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Scrum and Merged Roles

Is it okay to merge scrum team roles, for example can the scrum master also be the product owner. Our experience suggests, merging the roles of the team members in scrum is not a good solution. Besides a dilution of focus, there is a compromise in objectivity.





Existence, Relatedness, Growth (ERG) Theory of Motivation

by Shawn P. Quigley

What is ERG?

Today we will discuss a theory by Clayton P. Alderfer called the ERG Theory of Motivation. No, Alderfer was not a physicist and ERG in this case is not a unit of energy equal to 10-7 joules. Aldefer is an American psychologist known for his further development of Maslow’s hierarchy of needs theory.

In the ERG theory Existence is defined as the physiological and safety needs which are seen as the first two steps of the pyramid which people now use to represent Maslow’s theory. Relatedness equates to the social and external esteem needs such as relationships or involvement with friends, family, and co-workers. This would be the third and fourth rung of the Maslow triangle. Last, but not least, would be Growth which is the internal esteem and self-actualization needs. This is represented by the final two levels in Maslow’s needs theory.

ERG and Motivation

On the first review of the … Continue reading





Emergent Phenomena

Teams must grow; teams cannot be simply appointed and anointed. We may have a designated group that evolves into a team, but this emergent phenomenon takes time. It takes time to discover the strengths and weakness if each member of the group, understanding that ultimately transforms into trust, the backbone value/concept for any successful team. We don’t have to like each other, but if we understand how far we can rely on each other’s capability, then we have begun the trust process.

We know we are on a team when we begin to pull together almost without thinking. In one situation, of us was part of a 13 person group and six of us decided, for our own employment survival, to pull the other seven worthless members along with us. The six of us became a team, brought together by a common goal.

What attributes can portend success? Trust is number one. We would also like to see:

Courtesy Genuine … Continue reading





Patent

How do new ideas occur to us? What is the secret mixture that enables this spark that creates something new?  I have long wondered this, including when watching my son build things that I found interesting, and with no clear sign of what of the source of that idea that became reality.  I saw him build things with Lego blocks, and I watched him build things at an online game called Roblox.  In both instances it made me think, what is the source?

The same is true for my own life, especially my work life.  I have been part of groups that have produced 7 US patents and other intellectual property.  Each time was so different it is difficult to discern an underlying theme that made this creation possible or at least facilitated.  What can be said in each instance to varying degrees, is there was a perceived difficulty or problem, some desired end state that was presently not … Continue reading





Starting a Fire

Do you know how to start a fire?  I am not talking about charcoal briquettes, or the use of combustion material such as  lighter fluid, gasoline, or those special wax products that can be used in your fireplace, no propane or gas used either.

I’m talking about the fires we make in the woods when we go camping. It is okay if you do not know how, in fact my life as had quite a few times when my boy scout experiences have been a benefit to more than my family or those with whom I am camping.  My son and I have made many campfires for cooking out or roasting marsh mellows. Before this, I had camped out without a tent and used the fire for warmth (and to keep away the vermin while we slept).  We have started fires when the material may be damp, but that is not to suggest that it is easy to start a fire … Continue reading





Evolution of the Horseless Carriage

In preparation for our trip to Eindhoven University of Technology to lecture on Configuration Management, we provide a brief excerpt on the evolution of the horseless cariage.

Traditionally new market segments open due to the need to solve a problem. Such problems may be real as in the case of the environmental crisis solved by the automobile or the need may be concocted. New markets and products are rarely developed through the inspiration of a single individual. The automotive market came about through a synergy of the existing body of knowledge and other environmental conditions both in the marketplace and in the nature.

One topic of discussion at the world’s first international urban planning conference in 1898 was the growing health concerns due to horse excretions and the creatures that accompanied them. As the primary means of locomotion for wagons and other forms of transport, horse populations exceeded human population in cities.*

Manufacturers of “horseless carriages” using steam, electric, … Continue reading





My Career Part 2

Career; of Motorcycles and Trucks

This blog continues from my last post describing the first part of my career.  We continue with the tire pressure monitoring system.  In those days, and for many years before that, my preferred form of transport was motorcycle.  I had an accident a few years before taking this job that broke some bones in my wrist (not my first nor last set of broken bones), in fact I got the bike fixed and was riding it through the winter with my right hand in a cast, and with multiple socks on to keep my hand warm.  I should mention that my preferred transportation was motorcycle, at least in part, because it was my only source of transportation.  Eventually, my fourth job before my professional career started, the manager of the U-Haul at which I worked during my undergraduate education came across a wonderful, and old, Toyota station wagon complete with the fake wood siding, … Continue reading





Product Development and Cognitive biases

Project Management and Critical Thinking

There are a good many cognitive biases that can impact discerning the truth or what is valid and true.  Yet knowing what is valid and true is important for any business decision, product development and especially for project managers.  Project managers are often part of decision arm and execution arm of the business objectives.

If you do not think cognitive biases do not impact you, and that there are so many of them, perhaps you should shuffle on over to Wikipedia an do a search list of cognitive biases[i].  There you will find a long list of biases that can get in the way. These biases are so subtle that you may not even be aware that it is affecting how you think. Cognitive biases are shortcuts for us to make decisions.

For example; let’s consider a few of those biases starting with confirmation bias.  Confirmation bias impacts product development and project management … Continue reading





Team

 

I had a brief chat with Tom Cagley  of the famous SPaMcast the other night about teams. We periodically take time to talk about product development topics, and I frequently appear on SPaMCast podcasts.  Last night we talked about teams an whatever magic makes a collection of individuals move to the point of performing better than the sum of he constituent parts.

I have worked professionally for nearly 30 years, and a decade before that as a field worker, fast food worker, and what we self-referred to as a yard dog – the guy who moves trailers, puts hitches on vehicles, cleans up vehicles and much more.  In my 30 years professionally, I can recall being on 3 groups that were what could be referred to as a team.  In fact, the story of one of those teams can be found in the book by Peter Taylor in The Project Manager Who Smiled book.

If there were a perfect recipe for creating a … Continue reading





Planning Poker @PMImetrolina Ballantyne

I recently spoke at a PMI Chapter in Ballantyne event, well, I say spoke at but we really played a game of planning poker. We divided the group up into groups of four (that is how many suits per deck). There were 5 groups, and I supplied the prompt from which all responses were generated.  As expected,the initial prompt produced a wide array of results, from the lowest duration card available, to the maximum and in this case that was the infinity symbol – meaning not estimate able.    This was true not only from table (team at one table) but also from table to table.  After three passes, we could see convergence in each team as assumptions were evoked and questions were answered.

Every time I have used this technique, either in game or real life, I have witnessed this converging result. The team asks questions, more information is uncovered along with a variety of approaches and nuances to the work at … Continue reading





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