30 April 2020

Me & Linkedin Connections; Tips to Build a Strong Network

Linkedin is a great resource, to find information on people, and connect to them, share some updates and expand. However, there are people that are not using it very effectively, they might be using it efficiently though ;-).

Below are my tips for building a strong network in Linkedin.

Random People

  • Do not add random people and hope for the best. If there is someone you are adding that they don't know you use the Linkedin web interface to add them as a connection. There is an option to add a note there. It gives the receiver an idea of who you are, and why you are connecting. 
  • If you are receiving a request from someone you don't know, I suggest you to use the Linkedin feature to send them a message (you don't have to pay for it), you can send messages for free for people adding you. This gives you a chance to build a better connection with them and stronger. It shows how important the connection is for you. 

People with a very large number of connections

  • If you see someone that added you with 10K connections, I would suggest reconsidering adding them immediately. Unless they are a VIP that you are very interested to be connected to, I recommend against accepting their connection request. I would send them a message and see if they respond back, then I will see based on the response to move ahead. 

People with mutual connections

  • It's best if you check with a connection to your new connection. Do get to know your connections any way you can. It will pay off.

It's an opportunity, at the end

  • After all, these that you have done to learn about your new connection, you finally make a decision to accept it or not. It's not the end of the world if you accept someone and then it becomes spam. It's easy, you can simply unfollow them whilst still being connected to them. Unfollowing them, make them able to send you messages but you wouldn't get updates from them. The worst-case scenario is that you can remove their connection. 

Final words:

If you build a strong network, it's a network that is connected to you most. You are in the center of it, and not on the border. It takes energy and time to build that. When you build it, it pays off. 

How many people do you know that has 5 times your network and when they share an update will only get as par or fewer likes than yours? 

How many people do you know in the same field with you that has many more connections than you but fewer recommendations or endorsement?

The above are the signs of a weak network. If you see those, apply the above suggestions moving forward to make yours a stronger one. 

30 March 2020

First Ever Lean Agile Virtual Lunch (Lean Coffee Style)

Necessity is the mother of invention. We did not invent anything per se, but we invented a new way of being connected to each other. In LAN, and because of the Coronavirus pandemic, we are moving toward remote facilitated sessions. We had our first as a lean coffee. It was great to connect to people, we had visitors from Asia as well!


We talked about the following topics:

  • Suggestions for fun retrospectives with the entire team remote?
  • Remote Team Working Agreements, for teams that are forced to work remotely!
  • How to keep motivation high and not be lazy during these times
  • Remote facilitation/coaching experiences
  • Ideas to conduct a successful remote daily scrum meeting?
The resources we shared at the Lean Coffee session:

14 January 2020

Lean On Agile Podcast is Here! + My Top 10 Agile Podcast Recommendations

I am glad to announce that I started the Lean On Agile Podcast. It was due for the longest time. The first episode is about Agile Certifications and you can listen to it at Lean On Agile podcast.
Lean On Agile Podcast
You can also listen to the Lean On Agile Podcast on your favorite podcast player app. Some of them as follows:



The inspiration for the podcast came from 3 other thought leaders of Agile space, Amitai, Bob, and Esther. Agile in 3 Minutes is run by Amitai, Meta-Cast is run by Joshua and Bob, and the Law of Raspberry Jam and Tea from Viktor and Esther. Learning about Bob's journey was the final motivation needed for me to get the podcast started.

I started the podcast in December 2019. I utilized the holiday season to get all the foundations set up, make sure I know what I am doing, and create the right structure for a successful launch. I was lucky to get one episode done in Dec 2019. The first episode was about Agile Certifications, not my favorite topic. I wanted to share my thoughts and some of my personal journeys for the listeners. I really enjoyed talking about agile certifications at the end. It was a very easy choice to start the podcast with it. It was my MVP, if you may. I was able to see how many people are going to listen to it, how much feedback do I get. Also, it gave me an idea of how much more time do I need to invest in podcast material.

You can find the podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, and other platforms. I am looking forward to hearing your thoughts. Please let me know your suggestions, what are you looking to hear, and your topics of interest.

Now that we are talking about Podcasts, let me share the list of 10 (9+1) Agile Podcasts that I recommend:

The below podcasts are worth mentioning as honorary. They are not being updated for a while. However, there are good resources to listen to, still!
If you know of any good podcasts please comment below. I will listen if I have not already to them.

25 April 2019

Agile Games Canada; An Open Space

It is an Open Space! 

It all started over a quick conversation on Twitter. The first outcome was a post highlighting all the Canadian and American noteworthy conferences, unconferences and meetups. The second was a twitter poll that revealed great support from the community to hold an Open Space around games. The challenge was to find someone to share the same vision, volunteer their time, and make Agile Games a reality! It was not easy to find a partner to start it with. Luckily, I found two awesome people and on the same date! Very soon after that, the Agile Games Canada was born; on March 21st, 2019 (i.e. It's the start of Spring and the first day of Persian New Year, Nourouz).

Lean Startup Approach

We started with a webpage inside another website, not even a stand-alone webpage. When we started, we didn't know what location we are hosting it, nor did we know if we are providing food and beverages for the day. However, we took an execute and learn in short iterations approach. It was amazing, still is. Now we have a great registration list, a location, food & beverages are decided upon, and we have a website! We now even have a twitter account.

40 under 40

From almost 40 days ago when we announced Agile Games Canada, we have seen great support from the community. We are truly grateful for that. We have sold more than 40% of tickets and we are very close to the 50% mark. I, on behalf of the Agile Games Canada Leadership team, want to thank all of you who supported us by purchasing a ticket, telling your friends to do so, or even by just liking our posts. You are why we are thriving to make this happen!

LoyaltyOne, Special Thanks!

We are thrilled to announce that LoyaltyOne is hosting Agile Games Canada 2019. We are excited to be at their amazing location on June 15th, creating a safe space to practice, learn and share what we learned. We have seen a great amount of enthusiasm from other sponsors as well. We will announce them in a short while.

Agile Games Website & Twitter

We have a redesigned website at www.agilegames.ca (or www.agilegamescanada.com). Please take a look, let us know if we can improve anything. Contact us if you have any questions or concerns. Also, follow us on twitter for the last minute updates. 

28 January 2019

Coaching Anti-Pattern #2 - Not Being Yourself!

As a coach, you know of some coaching techniques and tools. It's easy to get lost in all of the toolkits you have and try to pick one up to use amongst many. That's one of the coaching anti-patterns that I typically see; get lost in the moment, and not being your authentic self. The coach tries to perform a technique developed by someone else.

My advice is not to try too hard to remember every single step that was taught for a specific technique. Think of yourself as a chef. Although they possess recipes, great chefs, depending on many factors, alter the recipe to the need of that moment.

https://unsplash.com/photos/boaDpmC-_Xo

Try to be yourself. Have confidence in yourself and the way you are coaching, despite even being your first time. Keep in mind that the person you are coaching most probably won't notice if you even miss something. Unless the coachee is a coach.

18 January 2019

Coaching Anti-Pattern #1: Assumptions

No matter how good you are (as a coach), or how much your client is capable in his or her field, make sure you are not assuming anything (or to start many important things).

Always ask yourself (as a coach) what you are referring to is a fact or an assumption. If you don't have a definite Yes to your question, then the easiest thing to do is to ask your client, do not assume!

Assumptions are the trojan horses of a coaching conversation!



14 January 2019

Alternatives to Agile Coach Camp Canada! or My Recommended List of Conferences, Un-conferences, Local Meetups and More!

Agile Coach Camp Canada is very popular this year. The organizers decided to use a lottery style ticketing system. If you have not put your name on it, do it! It reminded me of Google I/O when the tickets were sold out in less than an hour. ACCCA is the Google I/O of Agile, even Agile 20xx is not sold out in that record time!

https://unsplash.com/photos/MYXf7tGEntk

If you are like me, i.e. not lucky at all, you probably will be left out this year. It's not the end of the world. Be positive, there are four draws, you will get four chances (as I do). You might get lucky and score a ticket. If not, it's always next year too. If you got lucked out of ACCCA this year, what are your alternative options? These are some of what I know in North America, and recommend!

Agile Games Canada - Toronto

A one day of open space. You can learn, contribute or even invent new games. It is not limited to the games only, it's an open space after all. If you like to talk about anything agile and beyond and if you like a good audience this is for you.

Agile Coach Retreat - Toronto

A one day retreat for coaches to get together; usually, learn a new thing or two in the morning, and in the afternoon to practice coaching. Sometimes the afternoon becomes a mini-open space too. 

Spark The Change - Toronto

A two-day event focused on many perspectives and aspects of the Change! You won't leave without inspiration, guaranteed! 

Play 4 Agile North America - Cornwall

This is very similar to the Agile Coach Camp, just focused on the gaming aspect more; or not! You have to take part to know! Also, it is one day longer, you get to have fun one more day! 

Agile Open Canada - Vancouver

This used to be called Agile Coach Camp West. They rebranded to Agile Open Canada from the last couple of years. This year it is in beautiful Vancouver. A great excuse to visit the west coast with family.

Agile Coach Camp - U.S.

There is an annual coach camp happening in the US. This is a rotating coach camp, it will give you a chance to visit different cities in the US. 

Local Gatherings 

There are plenty of gathering happening locally where you live, I am sure. These are some that can give you back what you might miss at ACCCA. These are the ones I know and can recommend to you:

East - Toronto

Ceased to Operate:

East - Ottawa

West - Vancouver 

West - Calgary

  • Calgary Agile: A meetup group for practitioners of agile methods in Calgary

Conferences

Conferences are good alternatives to ACCCA, and in general to attend! These are the ones I would recommend if you are in North America.

Unconferences


Please point out any good ones that you know of! I will add them to the list.