Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Starting a New Business

October 17, 2019

I started A Faster Horse in March of 2018. At first, we spent a year and a half experimenting with products. Finally we returned to our roots in experience design for the web with the establishment of the company as a consultancy.

Our first client was experiencing digital disruption. Before the Uber of their industry could come along and put an end to them, they awoke to their own stagnancy. They hired us, experience design experts, to help them figure out the best way to talk about offerings they are calculated would bring them roaring into the future: a combination of the industrial internet of things and insurance. With us they discovered that the disruption they were experiencing was just the beginning. They uncovered the fact that climate is very important to their business in a way that will be critical to their survival as a company (never mind as a species.)

Another client is more directly involved in climate issues, focused on bringing local plants to gardens and landscapes. We helped them hone their brand and take their message to a broader audience.

For both clients we conduct workshops, bringing stakeholders together with conversation and interaction and getting not just “alignment,” but a shared understanding. We help with enablement guides so that our workshop and research work stay alive and evolving, polished through use in the field.

It’s an exciting moment for us. We hope you’ll join us. We’d love to help you with your business.

.@ gez_smith Live Notes #sgcal Servant Leadership

April 10, 2017

At the Scrum Gathering San Diego 2017, found this session with Gez Smith to be incredibly interesting. He surfaced some interesting tools, such as the annoyance we have with people pointing out areas we ourselves need to work on. I want to explore more the idea I’ve run into over my career of ridding a team or company of someone whom people think are not performing and will never perform. The idea of “performance” as if the person was a machine is also of great interest of me. After all, that is the root of Taylorism, human as a flesh-and-blood actor in the machine-driven factory. Dispensable if replaced with robots. Coming out of this session, I read a lot more Servant Leadership books.

He traced the history of leadership thought in academia. Talked about John Kotter, J.K. Greenleaf.

Larry Spears, Ten characteristics list.

1. Listening

  1. Listening
  2. Empathy
  3. Healing
  4. Awareness
  5. Persuasion
  6. Conceptualization
  7. Foresight
  8. Stewardship
  9. Commitment to the growth of people
  10. Building community

Healing from previous projects is important.

Example of McKinsey looking for your next job.

Exercise: one thing to do to build more community – and what’s in your way?

Vocation: one wants to serve.

No Time to Lose, Pema Chodron

Used example of “trust them to get the job done” from Agile Manifesto and how trust works.

If badness can’t sit within you, then it is the system. Don’t waste your life staying in a broken system.

The thing that annoys you about someone else is the thing you dislike most about yourself.

What super power am I being trained in now? When someone annoys you, use it to work on yourself.

The value of compliments. If you compliment people, they’ll be more open. Ran a compliment exercise. Tested how it felt to compliment.

In traditional pyramid hierarchy causes energy to flow up.

“Great Man” theory

#sgcal Intro and Keynote by .@jeffsutherland – live notes – Scaling Scrum

April 10, 2017

If you are here, Dana and I have a session Wednesday at 1pm! “Growing by Sharing: Transitioning a Group to a Self-directed model” — a workshop.

Productivity is sometimes shunned by Agilists. 

His biggest issue is 61% of Agile teams aren’t delivering. 

Big companies are moving Scrum out of IT. So have to make implementation conversations everywhere.

Moore’s Law and exponential increase.

iRobot incubated on Scrum

Intel: what we’ve learned is nothing scales. Only fractal things scale. The only things that scale is the internet and Scrum.

Stephen Daukas, Simplivity. 

Jeff is going into detail on how to scale. 

Keep teams small.

Be fractal.

Jeff’s company does not allow 9 people. Max is five at his company. Scrum of Scrums instead. 

Have an Executive Action team that helps with impediments.

Hold meta Scrums. Keep it fractal.

(This reminds me of holocracy somewhat in the distribution.)

Saab is doing this. 3m doing. Started in health. Now their HR team is doing it.

Maersk was able to reduce costs with Scrum. Shipping part of company invited in. Referenced moneyball, book and movie. They crunched data and figured out those who got to first base got runs. BoSox did that and won series.

GE assessment: developers were doing things no one wanted.

If you know the efficiency number, raising that number is best thing to get Scrum to scale.

Everything in Scrum is data-driven. And this helps scaling.

Case Studies

He is consulting on changing the Toyota Way.  Getting rid of requirements. 

BMW: there will not be a single non-Scrum person at the company.

Microsoft after 10 years can now deploy every day.

Tesla – increasing market cap. Only shipping 50k a year.

BMW realizing they have to compete on this.

Agile is a different operating system. Have to change your business API and procedure calls.

Shu Ha Ri

Skype: because of the rat nest of dependencies, took 7 months to change a line of code.

To fix, implement Scrum: Find biggest problem and fix that.

Spotify. Why are projects late if all stories are early, they asked. Then they realized it was the managers.

Morning Star, food company. 

If Jeff was asked in 1993, he never would have guessed this many people. So in another 20? No idea, but think it will be awesome!

#sgcal Live notes on Dynamic reteaming .@heidihelfand

April 10, 2017

Along my path of exploration on leadership and teams, I attended this awesome talk by Heidi Helmand at the San Diego Scrum Gathering in 2017. These are raw notes. My collaborator at this conference, Dana Pylaveva, taught me a tremendous amount about presenting and showing up to be part of the team. She attended this talk and brought the lessons back to the company she was at at the time where they rolled out this technique of allowing employees to assign themselves to work as an workshop and exercise. The exercise pointed out challenges in management and leadership and incredible strengths and generosity amongst team members and workers.


People misinterpret keep your teams stable with keep your teams the same. This is about dealing with the reality if changing teams.

Told her story. Was doing interaction design. Was pulled off and put on an innovation in isolation team. Worked on gotomeeting as a result.

Innovation by isolation pattern.

Team put off to side, disrupt status quo.

Examples of Citrix and grasshopper. Secure docs.

Reteaming brings freedom (from process).

Does research, watches for patterns.

This is about PEOPLE. Issue she had with keynote was the human side. This is our lives. Don’t want to be a feature factory.

Stagnation is real. So bringing in new people can stop that. Always learn new, feel reenergized.

@ppfolio – had a cake baked for them by customers. Building right values continuously.

Read the emotional feed, but don’t avoid conflict.

Geek joy – if you see this pattern, don’t break it up.

How companies form teams and how people get on teams. Interesting when teams self-select.

Book: Creating Great Teams (Sandy Mamoli ET)

Spotify: infrastructure tribe, some missions of teams were overlapping, so using self-selection, re-org’d

Put boards up and could put your avatar on team you wanted.

Unruly (company in London) does it with a survey.

Retrospectives are key.

Hunter, where mob programming invented. Team members negotiate change.

Mobbing is working on one computer and coding as a group.

Companies having Disappearances of team members because of re-prioritization done on management level.

“A leaders job is to drive fear and ambiguity out of the room.” — Denning

Not just about velocity.

Trademe, a NZ company.

Reteaming for sustainability.

Reteaming to combat knowledge silos. (me: Joy, inc. talks a lot abt this)

Cloud Foundry does a lot of deliberate reteaming to create empathy, sustainability, outsmarts mythical man month.

Question is not “How can he get 2 times faster work. It’s about the team and how can you share knowledge.

At Menlo get to re-roll and change. High-tech anthropologists.

Procore Tech: changing roles in team.

Geek Joy, Mike Hill, but sometimes get sick of teammates.
“Reteaming is inevitable. Might as well get good at it.”

She used to be the pair police, but not any more. Use often, but be open to mob or other forms.

Book: Great Business Teams

Making team contracts. Use Alyssa Adkins Journey Lines with teams to get to know each other.

Equalize local and remote. Get to know each other! Use video for non-collocated teams.