123 Days Without Blogging

Alex Leonov's Blog

Last four months brought about a lot of change for me.

It all started with a conversation with a friend. In a few short days, my Christmas break plans have collapsed. They gave way to a new plan. A plan to build and launch a product.

If you’ve ever tried that, tou know the schedule. It leaves little time for anything other than advancement of the cause. Doing consulting projects didn’t help with work balance either.

The thing is, I like it. Finally, I have come to a balance between my consulting practice, and our startup. I’m picking up blogging again, and will make it more focused.

There will be no more one-liners. Or rather they will be expanded into much more detailed, if less often published, pieces of guidance. With the focus that I’ve established for myself, topics will be straightforward and immediately useful in your practice.

Stay tuned!

Can one of the team members be a Scrum Master?

Alex Leonov's Blog

Over and over we hear the same question. The answer is still a resounding no.

First of all, Scrum Guide clearly defines Scrum Master as a separate role. If that is not enough, or the argument is that we can adapt and change the process to suit our circumstances, you should ask yourself a question: “what role Scrum Master performs?”

Scrum Master is a mediator and a facilitator. To perform both roles, he needs to have no stake in the outcome. So, SM cannot be a part of the team that is doing the work - otherwise you get a conflict of interest.

If you are really short on people, a good idea might be to use a member of some other team to serve as a Scrum Master. Just make sure he has no real stake in the outcome of the team’s work.

Dashboard

Alex Leonov's Blog

Dashboard is a visualisation tool that helps with monitoring and reporting. Done well, it reduces the need for regular reporting since it provides it in real time.

What is the main value of Scrum, Kanban, and other agile methods?

Alex Leonov's Blog

The main value of the agile methods, including Scrum, Kanban, XP practices, and others is that they help you focus on the result more than on the process of getting to the result.

While the process, and documentation, and meetings, and discussions, are all important, getting job done is the most important thing of all. Therefore, everything should be flexible to allow timely and effective delivery.

This requires regular and rigorous review of the practices, and consequent changes to make the delivery better. If you initially adopt Scrum, and then figure out that it is not working well for you, then you can change. The result may not be ‘Scrum’ per se, but your approach will be more agile than strict adherence to the process that may or may not deliver the results you seek.

Kaizen

Alex Leonov's Blog

Kaizen is a Japanese word for ‘improvement’. Over years, it has gained a meaning of daily, small, continuous improvement.

Stakeholder

Alex Leonov's Blog

Stakeholder for a project is anyone with an interest in it/its outcomes. Identification and prioritisation of stakeholders is key to its success.

ICT: Where Is The Communication?

Alex Leonov's Blog

ICT is an abbreviation for Information and Communications Technology. Yet ‘Communications’ are usually the weakest side of the ICT professionals.

Granted, it doesn’t mean human communications in the abbreviation. And yes, some ICT people are remarkable speakers, facilitators, and buddies.

My point is, ICT education almost dismisses communication skills as unnecessary. Most of the good training in this area is designed for either marketing or sales people.

‘Soft skills’ can be the hardest of them all, and it would be nice to pay them more attention while educating technical people.

Why Do We Sleep?

Alex Leonov's Blog

Some time ago, I watched an amazing video about sleep. It ringed true along with other reading I was doing at the same time.

It covers several points:

  • how do we think about sleep? some quotes through the centuries will surely make you smile;
  • biological importance of sleep;
  • dangers of exhaustion and micro-sleeping (self-driving cars, anyone?);
  • sleeping and eating;
  • busting some sleep-related myths;
  • some updates from neuroscience.

It’s only 20 minutes long, and it has some great humour.

Here’s the link: Why Do We Sleep?

The Many-Faced Project Manager

Alex Leonov's Blog

After talking to a few project managers lately, I have discovered a shared sentiment. It seems that the term 'project manager' has no face. Or rather it has too many faces. At the same time.

In this post: what is the essence of the PM role: what do you have to start with?

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More Blog Posts

Alex Leonov's Blog

An experiment with larger blog posts has paid off, and starting today there will be more long articles. To avoid over-crowding, they will be evenly split among my expertise areas.

Most articles will be also published on LinkedIn, generally a day after they appear here.

It is likely that there will be several long-going series of posts to explore topics in detail.