks for coming in today.

Chris

Can’t we all just get along? Scrum.org vs. Scrum Alliance vs. PMI.

Published by Christopher Daily on April 20th, 2011 - in Scrum, Software Development

Am I the only one confused by the Scrum certification debate? I am trying to figure out whether my newly received Certified Scrum Master certification is worth the virtual piece of paper it is printed on. Let me summarize what is happening as I understand it. There are two main organizations that promote Scrum:

The Scrum Alliance’s mission is to increase awareness and understanding of Scrum, provide resources to individuals and organizations using Scrum, and promote the iterative improvement necessary to succeed with Scrum.

Scrum.org’s purpose is to improve the profession of software development so that developers love their work and our customers love working with developers.

These two organizations with Scrum and “.org” as their domain extension are arguing about who has the better means of certification. Scrum Alliance currently uses the “You pay to attend a class, take an evaluation that we evaluate but don’t consider your score, and you receive an email with a certification certificate. Scrum.org has two levels for the same Scrum master, with one being for those of us getting started, and one for the practitioner. The same is true for the Product Owner role as well.

The irony in these two organizations is that both organizations were formed with Ken Schwaber as one of the founding members. This is pertinent in that Ken is considered to be one of the founders of Scrum. Did Ken decide to take his ball and go home, or was he driven out of Scrum Alliance? Why did he leave? Was it really about the self-serving motives of those in Scrum Alliance driving Ken out? Who knows? How do we figure out which is best? Should we pursue both organizations?

I don’t know how much time and energy I want to invest in this process. I follow both Mike Cohn and Ken Schwaber’s blog. I have spent good money buying Mike’s books for my Kindle. I paid for my Ripple Rock CSM training personally, only to find out afterwards that there is another certification. Don’t get me wrong, I got a lot out of the training, which was delivered by Bob Sarni (who seems to be able to teach not only the principals but mixes in real world experiences as well.)

And if I wasn’t confused enough, I heard that the Project Management Institute (PMI) is going to have an Agile certification. By the time you get done spending all the money required for all the certs, you might have something north of $6k. My friend, Joey Cruz (at least he was last time I checked), reminds me every 5 years or so that certs don’t demonstrate that you are accomplished for that skill, but that you can take a test.

Which test you take is the question. Probably the more important question is why can’t we have one organization? The cost of becoming certified is expensive, especially if you are paying yourself.  Can’t we all get along, or does everybody have to create their own certification because every other cert is inferior? I am curious what the other certifiable people are going to do?  Please enter a comment on this blog letting me know which path you are going to pursue.

Thanks for coming in today.
Chris

Software Development Lifecycle, Fahgettaboutdit! Really????

Published by Christopher Daily on April 18th, 2011 - in Software Development

I made the following comments in response to an article about SDLC’s.  Here is the link: 

http://drdobbs.com/blogs/architecture-and-design/229401132

 Here is a summary of my comments:

I agree, sort of…………

Comment by Cndaily Apr 18, 2011, 13:58 PM EDT

 

I like your use of Amazon as a reference source. I did the same with my post, http://wp.me/p17Gqw-1X, which adds credibility to a position.

I agreed with your post for the most part until I got to the bottom. I think most of us would agree that documentation, rules, and process are not things on our Christmas list. What I don’t agree with is your ascertion that you can just hire passionate bright specialists and your problems will be solved. IMO, a reasonable level of documentation around an SDLC is needed for a development organization of about 10 or more. That need is usually generated by clients, new employees, and managers.

Your thoughts?

Thank god for unanswered prayers.

Published by Christopher Daily on April 18th, 2011 - in Business Musings, IMO

A picture out of my high school yearbook.Ok, so I stole the title of this post from a Garth Brooks song. While writing my obituary post last week, I spent some time reflecting on my life. Anyone reflecting on their life will come up with list of things they had wanted in their life. They may have even prayed for some of those to come true. I have a few of them that have stuck with me. The one that has stuck in my mind over the years was getting cut from my high school basketball team my senior year. At the time, I was devastated. I grew up in Indiana listening to the cleaning lady sing the IU fight song twice a week. I played for a high school coach who thought he was Bobby Knight.

I had done everything they had asked, and then some. Before the start of my senior year, I even took time off from a paying summer job to work free gratis at the coaches summer camp. I attended every “voluntary” workout. I would practice shooting late in the evening under the spotlights at home.

Yet, when it came time to have the final cut, I wasn’t on the list. I didn’t have the talent nor the right experiences. at first, I was devastated. I had always believed that, with hard work you could overcome anything. To that point, my philosophy had worked. Looking back, next to my three children and my wife, not making the team was the best thing that could have happened to me. Why:

  1. I got a chance to spend some time with my buddies Dale and Brian that I wouldn’t have gotten if I was on the team.
  2. I came to realize that I was not going to play collegiately. I was just a hard worker, not a talented athlete.
  3. I realized getting an education became more important than ever.
  4. I came to realize that even though I had worked hard, it wasn’t good enough.
  5. No matter how good I thought I was, a higher authority might think otherwise. Leave nothing to chance.
  6. My basketball game improved when I wasn’t fitting into a pre-defined role on a team by playing pickup games at the park or in University Gym at Ball State.
  7. I realized there are a bunch of jobs that I did not want to do the rest of my life. Some of them included shoveling pig manure, washing pots and pans, and saying “Welcome to Arby’s”.
  8. When life seems to not be going the way you want, you have to remember to keep breathing.

The song reference is campy. I admit it. You get my point though. I survived what I thought was a humiliating experience. I did so with the help of a couple of good friends and my parents. Unfulfilled wishes are not always as bad as they seem, but instead are opportunities for something better to happen.

I will carry this forward in my next post about Dave Dravechy.
Thanks for coming in today.
Chris

Part 2: Win the Engagement!

Published by Christopher Daily on April 14th, 2011 - in Business Musings, IMO

Thinking more about my Win the Engagement post, I came up with a couple of quick thoughts:

This applies to every aspect of business. Think about Amazon and how they win the engagement with the media business. My oldest son is into music. He likes obscure (to me) artist that you can’t find at just any music store. He likes vinyl 7 inch records as well. Good luck walking into a Target or BestBuy to find those. Instead, I logon to my Amazon account, and go down his prioritized wish list selecting items until I have reached my limit. The only way Amazon could make it any easier is for them to perform a Vulcan Mind Meld on my son, and ship the presents to my house. Another example is Apple’s iTunes Store. You point and click at software, music, or movies, and it updates your favorite i-device.

This is more critical than ever in today’s economy. Over the last few years, the amount of discretionary dollars we have to spend has declined. A lot of people would respond with “What are discretionary dollars? Does anybody have them?” So as folks make purchasing decisions, they look for the best possible bargain for the amount of money they can afford to spend.

The companies that continue to flourish are the ones that embrace this philosophy as part of their DNA. Again, Amazon, Apple, etc. Pressure from global competitors with lower cost structures dictates we Win the Engagement.

Thanks for coming in today.

Chris

Win the engagement!

Published by Christopher Daily on April 13th, 2011 - in Business Musings, IMO

There are tons of how-to books on Amazon and thousands of websites that will outline how to run a successful consulting practice. Ok, maybe not tons, but there 1,360 books in the Kindle Store alone. The books range from starting a consulting firm, thinking like a consultant, implementing like a consultant, and executing like a consultant. You can find out how to triple your consulting income or create a million dollar consulting business. There are secrets, demons and bibles. With that many books, the authors obviously were creative in the titles chose in order to attract buyers.

Let me save you the time and money of buying even one of those books. I believe they could all be summarized by this one phrase: Win the Engagement! This statement was uttered by Josh Lindemann in a conversation about how we continue to build on our successes at Ambassador Solutions. Great line, but how do you do this?

When a client requires an expert, this type of an engagement should be fairly straight forward. The client should believe they have gotten an expert who provides more value than what the client is paying. This seems like common sense, yet I am continually amazed at how this is not the case. The important concept is “client shoud believe”. We, as consumers, only purchase products which we believe we will get more value than the cost of the product. Businesses are not any different. As a firm providing “experts”, our course should be straight forward. We should hire the best possible candidate we can for the hourly rate, and we will win the engagement. If it were that easy though, everyone would be running consulting firms. Resumes don’t always tell you enMost peoplewould view the challenge is finding the truly best person for the job.

Winning the engagement in a custom development project is far more difficult. Many projects are fixed bid, and are under estimated.  Clients may think they know what they want, but they often change their mind when they actually see it.  Rare are the delivered solutions that provide the client a better Return On Investment than the original. Anyone who has been in the consulting or software business for a while has participated in projects that, in hindsight, it would have been better off losing. Most of the time, the client has to listen to the whining about how much money is being spent or lost. IMO, you win the engagement by living up to your commitments, and doing so in a professional manner. 

You must Win the Engagement!!!!!!!!

Thanks for coming in today.
Regards,
Chris

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