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Showing posts from April, 2012

Local Optima: Girl versus Woman in IT

A colleague of mine recently sent out a request for comments on the topics of "women-only" technical conferences, and asking how we female colleagues felt on being called a "woman" rather than a "girl."  Most interestingly to me, she asked the question, "Should we stop moaning about men and just get on with striving to do our jobs well?"

I couldn't quite remember which second wave feminist gets credit for banning the word "girl" when one is referring to a female person of childbearing age or older.  (Lately the interweb is not the friendly, omnipotent companion it used to be.  I suppose we should just go ahead and blame Simone de Beauvoir and be done with it.)  What I did find, as I searched, was Tabby Biddle's wonderful third-wave feminist-friendly blog post entitled "Girl vs. Woman."  As Biddle says,
I think my occasional turn toward calling other women (myself included) “girl” is a way to reclaim some of my own g…

How Do You Vote Someone Off of Your Agile Team?

One of the conundrums of agile conversion is that although you are ordered by management to "self-organize," you don't get to pick your own team.  You may not have pictured it this way, but your agile team members are going to be the same people you worked with before, when you were all doing waterfall!  I know I wasn't picturing it that way for my first agile team, so I thought I should warn you.  (I thought I was going to get between six and eight original Agile Manifesto signers.  That didn't happen.).

Why "warn" you (as opposed to "reassure" you, say)?  Because the agile process is going to reveal every wart, mole, quirk, goiter, and flatulence issue on the team within a few hours.  In the old days, you could all be eccentric or even unpleasant in your own cube, communicating only by document, wiki, email, and, in extreme situations, by phone.  Now you are suddenly forced to interact in real time, perhaps in person, with written messaging…

W.A.I.T.: Crucial Consulting Advice

So you want to be a consultant.  You probably think this will involve yourself talking and your client respectfully listening.  Your client will put you in front of her team to present a PowerPoint deck outlining how Everything Will Be Different Now.  You will then distribute copies of your Initiative Plan to each of her subordinates.  Once you have given everyone their marching orders, they will do exactly what you outlined in orderly fashion.

But just to make sure, you personally will visit offices in New York, London, Paris, Milan, and Tokyo to double-check that everyone is doing what they should.  You will shop in Rome, buy gadgets at the Seattle Space Needle, have some fabulous meals along the way, and you will reach 1K Status this year.  That is why you want to be a consultant--you want to be consulted!

Not so fast, El Guapo!  Overbearing, meddling, quick to take offense and quicker to offend:  you aren't James Bond.  You are everyone's...mother in law.  Yes, even if yo…