Posted by: kerrywills | August 10, 2018

Facilitators…not brokers

In the past I have worked with people who, when assigned work, simply pass off that work to other people. They will assign it to other people and may also require that those other people show up to meetings to explain the work. In this model, they are simply brokering the work to other people. I am not sure if this is because they think that they are supposed to do this as a manager, or they are above “doing” the work..or, as in the movie Office Space, they think they are helping to bridge some gap. In any case, it does not make sense to me nor does it add any significant additional value.

A facilitator, on the other hand, connects dots across team members and facilitates the work getting done. They may even do it themselves. In my opinion, this adds value by helping to bridge work across many teams and have an overview view of the work. So we either need to find facilitators who add value or get rid of the extra layers of brokers..even if they think they have the people skills.

Posted by: kerrywills | August 3, 2018

Agile and Project Management

I have been working in project management for about 23 years and in agile for about 5 years. As I learn more about Scaled Agile, I am a firm believer that project management principles and competencies are essential for the model to work. This has led me to write my sixth book on how the two models evolve together (Can buy here on Lulu)


Here is the abstract: Over the last few decades, agile delivery methods have been increasing in popularity which has led to scaled agile models that encompass an entire organization. On the surface, these models do not look like they have project management functions or roles. Four key hypotheses will be proposed and explored for how project management concepts, competencies and principles are still needed in scaled agile models and how they need to evolve.

Posted by: kerrywills | July 27, 2018

Meetings…and the Three Little Bears

It seems like all companies LOVE meetings since most of our days are filled with them. The ultimate example of this is the offsite. As I write this, my current project has five coming up in the next few weeks. Now I love a good offsite as much as the next guy, but I think there has to be some control over the number of people who attend them. Usually, as agendas get created people start stating all of the other people who need to attend and then the session starts getting out of control.


In my view, there are a few considerations when determining the number of people who should attend…

  1. Cost – The more people, the more const that is incurred
  2. Logistics – With many people it becomes hard to find conference rooms, plan for travel and coordinate other sessions
  3. Value – People should only attend if they will add value to the session or from the outcomes
  4. Chaos – More people means more opinions, more questions and more tangents


So, thinking about meeting attendance should take an approach from the three little bears…

  • Too few – Not enough people may not justify the cost of the meeting or have a robust enough dialogue
  • Too many – Too many people will cause chaos and will likely not meet all objectives of the session
  • Just right – The right number of people to be practical and still realize the value and objectives from the session


Unfortunately there is no prescription for a meeting that is “just right” so we will have to use our best judgment.

Posted by: kerrywills | July 20, 2018

Workplace courtesy

There is definitely a set of workplace courtesies that exist and it really bothers me when people do not follow them. We all work for the same company and therefore should consider ourselves part of the same team and should demonstrate respect. Here are a few examples…

  • If you are going to be out of the office reply back to meetings and decline them or let people know you will not be there – I always enjoy waiting for someone only to find out that they are not even in and did not update their calendar
  • Keep your calendar updated – just this week someone declined a meeting saying that they were traveling at that time, yet their calendar looked open then
  • Respond to messages; especially if someone if waiting for you on something
  • Manage expectations – if you can’t complete something, let someone know so they are not waiting on you or have to chase you down
  • Do what you say you will do

All of these are courtesies which demonstrate mutual respect for coworkers and their time. Making other people follow up, waste their time and constantly chase others down is bad form. Even if those people are more senior in the company, I still believe in being respectful.


Posted by: kerrywills | July 13, 2018

Parenting is Risk Management

I have two kids and, this weekend, while watching them at the pool I realized that most of parenting is risk management. Just that day alone I had told them to…

  • Put on suntan lotion so they didn’t burn (risk mitigation)
  • Not run around the pool so they didn’t fall (risk avoidance)
  • Stop fighting (conflict avoidance)
  • Drink water so they didn’t dehydrate (risk avoidance)
  • Not jump into each other in the pool (risk avoidance)
  • Not eat junk food all day (that one is risk acceptance since that is not likely to happen)


So clearly parenting is mostly about risk mitigation to ensure that they safely grow to 18 years old when you are no longer legally responsible for them.  Then it becomes about figuring out how to get them out of the house I suppose.

Older Posts »