Posted by: kerrywills | April 20, 2018

Referees at Work

If you read my blog then you know that both of my children participate in sports. Both soccer and basketball have referees who watch the game and look for fouls. We may want to consider having a similar role during our meetings at work to ensure that things do not get out of control. I think this might actually help the effectiveness of the meetings.  Maybe people even get thrown out after being called for too many fouls!


Some examples of fouls during meetings could be…

  • Stating problems without recommendations – “illegal conversation”
  • General complaining – “bad sportsmanship”
  • Arriving late, disrupting the meeting and then asking people to repeat what they had missed – a “blocking” foul for blocking progress
  • Blaming other organizations or team members – “traveling” for trying to move accountability to the wrong places

And in some cases there may be more flagrant “technical fouls” which get called…

  • Someone who keeps interrupting other people talking – “defensive charge”
  • Someone who shuts down others when they are giving their views – “roughing the speaker”


Now we just need to get special outfits for these people and let the games begin!

Posted by: kerrywills | April 13, 2018

Spring Cleaning

Well it is Springtime, which means time to clean the yard, sweep the garage and clean out the clutter that has amassed over the winter. This is a good approach to take with our work and projects on occasion as well. We need to step back and evaluate how they are progressing and if there is anything that requires cleaning up…

  • Are we on track?
  • What are the big risks and are they being addressed?
  • Are the right people working on the project?
  • Are there outstanding actions or decisions that are needed?
  • Are there processes or scope that is not directly tied to delivery of value (i.e. clutter) and can it be removed?

So now that the skies have cleared, the temperature is warming up and we start venturing outside again, we should revisit our work as well to see what Spring cleaning we can do there.

Posted by: kerrywills | April 6, 2018

We work with people

This is the most obvious post that I have made in the nine years that I have had this blog but it needs to be said; we work with people. People who have lives outside of work. People who have problems. People who have feelings. So often we get caught up in the work, pushing our agendas and arguing with other divisions that we forget this very important fact.



In the last few years I have had co-workers who have come down with cancer, some who had personal crises and others who have lost loved ones to illness. We need to always remember that although we may be managers, team members or in adversarial organizations that we still work with people and we need to treat others as such. In the end this is what matters and not the task of the day, the crisis at hand or the next organizational rumor.


If we remember this important concept then we can have empathy towards others, support each other and bond as humans. BTW imagine if we actually did this outside of the workplace as well? Maybe the world would be a little nicer….

Posted by: kerrywills | March 30, 2018

Form like Voltron

I grew up in the 1980s and one of my favorite shows was “Voltron” which was a cartoon where five robot lions were protecting their planet from enemy attacks. The five lions could fight individually but when the battle got very tough, they would combine into one giant robot known as Voltron. I see this approach as similar to how we need to operate on our delivery teams. Each team member has a specific role and function that they need to focus on. However when there is a significant challenge or problem, they all need to come together (like when Voltron gets formed).

For the most part the team should focus on their individual roles but there are a few scenarios where Voltron needs to be formed…

  • A critical issue that is preventing the team from moving forward
  • A customer-facing challenge which is time sensitive
  • A looming deadline which has financial or other significant implications


There are probably other scenarios but the key point is that we should remember that we have the option to come together to solve larger problems as a team and possibly become as legendary as Voltron.

Posted by: kerrywills | March 23, 2018

Solving problems

I am currently helping to evolve my company into using a Scaled Agile model which involves a company-wide initiative to evolve people, organizations, processes, tools and thinking. Specifically I am managing the work stream to define and document the evolved delivery model. I have been part of transformational initiatives like this in the past and what I always find fascinating is when organizations take the people who are managing the current processes and have them define the evolved ones. On one hand I understand that they know the current model and can best speak to it. However, I always think of one of my favorite Albert Einstein quotes; he said that “you can’t solve problems with the same type of thinking that created them.”

Oftentimes organizations will try to force fit their processes and approach into new models as opposed to considering what problem they are solving and how that problem can be solved in an evolved model.  This is why many companies chose outside consultants to facilitate change as they are not biased by “the current way of doing things.” If we anchor on the functions and their intentions we can then be open to determining how to evolve them.

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