Category: Uncategorized

Get Action

I have three heroes; Cato the Younger, Marcus Aurelius and Theodore Roosevelt.

The first two relate to my following of Stoicism; Cato for his unshakeable determination in the toughest of circumstances and Marcus for his wisdom and consideration of ‘learning have to live’ explored in The Meditations.

Theodore Roosevelt has some stoic traits but my admiration for him stems more for his energy, enthusiasm and action-orientation.

The stories of Teddy’s passion for ‘getting things done’ are numerous. In the sixty years of his life he embodied a light-bulb burning bright, ceaseless in the quest to move his projects forwards. If you want to learn more then I recommend the Presidential podcast episode on Teddy Roosevelt.

‘Get Action’ was a phrase passed on to him by his father as a simple maxim to remind him to do things, to never be the spectator, always be the actor…

Despite being less famous than the ‘Man In the Arena’ speech / quotation ‘Get Action’ really brings to life one of the most important concepts in my life: doing something beats doing nothing. Don’t wait for the perfect moment to start something, don’t strive for the fully detailed project plan before starting – get action and take action.

Scrum Terminology

This is an interesting idea from Michael Küsters regarding name changes for Scrum framework terminology and sessions. There’s a good debate within the comments around whether simplification changes anything and whether the content would be impacted by the name.

Personally I’d find this useful in helping describe how team sessions differ to help drive value for those new to Scrum or a specific project. It’s a simple way of helping frame the overall concept of ‘iteration’ for those trying to get to grips with how Scrum works within Agile:

Refinement => Understanding

Planning => Goal & Action

CREATE – DELIVER – DO

Daily => Sync & Adjust

CREATE – DELIVER – DO

Review => Feedback & Forward

Retrospective => Improvement

What’s the one thing?

I was going through some old Tim Ferriss Podcasts yesterday and stumbled on Gary Keller.

I’ve got no great interest in US real estate but it was the first time i’d heard of his book The One Thing. I’m now ploughing through it on Audible and even though it’s a touch simplistic I do like the main thrust of the book…

  1. Prioritisation helps – not everything on your to do list has equal value
  2. Being busy doesn’t mean you’re adding value
  3. Big goals and big thinking start somewhere

It’s that final point which really strikes a chord with me and leads to the key wisdom of the book:

“What’s the one thing I can do right now which will such that by doing it everything else will become easier or unnecessary”

There’s a number of examples:

  1. If I want to become a pilot then the one thing I can do right now is sign-up for flying lessons
  2. If I want to ensure I have a good day with my partner, give her a kiss and hug first thing in the morning
  3. If I want to run a 10k then I need to buy a pair of trainers that will allow me to train for a 10k
  4. A large, macro goal is the product of an accumulation of smaller micro goals – as every Project Manager knows

I’d recommend the book, and certainly the principle. Adding value through every action – professional or personal – is something we should be striving for.

London retains crown as Europe’s technology hub

I voted against Brexit and still would today if offered the choice. However this news fills me with hope that the UK and London specifically can continue to thrive despite Brexit, and if coupled with the right Govt support can exploit a more progressive environment for tech businesses.

Simply put, we need more digitally and tech savvy people working in our country to drive new value opportunities.

London retains crown as Europe’s technology hub
— Read on www-cityam-com.cdn.ampproject.org/c/s/www.cityam.com/london-retains-crown-as-europes-technology-hub/

MVP vs. MMP

Once a year I make a point of re-reading the Dummies guide to Agile Project Management. The audio book is a nice companion to bring me back to some of the core Agile principles.

Today I was reminded of the concept of Minimum Marketable Product (MMP). If you’ve spent any time in a business doing or trying to run Agile projects you will have heard MVP bandied about at least twenty times a week. The MVP being seen as the first release and a clear milestone for the project. Both those points are true, but all too frequently the MVP is seen as the point where the product can really be promoted as something users get value from. That’s not true – the important point is the Minimum Marketable Product (MMP), which might not arrive until Release two or three of your product.

The MVP provides a means by which user feedback, analytics and data can be collected to then refine the product towards creating the MMP. The MMP is the point at which you have functionality in place to actually deliver a changed experience and value for the user and wider stakeholders.

By all means talk internally about your MVP, but be careful about promoting externally until you’ve got your MMP, that’s the point of value for creation.

Cho Dan Bo

Last month my son and I passed our latest Tang Soo Do grading. We’ve been training with CKMA for the past four years and have now progressed to ‘Cho Dan Bo’ or ‘preparing for Black Belt’. If you’d have told me four years ago that I would be on the cusp of becoming a black belt in a martial art I wouldn’t have believed you. I’d never had any inclination or interest in martial arts and had no experience. It was only when seeking to find a hobby for my son that I went along with him and decided to take part myself.

For those that don’t know, Tang Soo Do is essentially Korean karate and a close cousin of Tae Kwon Do. One of the parts of martial arts I wasn’t familiar before beginning my training is the ‘forms’ or ‘hyung’. These are patterns and groups of movements and techniques which improve your stances, flexibility and ability to combine punches, kicks, strikes and blocks.

To pass our Cho Dan Bo grading we had to perform around ten forms, including two forms we were grading on for the first time.

Sip Soo:

and Naihnachi Sam Dan

These guys are very good, particularly the guy in the first video. The power and emphasis on each move is something I’m working on but as you go higher up the grades that always improves.

Tang soo!

It’s Not Just a Phase

Jonathan Haidt has written a long-read for The Atlantic on how social media has fundamentally impacted US society.

Obviously US focused, it nevertheless draws parallels with the current state of public discourse in the UK. The central point being that social media has changed the way we interact with issues and with each other – essentially with more anger and less understanding. A result of which is our institutions being damaged by this shift in engagement and removal of mass media gatekeeping helping to disintegrate universal norms. In short, ‘truth cannot achieve widespread adherence’ because we no longer have truly shared stories throughout societ.

It’s a bleak read, but ends with some ideas for how the situation can be, at least partially, improved.

I’m not an active social media broadcaster, insofar as not actively posting on any social network bar a few Linkedin posts. I tend to consume on social media, particularly on Twitter where I can lose hours sitting infront of the firehose. It shapes and hardens my views of issues, and yes I do find myself postioned knowingly within a certain tribe on many issues. Haidt talks at length at how the ‘Share’ or ‘Retweet’ has effectively amplified anger – anger is more viral – and narrowed the consumption of opposing views. Its easy to see the result of that within the Jan 6th insurrection and the continued questioning of the 2020 election in the US.

The genie is out of the bottle; divisive campaigns like the Brexit referendum, left / right splits over pandemic policy and refusal to call a fact a fact are not going away. As we look towards a UK general election and potentially a Trump contested US Presidential election in two years time, social media will be even angrier, even more divisive and even more opinionated than ever. I remember the novelty and semmingly innocent days of Twitter and Facebook when you were telling the world what you were doing, not necessarily what you were thinking. We now not only say what we’re thinking, we amplify what our tribes are group-thinking without adding any real value or commentary.

Primitive Energy Storage

Energy generation and storage strategy are clearly a hot topic given the global circumstances. Here in the UK we’ve gone some way to solving the renewable generation problem – but we’re a long way from solving the storage problem. In other words when the wind doesn’t blow we haven’t stored enough energy to fill the gap before the wind picks up – hence the share of hydrocarbons required goes up.

CNN explored an interesting project which is looking at how to create storage in a very basic form; effectively storing the gravitational potential of an object. That can be done either above ground, or below ground (mine shafts).

The next few years is going to see a transformation in generation and storage capability; something almost laughably simple was great to see within the mix of hyper-complex emerging technologies in this field.