Sunday, November 27, 2011

Announcing a new PMI-ACP course with coaching

Are you in the Philadelphia region (<50 miles from center city)?  Want to take the PMI-ACP exam, but need help getting ready for it? I'm offering a 21-PDU, 3 full day (or 5 half-day) course. Read more at my corporate site:

Why take the course from me? You'll get two half-day coaching sessions included in the price of your team's classes (for every 5 paid participants). It's hard to apply all this knowledge--so why not take advantage of a local coach that can help you implement what you've just learned?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

toward more effective communication

Over the past year I've gone to at least 4 workshops on more effective communication, and I'd like to comment on my take-home messages from each, rather than a summary of what happened. When possible I've linked to online summaries of the session content or an explanation of the ideas.

Powerful Questions presented by Carton Nettleton -- summarized by Sam Laing.
Assuming we have established a trusting relationship, it's much more effective to ask open-ended questions, or even questions that help others analyze a situation. Listed from more powerful to less, we've got:
  • Why
  • How
  • What
  • Who/when/where
  • Which/yes-no questions
The questions at the top help people process the information themselves.

Refactoring Conversation Smells by Gil Broza & Luiz Claudio Parzianello
deletion - generalization - distortion; deletion is summarized by Esther Derby.
Just as in Weinberg, Seashore & Seashore's "What did you say? The art of giving & receiving feedback", it's often very useful to extract comments from their emotional wrapping (distortion). Or, to follow up with a person for more specific information (generalization), or to ask for missing information (deletion).

Wendy Thompson's presentation of the Four Horsemen that kill teamwork
stonewalling - contempt - criticism - defensiveness
These are red flags in a team environment. When you see them, dig further to find out what's going on.

Pat Arcady's Open Space (slow download) session on Navigating Conflict with IntegrityIt was interesting to see Pat in action--she's a skilled mediator/facilitator, and she taught me to hold back more so that people around me can show their smarts when they discover what a workshop is designed to help them discover.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Failing Fast slides

For Agile Day NYC, I was invited to give a Pecha Kucha talk, so I decided to cover Failing Fast. It's hard to capture a PK talk online, but the short version is: failing fast is all about learning. To foster learning in our own work environments, we invite our colleagues to be curious, to ask how we can find out sooner, and to use set-based design. Failing fast breaks the monotony of failing slowly, and makes work fun. Read more in the linked slide deck!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Freedom in Meeting slides

In September at Agile Boston I ran an open space session called Freedom in Meeting (this link to the slides includes speaker notes). The short version of this talk is: when we bring open-space ideas into our daily meetings, they become more effective, are shorter, are more interesting, and have better participation from everyone.