And he said:

Do not think about something that does not deserve thinking about.

Never stop learning

A few decades ago, one had to travel from a country to another, to read a book or to learn from a master. A few years ago, we had to compete to enter good universities and to find a bit of kowledge. Today, you just had to click somewhere on your screen and find every course you like or you need! After years of growing with w3schools, the first surprise to me was MIT OpenCourseWare, a free mine of great knowledge! Then I found iTunes U, Although it was dedicated to Apple world. And finaly Coursera arrived. The place where I feel at home and really satisfied! And it is not the end! There is more

In the world of Farsiweb, Web School was an initiator, but it stopped at the beginning. Darsnameh is another good try. An email-based learning system with many useful courses. But it is doesn’t define itself as a university. And here is where another great site has begun. Maktabkhooneh provide you courses from the most high ranked universities of Iran.  Now, it is just a repository of course materials. But I have this dream to see it as a real e-learning system, just like the Coursera.

“Be connected, and you will know”. S78,w2

And this is what I picked up for me for now: Gamification, by Kevin Werbach.

“Go, and gamify it. That is your destiny”. G41,w4

Change Yourself, Change the World

Once upon a time, not too long ago (maybe two months), I participated in a two day course named Management 3.0 by great Jurgen. The last presentation was about change management. It really touched my mind! So that I promised myself to  stop complaining and to try to become a change agent.

I loved my workplace and team and our products, but I was not happy with my bosses decisions. They were too busy to come and see our progress in making a great agile development team, and to talk about the products and the future of the team and company. All they were asking was about the profit and financial reports, in the bimestrial closed-door board meetings, which I had no way to attend.

But it had to change! I started to write 3 separate documents, pointing to the problems in 3 major categories of our managerial issues:

  • Organization and structure of the company and the board: We need to have a strong vision for the company, with an extended board which have enough time to come and see the company closely, and not only from financial point-of-view, but also with some understanding of the nature of our innovative products and services.
  • Customer relationship and participation: We should play as a team together with customer, beyond the contracts and formal correspondence.
  • Internal and daily issues: Internal transparency in decision making process, considering agility and innovation (beyond bureaucracy and hierarchy), gathering feedback from the personnel, emphasizing and investing on the Advancement of knowledge and technology, giving autonomy to the teams and staff and asking for responsibility instead, commitment to the announced decisions, transparent evaluation mechanism, and creating a joyful and creative workplace.

I was so satisfied about my documents. I sent them to the board and CEO, and I was waiting for a feedback from senior management…

… and it arrived! In couple of days, I got a clear message from the board: Stop your mission in the company right now, and hand over your duties and works to the other project manager of the company, tomorrow.

Somehow, my change mission was successful: the board understood that there is a problem within the company, and also the need to change. Although the change was at the opposite direction I suggested! They decided to remove the team’s autonomy completely,  to throw away Scrum, and to reinforce the hierarchy, bureaucracy, and old command-and-control style project management instead.

Well done! The message was clear, and I can leave them now, with no doubt or regret.

Some lessons learned:

  1. Logical reasoning is not enough. Bosses are human beings too, with a strong will to control, to be approved, and to hear panegyric comments.
  2. If you would like to move a complicated bureaucracy with nested political networks, you should consider some political maneuvering as well.
  3. If you did not receive any feedback for a while, consider it as a negative feedback.
  4. It is not a good idea for a knowledge-worker to be a full time employee of a big organization with old fashioned hierarchy and bureaucratic deficiencies, as they will consider you as some replaceable bolts in their machinery.

Now, I have this chance to act as a potential change agent or agile coach in more development teams, and to apply my findings in this 2 year Scrum experience in more apt contexts.

Inspect Elements

What is Alixocracy? And who is an Alix? I’m not about to answer this type of questions right here, right now. But you may find any answer if you respect the time. Please let me know, if you do.

Here, you would find some notes about my social and work experiences. I intend to document daily challenges in our company, and the lessons beyond them. I’m a mid-aged mid-manager, working in a mid-class mid-size software development company, in a mid-developed country, in the middle east. We have the same old-fashioned problems as many other companies all over the world:

  • Who to organize the company, so that we have motivated people in self-organized teams, creating some creative and high quality products? While the senior managers love to command-and-control, customers don’t exactly know what they need, and don’t want to participate in the development process actively.
  • How to ask for feedback from teams and bosses?
  • How to give feedback to teams and bosses?
  • How to motivate the board to participate in the long-term strategic planing.

Write!

In the name of writers’ god.


Theme: Esquire by Matthew Buchanan.