Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Dedicated to the late great Dennis Potter, half of this post is published in this blog (call it the left side of my brain), while the other is published in the competing blog (right side, etc.)

The two posts are independent, but inseparable.
The Corpus-Colosom part is for the you to exercise (or not).

Before I begin, I want to say something.

In a company I worked a longlong timeago, every employee (all over the world, thousands…) received one day a brown envelope with a book and a small handwritten dedication by the VP. The book was "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" by Dr. Seouss

I remember the strange looks on the faces of most of my colleagues, (one that had the air of “we would prefer a bonus…”), and I also remember my thoughts, it was clear to me this guy tries to speak American biz-lang to Israelis, that he wants us to identify with the company and this is a sincere ‘technique’ to do that.

Now looking back, I have a different view of what really happened.

  • One evening, this guy read a book to his kid.
  • A chord struck, he felt – hey! my company is an adventure, just like this book!, its future is open!, this book is about my company!
  • Than a crazy thought emerged: I have thousands of mates on this journey, though I don’t know most of them they are what this is about, they share my vision, I have to show them this book, they will understand!
  • And that’s what he did.
But he lost most of us…
(I still don’t like the book, but now I appreciate his courage)

I don’t know what the moral of the story is, but I know what I’d like to say.
  • In the last few months I’ve been having life changing experiences I want to share.
  • Lots of you don’t know me, of those who do, some of you don’t, of the rest, lots of you won’t understand what the heck I’m talkingbout.
  • If this is the case, feel free to ignore this post. (as you always are :-)

So now, that I got this out of the way, I can start.

A vision is a motion, if we talk Agile, a vision is an everchanging beast that changes form and direction.

I had the fortune once in my life to be a friend and a coworker of a visionary, someone I would have followed blindly to the end of the world and beyond, but I am starting to realize I totally misunderstood his role and the way he perceived it.

He was no visionary, he was ‘merely’ a focal point to the team’s energy, he would come up with a grain of an idea (or would embrace one of ours) and let us toy with it, let us lead it to where it rolls.

I don’t know if he ever realized that’s what he does, he was just thankful enough we played on the same team.

His CV doesn’t mention anything about this, but he breaths agility like a fish that swims in water, not realizing the name of this stuff, or even that there is something else.

Though I didn’t speak to him in ages, he is still my best friend and zen-master, the one who taught me everything I know.

Recently, I have a feeling of a double-déjà-vu.
  • I met his twin, only this guy knows formally what ‘Agile’ means, since he comes from that methodology/ state-of-mind, whatever.
  • I was (and still am) lucky enough to feel the sensation myself, to form a team (see my last post), and experience the sensation of taking responsibility for a group, lead it without knowing where it is going, play with it, see it take a form that is beyond the individuals in it but that consists of every participant and her (there are more she than he there :-) interactions with the rest.
Perhaps I’ll talk about the first point another time, I’d like to keep you up to date about the second.

So where were we?

As I said last time, our weekly meetings are ‘managed’ by me, and I wanted to see what happens if I give them to someone else. Last time we chatted at a coffee after the meeting, and I asked a fellow team-member if she wants a challenge, she jumped right in with great joy and no hesitation…

Not only that, she was stupid enough to pick a subject I knew is hard and frustrating, we worked only with a pencil up to now, and she picked colors as a subject. I don’t understand the first thing about colors, and I’ve been drawing for decades (wow… I really have been…)

And not only that, she didn’t even start to realize what a big responsibility it is, I mean, we talked a bit, she was happy to get any advice, but took it over-easy.

It is so frickin hard to let go, man, I’m tellin ya, till you built the team’s confidence, you invest your soul in it, and you give it to someone who will surely break it.

And on top of all this, she had our meeting at the museum of modern art, what’s there to draw?! Where are all the realistic sculptures with the fine details whose soul we wanna capture?

At the last minute I managed to save the new-comers, I thought that veteran members can withstand a session like this, so I left them at the hall of the entrance, gave her my phone number (for when she will need me, for sure she will need me!), an went to another floor with the new ones.

Such a great team of newcomers it was, but so fragile, I was grateful I didn’t leave them with her.

And you know what happened, right?

It was THE AWSOMET meeting we had so far!

This girl was rockin! The team was flying! You could light up all of Paris with the electricity the team generated (the color session was held in the electricity hall by Duffy)

I’m so ashamed of my doubts; I know I could and should have let her have the new-comers…

I will publish some of the work we did (I had the time to participate a bit) at my other blog, but I am not talking at all about the product.

The PROCESS was awesome! The exchange and the teamwork, she made everyone work with each other, and to start from the least expected.
At the end (demo?), some members didn't know who did what...

You know the funny part? at the coffee we had after the meeting, (where unfortunately she couldn’t come) they gave her complete ownership of the meeting, but they gave me complete ownership as well!

And the really funny part? I proudly accepted it!

Thank you Mari, Thanks A. Thanks K.

And a HUGE thanks to aaaall the team members (some of the things you said or wrote me almost made me cry…), I wish to god (wherever she may be) none of you reads this post…

Till nextime!

(BTW, I still took the last ten minutes of the meeting to do my crazy sh**t, otherwise I wouldn’t have been…)

The Scrum’em bear.

1 comment:

  1. Sigh, all comments are deleted when you migrate a blog...
    Try to imagine what was written here, will ya?