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the art of project management

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In February 2001, a group of renegade software engineers gathered at a ski resort in Snowbird, Utah and famously wrote the Agile Manifesto. They called into question the whole traditional Waterfall approach to product development and project management.

The Atlantic recently profiled that gathering in an article called “The Winter Getaway That Turned the Software World Upside Down: How a group of programming rebels started a global movement.” The article gives a fascinating glimpse of the birth of the whole Agile philosophy.

One of the Agile Manifesto coauthors, Jim Highsmith, observed a few years ago:

“Linear-thinking, prescriptive processes and standardized, unvarying practices are no match for today’s volatile product development environments.”

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Deloitte recently reported that 94% of companies say that “agility and collaboration” are critical to their organization’s success, yet only 6% say that are “highly agile” today and 19% describe themselves as “not agile”.

Since 2001, the Agile movement has dramatically impacted not only project management, but organizational design in general. As businesses face increasing pressure from “digital transformation”, many are trying to make a shift in how they operate. But it’s easier said than done.

Here are a couple related cartoons I’ve drawn over the years.

Stage Gate Innovation January 2015

Innovation Funnel March 2011

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huskerboy
2 days ago
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A Practice For When You Find Yourself Annoyed by Other People

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By Leo Babauta

It’s a common thing to be frequently annoyed by other people — added to our regular interactions with family, friends and coworkers are the online habits of people on various social media, and they can all irritate the hell out of us.

What can we do when other people are being annoying, frustrating, inconsiderate, irritating, even aggravating?

Well, assuming we’re not in real danger and we don’t need to take action to protect ourselves … often the best practice is an internal shift rather than trying to change the other person’s behavior.

That suggestion in itself can be frustrating for some — why should we have to change our own behavior when it’s the other person who is being aggravating?

That’s because with one simple shift, you can be happy with any person. But if you try to change every other person, you’re just going to be miserable.

This is illustrated by a metaphor from legendary Buddhist teacher Shantideva:

Where would there be leather enough to cover the entire world? With just the leather of my sandals, it is as if the whole world were covered. Likewise, I am unable to restrain external phenomena, but I shall restrain my own mind. What need is there to restrain anything else?

In this metaphor, imagine that the surface of the Earth were covered in shards of glass or some other sharp surface … you could try to find a covering for the whole world, so that you could walk in comfort … but you’d never be able to do it. Instead, just cover your own feet, and you can walk around just fine.

This is the idea of shifting your own mindset, so that you can deal with irritating people.

Let’s look at a practice to work on that shift.

A Simple Practice

Whenever you find yourself irritated by how someone else is behaving … first notice that your mind starts to create a story of resentment about them. It’s about how they always act in this irritating way, or why do they have to be that way, or why are they so inconsiderate, etc.

This story isn’t helpful. It makes you unhappy, it worsens your relationship with others, it makes you a person you probably don’t want to be.

So the practice is to drop that story, and instead try this:

  1. Recognize that you don’t like the way the person is behaving. You are not happy with your current experience. In this way, you are rejecting this part of reality, rejecting a part of life. Consider opening up to all of life, without rejecting.
  2. Reflect on a river that flows downstream … imagine wishing it would flow upstream. It would just bring you unhappiness to wish that the river were different than it were. Now imagine that this other person is the river. Wishing they were different just brings unhappiness.
  3. See them as they are and open your heart to them, just as they are. See them as a suffering human being, with flaws and habitual ways of acting that can be irritating, but are actually very human. How can you love humanity just as it is?

Open up to all of life, without rejecting. Accept the river as it is. See the suffering human being in front of you, and love them fiercely, as they are.

See how it shifts you. And see how it opens you up to connecting to your fellow human beings, and the vast experience of life, just as it is.

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huskerboy
2 days ago
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This is a Generic LinkedIn Rant

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Let’s be clear.

This is a LinkedIn rant. I have a point of view. It’s a common point of view, but I will present this view in its most controversial light possible as to make it seem like I’m saying something bold and significant. Nevertheless, this is my opinion and I’m incredibly brave for putting it out there for my entire professional network to see.

This single sentence is important.

These are my values. This is a story about how I once quit my job because my boss didn’t share those values. These are my beliefs. This is how those beliefs directly correlate to the radical change our workplace must implement in order to finally solve all of our problems.

This is an alarming statement about the impending death of our industry. Here’s where I get more descriptive to make it seem like I’m making a fascinating point, using personal anecdotes, excessive commas and lofty buzzwords for emphasis, until the final, definitive thought, closes it out, in style. This is a punchy short sentence. For good measure.

In conclusion, innovation, motivation and the future. There, you are now a more enlightened individual for having read this, and I now feel better about myself for having provided that enlightenment to you.

I am a thought leader.

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huskerboy
3 days ago
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The official painted portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama

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Obama Portraits

Obama Portraits

The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery commissions paintings of each outgoing President and First Lady. The Obamas selected a pair of black artists, Kehinde Wiley and Amy Sherald, to paint their portraits, which were unveiled today. From Colossal:

Wiley’s depiction of President Obama features the artist’s signature style of richly-hued background patterns setting a vibrant symbolic environment for the portrait’s subject. President Obama is surrounded by a carefully selected variety of foliage: jasmine, which represents Hawaii; African blue lilies for his father’s Kenyan heritage; and Chicago’s official flower, the chrysanthemum. For Mrs. Obama’s portrait, Sherald engaged her distinctive combination of depicting skin tone in grayscale, offset by the sharply rendered full-color fabric of Mrs. Obama’s floor-length dress.

Even a cursory glance at other Presidential portraits shows how different the Obamas’ portraits are.

Tags: Amy Sherald   art   Barack Obama   Kehinde Wiley   Michelle Obama
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huskerboy
7 days ago
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Mirai Nagasu Is the Third Woman to Do a Triple Axel in the Olympics. Watch All Three.

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Tonya Harding was famously the first American woman to land a triple axel in competition. That moment, which serves as one of the dramatic centerpieces of the movie I, Tonya, took place at the 1991 U.S. figure skating championships. But Harding was never able to pull off her trademark jump in the Olympic Games. Twenty-seven years later, Mirai Nagasu became the first American to accomplish that feat, sticking the landing during the ladies’ free skate of the Pyeongchang Games’ team competition.



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huskerboy
10 days ago
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The history and lifecycle of CRT television sets

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Sony TV Guide.JPG

Adi Robertson at The Verge has a fun, informative history of old cathode ray tube television sets, plus the people who study them, keep them working, and continue to use them. One maybe-surprising constituency: retro gamers.

Old games may look torn or feel laggy on a new TV. That’s in part because LCD screens process an entire frame of an image and then display it, rather than receiving a signal and drawing it right away.

Some games are completely dependent on the display technology. One of the best-known examples is Duck Hunt, which uses Nintendo’s Zapper light gun. When players pull the trigger, the entire screen briefly flashes black, then a white square appears at the “duck’s” location. If the optical sensor detects a quick black-then-white pattern, it’s a hit. The entire Zapper system is coded for a CRT’s super fast refresh rate, and it doesn’t work on new LCD TVs without significant DIY modification.

Old-school arcades, too, need to constantly maintain and replace their old tube monitors. Weirdly, this makes old television sets extremely valuable, even as it’s more and more difficult to have them recycled or thrown away.

“CRTs are essentially the bane of the electronic recycling industry,” says Andrew Orben, director of business development at Tekovery, one of the companies Barcade uses to dispose of irrevocably broken hardware. The tubes contain toxic metals that could leach into a dump site, and 18 states specifically ban sending them to landfills. They’re made of raw materials that are often impossible to sell at a profit, primarily glass that’s mixed with several pounds of lead.

They’re also insanely heavy. Even in 2002, a 40” tube TV would weigh more than 300 pounds. (Bigger TVs used to be rear-projections, remember?)

Tags: TV   video games
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huskerboy
11 days ago
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