Enterprise Personal

Why succeed?

“It’s not about money. It’s about the willingness to outwork and outlearn everyone.”
—Mark Cuban

Enterprise Metrics Personal

Failure Rates

Thomas_J_Watson_Sr“If you want to succeed, double your failure rate.”
—Thomas J. Watson, IBM

Personal Scrum

Agile Resolutions

January is “New Years Resolution Month” for me. I plan what I’ll improve in the rest of the year and how I’ll do it. Roughly 88% of people who make New Years Resolutions fail [Lehrer 2009]. Twenty years ago, software projects had extremely high failure rates like this. The software industry started adopting “agile” management practices, bringing project failure rates down to less than 50%.


Review: The World is Not Small for Everyone

Many decades ago, my small-world assumptions were incredibly optimistic: I was smart, resourceful and helpful, and the world needed me, therefore capitalists would seek me out and pay me well. I discovered they weren’t looking very hard for me: I had to find them. I longed for experts in my own social group—i.e., gay software entrepreneurs—who could advise me, and found few. I even wrote to venture capitalist colleagues asking if they knew any gay VCs: nope. I remember thinking I couldn’t talk football and I didn’t play golf, therefore I would find few commonalities with straight men. Though I now realize how prejudicial this assumption was, it turns out the main victim was likely me.


Cult of Zero: Free Your Creative Soul

A “Cult of Zero” is developing worldwide. Adherents drive the total emails in their inbox to zero, every day, with great results in improved productivity. I talk about how you can get your inbox to zero, and keep it there.

Unbelievers wonder why cultists obsess about their inboxes. Take a look at the church roster, and you might find a hint. Some are well-regarded executives, who somehow find time for impromptu meetings or a mid-day tennis game. Some are up-and-comers, picking their battles. Some are just calm folks doing a great job, unperturbed by late-breaking drama.


2010 Resolutions: Q1 Retrospective

If you created New Year’s resolutions, in hungover remorse for your 2009 debauchery, it’s a good time to assess your rehabilitation. By examining last quarter’s progress, you can make early course corrections and get on track for a successful 2010.

Take a tip from the productivity experts and host your own personal retrospective. Here’s how:

  1. Pull out your resolutions and review. (Or at least try to remember what they were.)
  2. Try to reconstruct the hopes and frustrations you felt three months ago.
  3. Write this down: Revel in what went well in your quest for improvement.
  4. Regret what went badly.
  5. Reengage by picking one or two things you will do differently in Q2.

Personal 2009 Retro/2010 Planning

My yearly retrospective mind map summarizes what went well and badly in 2009, and what I plan to do in 2010. Click the image to see the full view.


Dan Greening 2009 Retrospective Mind Map

I plan to iterate in 2010, with monthly or shorter sprints, progressing each month to make usable progress on as many 2010 goals as possible.

One thing that deserves explanation: “software project assessor”. This is not a commonly used term. An example is Elliot Fishman, who analyzes startup companies to determine their intrinsic bottom-up value. Venture capitalists pay him for his analysis. Being a sophisticated software project assessor means you can look at a software project or startup company and determine its likely value in the future. There are obvious implications to this.

I hope those who know me will ask me how it’s going; it will help motivate me.

Have a great 2010!