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Showing posts from 2015

Brick By Brick: Lessons from Lego (Book Review)

There is no shortage of business books about companies that lose their way, and then do a dramatic turn around. Some are more relevant that others. Brick by Brick by David Robertson caught my attention because it is about an iconic toy that is, at the moment, popular with people of all ages. The book first came to my attention when we were stopping at a bookstore bookstore in Saratoga Springs, NY last summer. My then 7 year old, a big Lego fan, and avid reader handed the book to me suggesting that I might enjoy it. He was right; I enjoyed reading the book and also learned some useful things.

While I had heard stories about the reasons behind the recent surge in Lego’s popularity, I had not realized both the scope of the changes the company made, and the depth of the problems the company had. Lego’s story is one of a company losing track of it’s core vision while trying to diversify and create market opportunities. Robertson explains the rise and fall, and rise of Lego in an engaging s…

Five Dysfunctions of a Team (Book Review)

I’ve often thought that the hardest part about building a software product was creating an environment where the people on the project can work together effectively. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team kept showing up on recommended book lists and I finally decided to get a copy. I’m glad I did. This quick to read book helped me to remember some simple, yet important, things about how great teams work.

Reminiscent of The Goal and The Deadline, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team spends most of its time teaching its lessons using the example of a fictionalized story of a new CEO joining company in trouble.

The CEO uses the model to help the executive “team” become a team in more than name. Even though the story itself isn’t great literature, since I’ve been in and around dynamics similar to those in the book, I really wanted to see what happened next. (Though a successful ending was never really in doubt.)

There is a brief summary of the 5 dysfunctions model at the end, but the story form rea…

Essential Scrum and Other Books to Help You be Agile

I’ve read a few books on Scrum over the years. I read Essential Scrum because others at my company who had not gone through Scrum training with Kenny Rubin, and I wanted to use the book aa a vehicle for refreshing my thinking and getting on the same page as everyone else in terms of terminology, best practice advice etc. The book helped with that and more.

Reading this book did more for me than give me a chance to synch up vocabulary. It helped me re-think some practices and consider ways to move beyond my current approach to Scrum and consider ways to do things better.

This book covers the whole spectrum of Scrum related issues from the usual Scrum mechanics, such as how to execute scrum meetings to questions that often leave those adopting Scrum for the first time puzzled such as how Scrum fits in the larger organization, the the role of Managers (yes, there is one), and how to deal with obstacles.

The book has an excellent discussion of the various Scrum roles, and how they work …