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The Creative Networker
Updated: 6 hours 58 min ago

Manage Your Workshops with Workshop Butler

Wed, 09/21/2016 - 21:00
Workshop Butler

I am officially an investor now.

I have always been an investor. After all, I have always invested my time, energy, and resources in ideas that seemed to make sense to me. That’s what entrepreneurs do!

But now, I have taken my Lean Funding approach to invest in someone else’s idea. Actually, it is my idea as well, but I have no time to pursue it. I happily let Sergey Kotlov take our idea in a new direction and grow it into something fantastic.

Whether you organize workshops for managers, developers, marketers, or yoga students, there are always things you need to do for your classes, particularly when you work with more than one trainer:

  • Manage your trainers and their licenses
  • Publish the event schedule on your website
  • Provide info about topics, locations, and trainers
  • Process registrations online
  • Send notifications to participants
  • Process feedback and evaluations
  • Produce certificates of completion
  • and much more

Not surprisingly, Workshop Butler started its life as the back-end system for all Management 3.0 workshops worldwide. It has served the brand well, with more than 100 facilitators using the system on a regular basis.

Now, Workshop Butler has evolved to power other brands as well, including Collaboration Superpowers, Lean Change Management, and more.

If you offer classes under a brand name, with multiple trainers, various topics, and different locations, I suggest you check out the Workshop Butler public beta and get Sergey Kotlov to show you around the system.

It would make me happy. {8-)

The post Manage Your Workshops with Workshop Butler appeared first on NOOP.NL.

Categories: Project Management

50 Days Away from Home

Mon, 07/18/2016 - 19:50
US Tour Destinations

I feel a bit strange.

Saturday was the first of a 50-day trip across the USA as part of my global book tour. I was on the first of what will be 14 flights, looking at a schedule comprised of 20+ cities, 17 events, 3 road trips, a couple of train rides, a handful of national parks, and many, many coffees.

I have never done this before. I’ve never been away from home for more than 4 weeks. Given that I’m someone who loves to be home, this will be a challenge. A slight feeling of homesickness is nothing strange to me.

Fortunately, I won’t be all alone. Raoul will join me on this trip after 14 days. And I’m looking forward to meeting many people with both familiar and unfamiliar faces. Maybe you are one of them! If you are, don’t be offended when I politely decline some social invitations. It will be hard enough already for me to keep my sanity. And I can only recharge when I’m not socializing.

Now and then, we should all do something that feels uncomfortable. When we do something that is a little bit scary, we are creating a new experience. And experiences make us happy. I’m sure I will feel that way about this trip as well.


The post 50 Days Away from Home appeared first on NOOP.NL.

Categories: Project Management

Managing for Happiness FAQ

Thu, 07/14/2016 - 13:55
Managing for Happiness cover (front)

In June 2016, John Wiley & Sons will release released my “new” book Managing for Happiness, which is a re-release of last year’s #Workout book. Some people asked me questions about that.

Why do you re-release the #Workout book with a publisher?

My aim is to be a full-time writer. That means I must sell more books so that I can earn a full income from writing. (Right now, I don’t.) A global publisher can help me with that. A second reason is that I want to reach as many people as possible with my message of better management with fewer managers. A third reason is that wider availability of the book (in bookstores and libraries) is not only good for new readers but also for my reputation as a public speaker.

Categories: Project Management


Mon, 07/04/2016 - 11:50

I recently enjoyed a chat with Doug Kirkpatrick, one of the advocates of self-management, and I had a great meeting with Harvard Business Review author Ed Batista, who is working on a book about self-coaching.

The words that such authors and experts use fascinate me. As a complexity thinker, I am already well aware of the concept of self-organization. And in the last year or so, I’ve had more than a few discussions with people about the topics of self-development and self-education.

This made me think.

The most frequently asked questions in business are all about changing other people. And management, coaching, organization, development and education are, by default, things we do unto others. The prefix self appears to be the special case.


“Be the change you wish you see” is a famous quote, usually attributed to Gandhi. Gandhi felt the need to emphasize that changes in the world must start with ourselves. It seems he also noticed that most people mainly seek to change others.

Perhaps this is one reason why I’ve never been very interested in doing any coaching or consulting. As I always say, I have too many problems of my own, so I don’t have time to deal with those of others.

However, I love to write and speak about my problems and how I’ve tried to solve them. And with our company Happy Melly, my team and I seek to be the change that we wish to see in others. What we do is mainly self-management, self-coaching, and self-development. The result is a never-ending stream of experiments that, hopefully, are an inspiration to many. So they can change themselves too.

photo (c) 2008, Philo Nordlund, Creative Commons 2.0

The post Self-Change appeared first on NOOP.NL.

Categories: Project Management

My Improved Travel Checklist

Wed, 06/22/2016 - 17:20
My Improved Travel Checklist

Last week in London, I wanted to shoot a video, but it appeared that I had left my camera’s memory cards at home. On my previous trip, it had been my Android tablet that I had forgotten to bring with me. The trip before that, it was my stack of local currency, my power adapters, my sunglasses, or whatever, which I hadn’t properly packed.

Sure, I have a travel checklist. But clearly, it had turned into a checklost. With at least 50 confirmed upcoming events around the world, it was time for me to redesign it.

Four Preferred Places

My original checklist was one large unorganized list of reminders. This regularly led to problems because, by scanning the list too quickly, I easily overlooked an item that was buried among all the other things that I only knew too well. So I divided the checklist into four parts:

  • Personal items (that I carry on my body)
  • Shoulder bag
  • Handbag (typically carry on luggage)
  • Extra bag (typically check in luggage)

Each travel item on my improved checklist now has a preferred place. This not only helps to keep the individual lists smaller, and easier to check more carefully, but it also helps me keep things in the right bag. I don’t want to have that situation again where I thought I had my universal adapters or chargers packed in the other bag (but found out later that I hadn’t).

(And preferred means that items can change places depending on context. For example, my keys will have moved to my shoulder bag before I arrive at the airport, while my passport may temporarily move to my pocket while suffering the security and customs rituals.)

Standard versus Extra

Another thing I noticed messing up my packing efforts was that some standard items are by default in my bags (such as passports and adapters), other extra things are by default out of my bags (such as clothes and toiletries), and some items had a Schrödinger-kind of existence, not clearly being in or out, until I opened my bags to have a look (such as device chargers and headphones).

After the reorganization, packing my bags with my improved checklist now consists of two distinct activities:

  1. Checking that all standard items are where they should be;
  2. Adding all extra items to the place where I want them.

Hopefully, this will save me some stress and headaches in the future.

For example, I once had to interrupt my trip to the airport because my passport was not in my bag: it was still under the scanner next to my computer. I always know that my passports are in my shoulder bag, except for the one or two times when, apparently, I was wrong. And thus, I made it a separate activity to check that I am not deceiving myself, thinking that the standard items are where they should be before adding all extra items. And a Schrödinger-kind of existence is not part of the improved design.

Optional Stuff

And then, of course, there are the optional items that mainly depend on the weather forecasts. I remember once nearly freezing to death in Helsinki because I had no warm coat or gloves. I was once drying my clothes in my hotel room in London because, stupidly, I had brought no umbrella. And more than once, I have been sweating in the sun because I was silly enough to bring only dark blue jeans and long-sleeve shirts.

Short versus Long trips

Finally, things can always change a bit depending on context.

On short trips (one or two nights), I don’t need to take the larger bag with me. But this means I must jam any books, running gear, and clean clothes into my hand luggage, which is not always possible, or else just leave some of it at home. And on long trips (ten or more nights), the large bag magically changes into an extra large suitcase, and this also changes what I can bring with me (usually a lot more clothes).

Well, there you have it: the philosophy behind my new-and-improved travel checklist. I include the full list below (as it is now).

Is there anything missing that you have on your travel checklist, and that may be useful for me as well?

House keys
Car keys

Shoulder bag – standard items
Credit cards and bank cards
Travel cards and loyalty cards
Pens and markers
Presentation clicker
Spare batteries
Memory sticks
Display adapter

Shoulder bag – extra items
Tablet + charger
Foreign currency

Handbag – standard items
Spare underwear, socks, and shirt
Spare medicine, contact lenses
GoPro camera
GoPro stick
GoPro batteries
GoPro charger
GoPro memory
GoPro microphone
Universal adapters
USB chargers
Business cards

Handbag – extra items
Notebook + charger
Gloves, scarf, ear muffs [IF forecast = cold]
Umbrella [IF forecast = wet]
Travel clothes [IF distance = long]

Large bag – standard items
Laundry bag

Large bag – extra items
Extra shoes
Running shoes and clothes
Book / giveaway
Fleece jacket [IF forecast = cold]
Warm socks and sweater [IF forecast = cold]
Raincoat [IF forecast = wet]
Short pants [IF forecast = hot]

photo (c) 2013 Chris Lott, Creative Commons 2.0

The post My Improved Travel Checklist appeared first on NOOP.NL.

Categories: Project Management

The Failure Shirt: Agile Diplomats at the EU

Mon, 06/13/2016 - 15:23
The Failure Shirt

“We made a mistake. They are going to hate me tomorrow,” he said.

Imagine a room with 28 EU diplomats, twice that many specialists, dozens of translators, and one chairman who needs to tell everyone that his team has made a planning mistake and that everyone will suffer for it.

Needless to say, the chairman wasn’t looking forward to the next day. “I need them in a cooperative mode,” he said. “It is hard enough already to get agreements out of 28 countries. They will be very annoyed with us screwing up the planning. We’re not going to make much progress tomorrow.”

The Failure Hat

This problem made me think of people management in agile environments. Agile teams often have creative solutions to social problems, and one of those solutions immediately came to mind.

I told the chairman that, on some agile teams, if anyone has made a mistake for which the entire team has to suffer, that person wears the failure hat for a whole day. If someone accidentally destabilizes the product or “breaks the build” he or she is visually identified as the scapegoat, in a playful manner, so that everyone knows who did it. With a failure hat, people change from pointing fingers to poking fun.

Resentment and Vengeance

It is a human tendency to be resentful when other people make mistakes for which we have to suffer. In fact, vengeance is one of the sixteen basic desires of human beings, says behavioral psychologist Professor Steven Reiss. Even if there’s no immediate urge to hit back and retaliate for any (accidental) wrongdoings, we certainly feel it’s in our right to be pissed off and remain uncooperative, until the feelings of irritation have worn off. And this can take a while.

That’s why it’s rarely enough just to say, “I’m sorry”, however sincerely these words are spoken. The apology takes just one second of communication. But it can take hours for an annoyed person to say sincerely, “OK, I forgive you.” And on an agile team, or with a group of 28 diplomats, these can be costly uncooperative hours.

The Failure Shirt

I advised the chairman, “After you told them that you’re sorry, wear a silly hat, or a stupid shirt, for the rest of the day. Explain to them the meaning of the failure hat or failure shirt: You openly admit the mistake, and you allow everyone to point at you and laugh at you for a whole day, on the condition that you can immediately switch back into a collaborative mode.”

The next day, the chairman, who is well-known for his expensive suits and crisply tailored shirts, did exactly what I said. For the sake of the meeting, he sacrificed his dignity, admitted the mistake of his team, took off his jacket and stark white shirt in front of 80+ diplomats, specialists, and translators, and revealed the most ridiculous colored T-shirt that anyone had ever worn during an EU negotiation.

It was a huge success.

He received great applause, and laughs and cheers from everyone in the room. During the coffee breaks, half of the attendees took pictures and selfies with him and some congratulated him on his smart management move.

Most importantly, the rest of the day, the group enjoyed a cooperative and maybe even somewhat festive mood. People’s feelings of resentment and vengeance were satisfied: They could all see the chairman sitting there, suffering, in his silly shirt. Who wouldn’t smile at that? Let’s take another picture! The rest of the meeting was conducted in the failure shirt.

Afterward, the chairman said to me, “We made significant progress today, and I am now ridiculously popular. You’re my secret weapon!”

I felt extremely pleased that better management practices can work in any context. And also happy that I had an opportunity to assist in the career of my husband.

p.s. Make sure that wearing the shirt or hat feels somewhat embarrassing to the guilty person. I wouldn’t feel guilty in a colorful T-shirt. In fact, it was my shirt.

The post The Failure Shirt: Agile Diplomats at the EU appeared first on NOOP.NL.

Categories: Project Management

Don’t Pull My Finger

Tue, 06/07/2016 - 11:54
Dont Pull My Finger

As a public speaker, I get the weirdest requests.

Sometimes, event organizers want me to provide some “seed questions” that a moderator can ask me after a presentation. Usually, they use these when audience members do not immediately raise their hands when asked if they have any questions. In such a case, the moderator switches to a prearranged seed question after which the audience has usually awakened from its coma.

I don’t like giving organizers seed questions. Why should I be the one to tell them which questions they must ask me? It makes me think of a not-to-be-named family member who asked kids to pull on one of his fingers when he felt some gas coming up. And when they innocently pulled a finger, guess what happened? He thought it was hilarious.

Event organizers know their audiences better than I do. There’s no need to be lazy or to defer the bootstrapping of the Q&A to me. It is their job to make sure that we answer the important questions of their audience. And they shouldn’t care about anything that I most urgently want to get out of me.

When moderators do their job well, they generate a question or two on behalf of their audiences. And when they do, it happens often enough that they pose me questions I would never have imagined, and I need to think and offer an answer fast!

That prevents me from being lazy too.

I’m not going to let anyone pull my fingers. So don’t ask. If I have something relevant to say, I’ll say it. I don’t need to have it pulled out of me. Instead, I look forward to getting surprising questions that will challenge me!

(c) 2008 Derek Bridges, Creative Commons 2.0

The post Don’t Pull My Finger appeared first on NOOP.NL.

Categories: Project Management