The real America just stood up

Posted by Robert Merrill on August 29, 2009 under uFunctional Values | Be the First to Comment

Doug Shimp of 3 Back LLC trained me as a Certified ScrumMaster early in 2009. It was some of the best training I’ve ever had.

He’s still training people to be Certified ScrumMasters. But that’s not news.

He’s training people in “Hard Times Detroit” to be Certified ScrumMasters at cost—$249 a pop. That’s news. Read more of this article »

Everything looks like a failure in the middle

Posted by Robert Merrill on August 27, 2009 under Change Leadership, Client case studies | 2 Comments to Read

I’m involved in one client project right now where no one’s happy.

My relationship with this client is long-term and (fortunately) transcends this particular project. I was pointed at it last Spring to help get it back on the rails. The project manager and I came up with a problem frame—a container of the right size and shape to fit all of the seemingly random questions we were being asked—and identified several parallel work streams to make progress on all fronts.

We’re working cross-functionally within the organization, so there are relationships to be established and the concerns of bosses’ bosses to be discovered, sometimes the hard way. We’re working with new outside vendors, so there are negotiations and promises and documents and lawyers to review it all.

It’s really a research project, disguised as an information systems project. I used to be a research scientist, so I’m familiar with the feeling of pursuing a line of research that I know will pay off. But that’s not the client culture, and I understand that.

But the sponsor is frustrated. The team is frustrated. I’m frustrated.

So it was with relief that I read about Kanter’s Law: Change is Hardest in the Middle. Rosabeth Moss Kanter, a named-chair professor at the Harvard Business School, puts it like this; “Everyone loves inspiring beginnings and happy endings; it is just the middles that involve hard work.” Read more of this article »