J.D. Meier's Blog

Software Engineering, Project Management, and Effectiveness

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    30 Days of Getting Results - Free Time-Management Training

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    I’ve updated 30 Days of Getting Results based on feedback.  (Special thanks to Alik Levin for his feedback and insight above and beyond the call of duty.)   The site URL is simpler now and easier to share:

    I wanted to clean it up and improve the experience, especially for those that are using this as their 30 Day Improvement Sprint to bootstrap the new year.

    Time Management Skills
    Here are some of the time management skills you will learn, tune, and improve as part of the time management training:

    • How to manage your time
    • How to focus and direct your attention with skill
    • How to spend more time on the things that really matter to you
    • How to be the author of your life and write your story forward
    • How to make the most of your your moments, days, weeks, months, and years
    • How to use a simple system to achieve meaningful results
    • How to achieve work-life balance
    • How to play to your strengths and spend less time in weaknesses
    • How to motivate yourself with skill and find your drive
    • How to change a habit and make it stick
    • How to improve your personal productivity and personal effectiveness

    You will learn time management tips and strategies as part of a system, each lesson can be used by itself or “better together” with other lessons.

    Time Management Training Lessons at a Glance
    Here are the 30 Lessons at a Glance that make up the time management training:

    • Day 1 – Take a Tour of Getting Results the Agile Way
    • Day 2 – Monday Vision – Use Three Stories to Drive Your Week
    • Day 3 – Daily Outcomes – Use Three Stories to Drive Your Day
    • Day 4 – Let Things Slough Off
    • Day 5 – Hot Spots – Map Out What’s Important
    • Day 6 – Friday Reflection – Identify Three Things Going Well and Three Things to Improve
    • Day 7 – Setup Boundaries and Buffers
    • Day 8 – Dump Your Brain to Free Your Mind
    • Day 9 – Prioritize Your Day with MUST, SHOULD, and COULD
    • Day 10 – Feel Strong All Week Long
    • Day 11 – Reduce Friction and Create Glide Paths for Your Day
    • Day 12 – Productivity Personas – Are You are a Starter or a Finisher?
    • Day 13 – Triage Your Action Items with Skill
    • Day 14 – Carve Out Time for What’s Important
    • Day 15 – Achieve a Peaceful Calm State of Mind
    • Day 16 – Use Metaphors to Find Your Motivation
    • Day 17 – Add Power Hours to Your Week
    • Day 18 – Add Creative Hours to Your Week
    • Day 19 — Who are You Doing it For?
    • Day 20 — Ask Better Questions, Get Better Results
    • Day 21 – Carry the Good Forward, Let the Rest Go
    • Day 22 – Design Your Day with Skill
    • Day 23 — Design Your Week with Skill
    • Day 24 – Bounce Back with Skill
    • Day 25 – Fix Time. Flex Scope
    • Day 26 – Solve Problems with Skill
    • Day 27 – Do Something Great
    • Day 28 – Find Your One Thing
    • Day 29 – Find Your Arena for Your Best Results
    • Day 30 – Take Agile Results to the Next Level

    Key Links

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    Personal Development Hub on Sources of Insight

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    Personal Development Hub

    My categories page on Sources of Insight is really a Personal Development Hub (if you think in terms of a Hub and Spoke model.)   It’s a one-stop shop for all the categories I use on Sources of Insight.   Many of you I know, focus on continuous improvement and are life-long learners, so you’ll appreciate this.

    (BTW, be sure to subscribe to Sources of Insight.   I’m going to be tackling some key challenges in today’s world including, making a living in the new economy.  I’m going to share patterns and practices, as well as stories and case studies of people that make $1,000 a day online, doing what they love as info-preneurs.   Way too many people are struggling in the “jobless” economic recovery, and I want to give you the edge and real skills you can use to change your game, or help somebody you know.  I can’t promise an easy path, but I can save you some dead-ends, and wasted time and effort, and share some of the short-cuts and methods that actually work)

    Maps Help You Find Your Way Around
    I always think it’s easier to find your way around when you have a map.  A friend suggested I create descriptions for my categories to help both humans and search engines figure out what my categories are all about.  If nothing else, it would be a great map making exercise.

    Today, I added descriptions to the categories, so that you can see the intent behind the various buckets, and I included some samples where it made sense.  When I was done writing the descriptions, which turned out to be a two-hour exercise, that I originally thought would be a twenty minute exercise -- it revealed a lot.  It revealed a better map of Sources of Insight, going well-beyond just a list of categories and links.  It forced me to re-think and rationalize why I chose the various categories that I did, and revaluate whether they are still the right ones.

    While there’s more time ahead of Sources of Insight, than behind it … it was good to take a look at the map, which was like taking a look from the balcony, or taking a look from the mountain top.  It was easier for me to see where I have a lot more work to do, and where I haven’t done enough to equip you with the right tools and skills for the tough stuff at work, or the challenges in life.  I also noticed where some information is a bit too buried and needs to be surfaced and cross-linked in a better way.

    The Sources of Insight “Treasure Map” at Your Disposal
    I’ve created brief descriptions to help you understand the thinking behind each category I use on Sources of Insight.  Here is a map to help you find your way around Sources of Insight and to know where to look for key personal development resources at your finger tips:

    • Body – Body is anything related to shaping your body or improving your physical prowess.
    • Book Nuggets – “Book Nuggets” are key insights and actions from books.  When I read a book, I look for the actionable or insight parts, and then write about how to turn the insight into action.  I also share any relevant personal experience of applying the idea.
    • Business – Business is anything related to business skills, business strategy, etc.  Where possible, I try to show how business skills can be applied to life to improve your personal effectiveness.
    • Career – Career is anything related to finding jobs, thinking through career paths, making a living, etc.  I also try to work in cornerstone concepts like work-life balance, living your values, and driving from your life style.  The goal of my career posts is to empower you to be YOUR best, while growing on the job, doing work that makes your soul sing, and playing to your strengths.  I think of it as giving you skills to pay the bills and lead a better life.
    • Communication – Communication is anything related to communicating, whether that’s writing, or creating presentations, or speaking.  I’m a fan of continuously improving skills to write, speak, and share ideas visually, in a more effective way.
    • Confidence – Confidence is anything related to improving your self-confidence.  Confidence is one of the most important attributes for making the most of what you’ve got, and for living life to the fullest.  To improve confidence, I find patterns and practices based on both science and real-world experience.
    • Conflict – Conflict is anything related to interpersonal conflict, negotiations, and arguments.  With these posts, I equip you with skills to be more effective in identifying, addressing, and resolving conflict.  Conflict is a common part of every day life, and by improving your skills and coping mechanisms, you can turn conflict from a painful experience to something you look forward to as a way to challenge yourself to be more collaborative, create more effective solutions, and improve the greater good.  On the flip side, you can grow your skills to avoid getting stepped on or taken advantage of, and be more assertive.
    • Creativity – Creativity is anything related to improving your creativity, ideas, and ability to find creative solutions.  I treat creativity as an art and science, and I regularly explore techniques and methods for improving creativity.  There are many books with great ideas for improving your creativity, so what I do is find, organize, and share the best of the best that I can find.  I also try to put the insights into plain English, as well as make the skills easier to turn into action.
    • Decision-Making – Decision making is anything related to making decisions.  Your ability to make decisions and choose wisely is a way to express judgment.  Peter Drucker was a fan of judgment as skill, but something you very much learn from experience.  I focus on both personal decisions, as well as decisions in the workplace, including making team-based decisions.  While, I share decision frameworks and methods, I keep them simple and pragmatic.  The true keys to effective decision making are knowing the criteria, limiting the options, setting boundaries, and satisficing where you can.  One of the best skills you can grow through life is decisive action.
    • Effectiveness – Effectiveness is anything related to improving your personal effectiveness.  I like to think of effectiveness, the same way Covey thinks about success: “The response meets the challenge.”  One of the best questions you can ask yourself is, “Is it effective?”  I make it a point to find the best principles, patterns, and practices for improving your thinking, feeling, and taking action.  My posts on personal effectiveness and some of my most popular posts.  After all, who doesn’t want to improve their personal effectiveness.
    • Emotional-Intelligence – Emotional intelligence is anything related to improving your emotional intelligence skills.  You can think of emotional intelligence as the ability to perceive, evaluate, and control emotions.   It’s one of the most useful skills to help you think better and make better choices, by using emotions as input.  It’s also especially important as a leader to help you improve your empathy and build rapport.  By improving your emotional intelligence, you can use your rational-mind to make better choices, and either avoid going into ‘fight or flight” mode, or break yourself out of it, faster and easier.
    • Fear – Fear is anything related to dealing with fear.  Fear can hold you back in so many ways.  Whether your fear is based on real or perceived threats, the problem is when it cripples you from taking action.  To bring out your best, conquer your fears, and live life to the fullest, I share key strategies and tactics for dealing with fear.
    • Featured – Featured is anything that gets featured on the Home page.
    • Finance – Finance is anything related to making money, investing, building wealth, the economy, and personal finance. 
    • Fun – Fun is anything related to having fun, finding the lighter side, or sharing humor.
    • Getting-Results – Getting Results is anything related to my book, Getting Results the Agile Way.  Getting Results the Agile Way is a personal results system for work and life.  The book is a playbook for making things happen at work and in life.  In the book I share key principles, patterns, and practices for goals, motivation, time management,  personal effective, productivity, etc.  It’s all about making the most of what you’ve got, and it draws from software, positive psychology, project management, etc.  It puts science and proven practices on your side, and helps you bridge the gap between the “state of the art” and the “state of the practice.”
    • Goals – Goals is anything related to setting and achieving your goals.  While I do share classic methods and techniques for goal setting, I do put special emphasis on finding goals that inspire you and connect to your “why” in life.  I’m a fan of meaningful results and inspired action.  As Tony Robbins says, “ People are not lazy. They simply have impotent goals.”
    • Guest Posts – Guest Posts is any post by a featured guest.  While I tend to focus on guest posts by best-selling authors, I really open the door to anybody who has a super skill to share with the world.   I especially enjoy sharing insightful authors, and people with expertise or interesting experience that helps people grow their skills to pay the bills or lead a better life.  That’s a common theme.
    • Happiness – Happiness is anything related to improving your happiness.  With these posts, I help you avoid the “If-then” trap of always putting happiness somewhere into the future, and instead grow it right under your feet.   There is a lot of science on happiness that you can use everyday.  For example,Stumbling on Happiness teaches us that we aren’t very good at predicting our own happiness.  We also know that happiness can be measured in two ways: 1) How happy are you? and 2) How happy are you with your life?  One focuses on how you feel in the moment, while the other focuses on fulfillment.  We also know that people have different temperaments and levels of happiness, and that you can work against your own happiness by expecting yourself to feel happy all the time or by having a low-frustration tolerance.  By building your happiness skills, you can choose happiness, and you can improve your enjoyment along the way, as you embark on your personal pursuit of happiness.
    • Health – Health is anything related to improving your health.  Your body is your temple, and hopefully we can make it last for the long haul.  As the joke goes, we spend our younger years trading our health for wealth, and then our later years we trade our wealth for our health.  Hopefully, with the right patterns and practices, we can get the best of both worlds.
    • Influence – Influence is anything related to improving your influence or understanding the impact of influence on you.  My dictionary defines influence as, “The capacity to have an effect on the character, development, or behavior of someone or something, or the effect itself”, and that sounds reasonable to me.  To make it real, think of it as the ability for you to shape behaviors and change.  You can shape yourself, others, teams, organizations, etc.  In fact, influence is one of the most important skills in today’s world.  You can do it all, so your influence is how you can get it done through other people.  One of the specific skills I write about is influence without authority, which is a common scenario, where you need to influence people that don’t report to you.
    • Innovation – Innovation is anything related to the art and science of innovation.   Innovation is derived from the Latin word innovatus, which is the noun form of innovare, which means, "to renew or change.”  I’m a fan of innovation as a way to experiment and learn, and change the game on multiple levels.  I’ve tested multiple ways to innovate under extreme conditions, and one of my strengths is bringing ideas to life, and making things happen.  It’s been a long and winding road, but I think the road gets easier when you know the key patterns and practices that work.  I also share key ideas and wisdom on innovation from several leading thinkers including Peter Drucker, Edward de Bono, and Michael Michalko, who is a former Disney imagineer and author of the book, ThinkerToys.
    • Intellectual-Horsepower – Intellectual Horsepower is anything related to thinking and improving your mind.  I treat thinking as a skill and I focus on finding methods and techniques you can use to improve your thinking.  One of the best ways you can improve your thinking is by asking better questions.  I regularly share powerful questions you can use to improve your work and life.  For example, here is my post on, 101 Questions that Empower You, which is one of my most popular posts of all time.
    • Interpersonal-Skills – Interpersonal Skills is anything related to interacting with other people.  This is all about building the “people skills”  Whether it’s dealing with people you can’t stand, or building rapport, having crucial conversations, dealing with conflict, or influencing without authority  (Crucial Conversations, Dealing with People You Can’t Stand,  and Influence without Authority are great books, BTW).
    • Leadership – Leadership is anything related to leadership.  John Maxwell says it precisely, “leadership is influence”, and I think that’s true.   I’m a fan of distinguishing thought-leadership from people-leadership.  Although they are related, there is power in understanding your strength as a leader, as well as your passion, and how to use this insight to shape your journey and career path.  I think it also helps to think of leadership as a progression, from self-leadership to leading teams, to leading organizations, etc.  As you grow your capability, you expand your sphere of influence, and you can think globally, but act locally.  Another important concept in leadership is the idea of “servant leadership” and doing things for the greater good, which can be a sharp contrast from an authority-based or command-and-control leadership style, which works well in some specific contexts and environments, but not in many or most others.
    • Learning – Learning is anything related to learning.  I’m a fan of continuous improvement and I’m a life-long learner.  That said, I also believe that learning is a by-product of chasing your passion, and diving deep into what you love.  I also think learning is a skill we can use every day to deal with setbacks, fail fast, find the way forward, and carry forward the lessons learned.  In the age of information, learning is one of the super skills to have under your belt.   In my posts, I share techniques you can use to learn faster, simpler, and better, so that you spend less time down dead-ends, and more time figuring out what’s important and using what you know.  Learning and thinking skills go hand in hand, as well as reading skills.
    • Lessons-Learned – Lessons Learned is anything related to sharing lessons from work and life.  Many of my lessons learned posts summarize key patterns and practices from inspiring people.  For example, two of my most popular posts in this category are Lessons Learned from Bruce Lee and Lessons Learned from Seth Godin.   In each case, I think of it as “greatness distilled” as I attempt to share and scale their best insights and actions for work and life.  I use their quotes, books, and anything else that might be useful as a way to reverse-engineer their thought patterns and principles that we can use to expand our abilities and gain perspectives.
    • Life – Life is anything related to the topic of life.  It’s a broad bucket but that’s the beauty.  If there’s one thing we all share in common it’s the human experience, and this little journey we call life.  As each of us finds our way in the world, my hope is that we get better at living life, and making the journey the destination.  The key is that life is not a face, and the trick is to figure out who you want to be and what experiences you want to create … and embracing the ups and downs along the way.  I’ve found that life gets better with the right words, which is why I share a lot of quotes.  I’ve also found that life gets better with skills, and that we can improve our life by applying business skills, project management skills, and other skills that we tend to just use at work.  I’m also a big believer in driving a path of fulfillment and making meaning.   One of the people I know that’s very effective at this is Dr. K (Richard Kirschner), and he wrote a guest post for me on just this topic.  It’s How To Design a Fulfilling Life.  It’s a real gem.
    • Management – Management is anything related to management.  Peter Drucker teaches us that,“Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.”   In this category, I tend to put posts about managing the innovation, managing the business, and managing people. 
    • Marketing – Marketing is anything related to marketing.  In this topic, I focus on things like branding, positioning, market sizing, market evaluation, strategic marketing, and value propositions.
    • Motivation –  Motivation is anything to do with motivation.  I’m a fan of inspired action, and I write a lot of posts about how to make the most of your motivation.  All motivation is really self-motivation, and the key is to know how to push your own buttons.  I think it’s also important to understand the difference between motivation, drivers, wants, needs, self-discipline, and other concepts that help you know how to find your mojo.  At the end of the day, your most powerful tool for motivation is self-awareness and knowing yourself.  To fill your motivation bag of tricks, I include many skills, principles, and patterns for motivation, as well as inspiring people, inspirational quotes, and meaningful metaphors to help you get your groove on.
    • Movies – Movies is anything related to movies.  I watch a lot of movies, and it’s where I get some of my best insights.
    • NLP – NLP is anything related to Neuro-Linguistic Programming.  NLP is a set of principles, patterns, and practices to program your mind, body, and emotions to think, act, and feel your best.  Many executives, use NLP as a way to change their game.  The beauty is NLP is available to anybody who wants to use its methods and techniques, and there are many books on the topic.  My favorite book on NLP, is the book, Brilliant NLP: What the Most Successful People Know, Say, and Do.  I like this particular book because it’s simple to read and it focuses on the big ideas and keeps things both insightful and actionable.
    • People – People is anything related to people.  I use this category to make it easy to browse my posts about key people, some of which are personal heroes, and others are mentors or role models, or simply people I find insightful or inspiring.
    • Personal-Development – Personal Development is anything related to personal development.   I don’t really focus on the “self-help” niche of personal development.  Instead, I focus on the idea of continuous improvement and expanding your personal capabilities.  Basically, bringing out your best and making the most of what you’ve got.  I spend a lot of energy on creating, finding, sharing, and organizing techniques to be YOUR best.  One of my most important personal development guides is my free eBook, You 2.0.   Many people have shared their stories with me how this simple and short guide helped them build a firm foundation and unleash a better version of themselves, and get back on path, while the world changes under their feet.
    • Problem-Solving – Problem Solving is anything related to solving problems.  In this category, I share skills and techniques that help you make mince-meat out of your problems.  No matter what the problem is there are some key ways to improve your ability to solve them.  Some of the keys include reframing problems as challenges, clarifying the problem, modeling the solution by finding examples to learn from, asking better questions, and testing your solutions, and testing your assumptions.   One of my favorite quotes on solving problems is by Voltaire, “No problem can withstand the assault of sustained thinking.”  I find that’s true, and the real key is writing your problem down in a way that you can share it, and others can team up with you … because no problem can withstand the assault of collective thinking.
    • Productivity – Productivity is anything related to personal productivity or getting things done.  Personally, I’m not a fan of output or productivity for productivity’s sake.  That’s why I was very specific in one of the taglines for Getting Results the Agile Way … it’s “a simple system for meaningful results.”    I’m a fan of slowing down to speed up.  I’m also a fan of having compelling outcomes, and clarity of the end in mind.  If the *why* isn’t strong enough, then why do it.  At the end of the day, I believe the key to productivity, where you are both efficient and effective, is working on the right things, at the right time, with the right energy, the right way.  If you are a fan of making things happen, I think you’ll enjoy one of my posts from this category – Rituals for Results.  In the post, I share some of my favorite habits and practices for getting results.
    • Quotes – Quotes is anything related to quotes.  I have a lot of quotes, and I’m an avid collector.  I’m a big believer that quotes are one of the best ways to hare the wisdom of the ages and modern day sages.  You can browse my collection of Great Quotes.   I have a large garden of quotes you can waltz through so if you only choose to read one set, read my Inspirational Quotes.   If you’re having a bad day, chances are, these quotes will give you a new lease on life, or at least a fighting chance.
    • Relationships – Relationships is anything related to building, healing, or dealing with relationships.  While interpersonal skill is more focus simply on “people skills”,  Relationships is more focused on the relationships aspect of people in your life, including friends, colleagues, family, and love interests or loved ones. 
    • Strengths – Strengths is anything related to character strengths and talents.  I think of strengths as your natural thinking, feeling, and doing patterns, not necessarily what you are good at (since you can get good at things, but they go against your grain.)  I’m a fan of playing to strengths, while reducing liabilities.  I’m also a fan of spending way more time in your strengths than in weaknesses, and using your strengths as your force multiplier.  I’ve found this is the key to sustainable energy and amplifying your impact.  It’s also a way to differentiate in a Darwin world, and either compete more effectively, or better yet, stand out so uniquely that there is no competition … and unleash your unique combination of strengths, talents, skills, and experience to the world.  The challenge with finding your strengths is having a vocabulary to frame and label them, but lucky for you, there is a lot of research and books on just this topic.  In my post, The Language of Personal Strengths, you can explore some of the labels people use to identify, classify, and share their strengths.
    • Stress – Stress is anything related to stress.  Stress and anxiety are related but often confused.  I find skills, techniques, and coping mechanisms to help you Use Stress to Be Your Best.    Here are the keys:  If you can distinguish between stress and anxiety, and if you can master the relaxation response, and you can develop your emotional intelligence, then you can do wonders for stress management.  By default, “fight or flight” is easy, and it’s what gets us into trouble.  Learning how to deal with stress and use it to get our game on takes skill, but it’s worth the extra effort and it’s something you can use on a daily basis (unless you just happened to find that magical place where the unicorns run free and the rainbows shine bright, and the sun is always smiling.)
    • Time-Management – Time Management is anything related to managing your time.  Some way time is all you’ve got and it’s your most precious resource.  One of the most important questions you can answer in this life is, “What do you want to spend your time on?”, or “What do you want to spend more time doing?”    There are a lot of tricks to time management including managing energy, not time, and finding your flow.  There are basics to master, like prioritizing what’s important, making time for things, and actually scheduling things you want to have time for.  One of the most fundamental rules to know is Parkinson’s Law, which teaches us that “time expands to fill its container.”  One of your best weapons against time bandits in your bag of time management tricks is timeboxing.   Just that one method can help you suddenly find time for the things you’ve wanted, and help you keep your energy strong.
    • Values – Value is anything related to values.  One of the best ways you can live the good life is to spend more time in your values.  You can also use your values as a compass as you navigate your way through life.  You can also use your values as a way to motivate yourself, by connecting everything you do, back to your values.   For example, I value adventure.  So at work, I don’t do projects … I lead epic adventures.  The difference might seem small, but it’s powerful when every job I take on is a chance to make impact and make the journey an adventure the team can look back on and be proud of, while enjoying the journey, challenges and all, along the way.  Of course, the trick to living your values is you have to know what they are.  I have a post on Finding Your Values, but I’m going to have to elaborate on this topic more, because there are a lot of nuances to finding your values that matter the most.  The challenge, of course with values, is that they all seem “valuable”, so the trick is finding the vital few.
    • Videos – Videos is anything related to videos.  I share videos I find that are insightful, and I do plan to create videos too.
    • Writing – Writing is anything related to writing.  Writing is a skill you can use in so many ways whether at work or in life.  One of my favorite ways to think is to “think on paper.”  I also use writing as a way to share and scale expertise.  A big part of my life has been about writing guides to change the world, and my strength is writing prescriptive guidance.  I share what I learn, but I also share the wisdom and insight from others to help you write with might and improve your writing skills.

    Call to Action
    Share Sources of Insight with anybody you know that needs patterns and practices for improving effectiveness.   Send them to this page to subscribe to Sources of Insight.  There are already several hundred articles on Sources of Insight to help anybody you know get skills to pay the bills and lead a better life … and the best is yet to come.

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    Stevey's Google Platforms Rant

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    I’m a fan of lessons learned.   I especially like Stevey’s Google Platform Rant because it’s raw and it’s real, and it’s an insider’s lessons on what they think Amazon does right, and what Google does wrong, and how to fix it.  It’s a call to action.

    It did not strike me as a bash post (although it might feel like that if you’re on the receiving end of the rubber mallet Winking smile  )… but instead, I see it as a great wake up call by somebody with passion, conviction, and who actually cares about the great opportunity at hand …  The opportunity to build an amazing platform, and take a page out of the playbook from companies that do platforms well.  I’m a big believer that great change requires a sense of urgency, and that people are often so desensitized because of overload to what’s truly urgent (and important) … that the wake up call needs a bit of sting (and nothing stings like dabs of truth.)

    What makes this particular post truly insightful (and keep in mind it can be yanked from the Web), is that it’s from somebody who has spent six years at  Amazon and six years at Google.  (It really is an insider’s view.  In fact, the original post was not meant to be shared publicly.)  Steve has the benefit of contrast, and the benefit of seeing how strategies and tactics play out over time.  More importantly, Steve has the ability to tune in and surface the vital few surprising insights that count.

    Here is my short-list of key take aways from the post:

    1. “When software -- or idea-ware for that matter -- fails to be accessible to anyone for any reason, it is the fault of the software or of the messaging of the idea. It is an Accessibility failure.”
    2. “Amazon had transformed culturally into a company that thinks about everything in a services-first fashion. It is now fundamental to how they approach all designs, including internal designs for stuff that might never see the light of day externally.”
    3. “But they do services because they've come to understand that it's the Right Thing. There are without question pros and cons to the SOA approach, and some of the cons are pretty long. But overall it's the right thing because SOA-driven design enables Platforms.”
    4. “… the same way Amazon did it: all at once, for real, no cheating, and treating it as our top priority from now on.” (In reference to shift to a platform and service-first mindset)
    5. “a platform-less product will always be replaced by an equivalent platform-ized product”
    6. “The problem is that we are trying to predict what people want and deliver it for them.” (Regarding how very few people in the history of software do this well)
    7. “We don't get Platforms, and we don't get Accessibility. The two are basically the same thing, because platforms solve accessibility. A platform is accessibility.”  (Regarding Google’s opportunity)
    8. “Any teams that have successfully internalized the notion that they should be externally programmable platforms from the ground up are underdogs.”
    9. “But making something a platform is not going to make you an instant success. A platform needs a killer app.”
    10. “The Golden Rule of Platforms, ‘Eat Your Own Dogfood’, can be rephrased as ‘Start with a Platform, and Then Use it for Everything.’ You can't just bolt it on later”

    The meta-lesson reinforces what I’ve come to believe to be true, which is that platforms and services win in the end, and that applications are the pull-through.  It’s the applications that make the platform’s capabilities meaningful, contextual, and relevant, and it’s the platform that makes the applications sustainable for the long-haul and consistent where it counts.  And the elegance of the platform is what empowers the ecosystem to takes things well beyond what anybody originally dreamed up … as a catalyst for innovation and possibility.

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Personal Development Books Revisited

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    I’ve updated my Personal Development Books collection.   If you’ve seen it before, you’ll notice it’s a lot cleaner and easier to scan.  If you haven’t seen it before, hopefully it is one of the most complete lists of personal development books that you’ve come across.

    Personal development books hit a sweet spot for me because I’m a fan of continuous improvement and excellence.   I’ve found that books are the short-cut in today’s world.  While they don’t make up for having great mentors, they do provide a fast path to some of the best principles, patterns, and practices around.

    To make this list useful, while keeping it simple, I organized the personal development books into different buckets:

    • Achievement and Goals
    • Body
    • Career Development
    • Character and Attitude
    • Communication Skills
    • Decision Making and Choice
    • Emotional Intelligence
    • Focus
    • Habits, Principles, and Practices
    • Happiness and Feeling Good
    • Interpersonal Skills and Relationships
    • Intuition
    • Leadership
    • Learning
    • Motivation and Self-Discipline
    • Positive Thinking and Optimism
    • Productivity
    • Purpose and Passion
    • Self-Awareness
    • Spiritual Intelligence
    • Strengths
    • Stress
    • Thinking Skills and Intelligence
    • Wealth
    • Work-Life Balance

    It’s also worth noting that I spend a few hundred dollars on books each month, so I tend to cover a lot of books.  Also note that I don’t really just books by their writing, but instead on their effectiveness for delivering prescriptive guidance.  I try to find books that solve problems and share useful insights and actions.  My main judge for a book is whether it teaches me something relevant that I can use and put into practice.

    I’m always growing my collection of personal development books, so feel free to share with me your personal favorites.

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Now Available: Getting Results the Agile Way on Kindle

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    imageIt’s time to rattle the cage  People have been asking me for this, and now it’s finally here.  The Kindle version of Getting Results the Agile Way is now available.   It’s a personal results system for work and life.   Whether you want to find your mojo, or take your personal effectiveness to the next level, or simply have a better day, this book is for you, or somebody you know.

    People around the world have shared with me their personal stories and wins.   I know a restaurant owner that renovated his business using Getting Results the Agile Way.  I know a teacher inspiring her peers to get their game on using Getting Results.  I know teams of consultants using Getting Results the Agile Way to achieve better, faster, simpler results and it’s contagious.  Even my Mom used it to tackle a few big projects on her house.   You can read the testimonials and success stories on Getting Results.com.

    This books puts in your hand the same system I’ve used to create high-performing teams, help individuals flourish, and coach teams to unleash their best.

    Getting Results in today’s landscape is tough.  Our world changes faster than we can keep up.  Worse, we don’t always have the best practices for managing focus, managing our time, managing our energy, or even basic productivity.  Agile Results is a simple system for meaningful results that combines some of the best methods for thinking, feeling, and taking action.  To put it another way, Agile Results is a way to help you make the most of work and life.

    You are the author of your life.  I created this system as a way to put it all together and help you write your story forward.  By using three wins to drive your day, your week, your month, and your year, you take charge of your life and live life on your terms.  By spending your time on the right things, with the right energy, with the right approach, you unleash your best.  As you learn and respond, you build momentum.  This momentum carries you forward, supporting everything you do.

    This is the playbook I wish somebody gave me.  Now, I’m sharing it with you.

    Key Features of the Book
    The book has several compelling features for slicing and dicing the personal effectiveness body of knowledge:

    • Principles, patterns, and practices.   It’s a rich collection of proven practices, smart success patterns, and timeless principles.   Because it’s a principle-based system, you have wisdom of the ages at your finger tips.  It’s wisdom in action.
    • Meaningful results.   It’s not about getting more things done.  It’s about meaningful results.  By getting clarity on you want to accomplish, you
    • It’s a system.   It’s more than a book.  It’s a system.  With the system on your side, you automatically build better habits and practices that bring out your best.
    • It’s simple.  By simple, I do mean simple.   There is no other system like it.  If you simply write down three wins for your day, you’re doing Getting Results the Agile Way.  More importantly, if you fall off the horse, it’s easy to get back on.
    • It’s flexible.   It’s incredibly flexible and it stretches to fit your needs.  Rather than hard and fast rules, it’s a platform of principles, patterns, and practices that you can easily adapt or modify to suit your personal style.  It’s YOUR personal results system.

    Contents at a Glance
    The full Getting Results Guide is available for free on Getting Results.com in HTML.  This is the contents of the guide at a glance:

    Chapters

    Getting Started
    I’m a fan of making it easy to get started.  Like I said, if you simply write down three wins for your day, you’re doing Getting Results.  But to help you get started fast, here is the one-page guide on Getting Started with Getting Results.

    The Knowledge Base
    The Getting Results Knowledge Base picks up where the book leaves off.   It’s a serious collection of patterns and practices for improving your focus, motivation, time management, and more.   The knowledge base includes:

    By the way, these are no ordinary guidelines in there.  For example, somebody I know is using the focus guidelines to build coping mechanisms for ADD, as an alternative to drugs.  If you get a chance to explore the focus guidelines, you’ll see why.

    Watch a Short Video Story of Getting Results the Agile Way
    Ed Jeziersky hops around the world helping doctors and patients deal with large-scale disasters.  What does he use to lead his teams?  … You guessed it.  Here is Ed on Getting Results the Agile Way.

    Acknowledgements
    I have a lot of people to thank for helping me make this book happen.   In addition to my loyal readers of Sources of Insight, I’d like to thank the following people for helping me with this book:

    Adam Grocholski, Alik Levin, Andrew Kazyrevich, Andy Eunson, Andrea Fox, Anutthara Bharadwaj, Brian Maslowski, Chaitanya Bijwe, Chenelle Bremont, Daniel Rubiolo Mendoza, David K. Stewart, David Wright, David Zinger, Dennis Groves, Don Willits, Donald Latumahina, Dr. Rick Kirschner, Eduardo Jezierski, Eileen Meier, Erin M. Karp, Ethan Zaghmut, Gloria Campbell, Gordon Meier, Janine de Nysschen, Jason Taylor, Jeremy Bostron, Jill Heron, Jimmy May, John Allen, John deVadoss, Julian Gonzalez, Juliet du Preez, Kevin Lam, Larry Brader, Loren Kohnfelder, Mark Curphey, Michael Kropp, Michael Stiefel, Mike de Libero, Mike Torres, Mohammad Al-Sabt, Molly Clark, Olivier Fontana, Patrick Lanfear, Paul Enfield, Per Vonge Nielsen, Peter Larsson, Phil Huang, Prashant Bansode, Praveen Rangarajan, Richard Diver, Rob Boucher Jr., Rohit Sharma, Rudolph Araujo, Samantha Sieverling, Sameer Tarey, Scott Hanselman, Scott Stabbert, Scott Young, Sean Platt, Srinath Vasireddy, Steve Kayser, Tom Draper, Vidya Vrat Agarwal, Wade Mascia.

    Key Links at a Glance
    Here are the key links at a glance:

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Program Management Tip - Save Time by Working on What Actually Counts

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    One of the most valuable lessons I learned early on in Program Management at Microsoft, is that value is in the eye of the beholder.

    One common pitfall is throwing a lot of time and effort at things, only to find that when you’re done, nobody cares. If you keep feeling a lack of appreciation, then ask yourself, “Who was I doing it for?” If it was for yourself, was it what you most cared about, or could you have invested the same time in something else and felt like you made a more important impact. If you were doing it for somebody else, ask them whether what you’re working on is really the most important thing to them. If you’re working on a lot of low-priority items, don’t expect to get the rewards. In fact, a pattern is that the more you work on low-priority items, the more you become a dumping ground. The more you become a dumping ground, the busier you get; the busier you get, the more overloaded you will feel. Now the worst happens—you’re overworked, underappreciated, and no fun to be around. By failing to work on what’s valuable and by failing to understand and reset expectations, you’ve worked yourself into an unrewarding, high-stress scenario.

    On the flip side, working on the things that you value, inspires your passion, keeps you engaged, and builds momentum.  Balance that with things that are valued by others, and be deliberate.  Sometimes you have to choose you.  Sometimes you have to flex and bend.  Sometimes it’s “meet me in the middle.”  Sometimes it’s simply reframing what you’re doing in a way that speaks to others, or vice-versa.  Simply making mindful choices can help you dial up your passion where it counts.  It’s a force multiplier.

    To be a more effective Program Manager, start asking the question, “Who’s it for?” or “Who’s asking for that?” or “How important is that?” (and everything is always a trade-off.)

    Note -- This tip is from my book, Getting Results the Agile Way, a simple time management system,  and you can find more free time management tips in the Getting Results Knowledge Base.

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Friday Links 2011-10-28

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    From the Archives
    Business Scenarios for the Cloud - While putting together lessons learned from our Enterprise Strategy cloud engagements, we consolidated a set of recurring business scenarios and themes.  You may find these useful if you are thinking about cloud opportunities from a business perspective, and are looking for some common patterns and perspectives.

    IT Scenarios for the Cloud - While putting together lessons learned from our Cloud-related Enterprise Strategy engagements, we consolidated a set of recurring IT scenarios and themes.  You may find these useful if you are thinking about cloud opportunities from an IT perspective, and are looking for some common patterns and perspectives.

    From the Web
    Time Management Checklist - Here is a checklist for improving your time management skills.  It includes proven practices and time-tested strategies and tactics.  You can use the checklist to inspect and evaluate your time management skills.  You can also use the checklist as a simple set of one-liner reminders to draw from when you need them.

    Leadership Checklist - I’ve created a leadership checklist that should act like a hub and spoke of effective leadership practices.  The challenge is distilling effective leadership practices into one-liner reminders that are easy to evaluate the behavior, where possible.

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Press Release for Getting Results the Agile Way on Kindle

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    The press release for Getting Results the Agile Way is now live at Time Management Tips and Time Management Strategies for Achievers.   I think the message hits a sweet spot – it’s a time management system for achievers.  (One interesting tidbit along those lines is that Getting Results the Agile Way was #2 on the Amazon best sellers list in Germany for “time management”.)

    Here are the opening paragraphs:

    Some say, “Time is all we have.” To master time is to master life. The secret of time management is to have a trusted system and a collection of time management tips and time management strategies to draw from.

    Getting Results the Agile Way, by J.D. Meier, now available on Kindle, is a time management system for achievers focused on meaningful results. The power of Getting Results the Agile Way is that it combines some of the best practices for thinking, feeling, and taking action into one simple system to help achievers make the most of what they’ve got.

    You can read the rest of the press release at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2011/10/prweb8914806.htm

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Getting Started with Getting Results Free eBook

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    Getting Results the Agile Way is a simple time management system for achievers.   Whether you are an underdog trying to make the most of what you’ve got, or you are simply somebody with a passion for more from life, you are an achiever in my book.  (After all, we are all an underdog at some point in our lives.)  This is a system to help you be YOUR best.

    As a time management system, Getting Results the Agile Ways is focused on answering two very fundamental questions about time management:

    1. What to do?
    2. How to do it?

    By figuring out what to do, you set the stage for meaningful results.  This is all about slowing down to speed up.  This also reiterates the idea that less is more.  Rather than spread yourself thin, the idea is to focus on what really matters to you, and create meaningful experiences.

    This is a very short guide to get you up and running fast with Getting Results the Agile Way …

    Download

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    30 Day Boot Camp for Getting Results: Free Time Management Training for Achievers

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    Getting Results the Agile Way is a time management system for achievers.  It combines some of the best practices for thinking, feeling, and taking action into one simple system to help you make the most of what you’ve got, and master your time management skills.  It draws from software development, project management, positive psychology, and sports psychology.

    Free Time Management Training
    As an introduction to the system, I created a free 30 Day Boot Camp for Getting Results.   It's called a boot camp because it's hard-core.  It's a 30 day, self-paced time management training course.  If you want to take your time management skills to the next level, then take the 30 Day Boot Camp for Getting Results.   Keep in mind that because it’s self-paced, you could do all 30 lessons in a day, if you choose to.  This may be one of the best time management training courses you ever take, and the price is tough to beat.

    Time Management Skills
    Here are some of the time management skills you will learn, tune, and improve as part of the time management training:

    • How to manage your time
    • How to focus and direct your attention with skill
    • How to spend more time on the things that really matter to you
    • How to be the author of your life and write your story forward
    • How to make the most of your your moments, days, weeks, months, and years
    • How to use a simple system to achieve meaningful results
    • How to achieve work-life balance
    • How to play to your strengths and spend less time in weaknesses
    • How to motivate yourself with skill and find your drive
    • How to change a habit and make it stick
    • How to improve your personal productivity and personal effectiveness

    You will learn time management tips and strategies as part of a system, each lesson can be used by itself or “better together” with other lessons.

    Time Management Training Lessons at a Glance
    Here are the 30 Lessons at a Glance that make up the time management training:

    • Day 1 – Take a Tour of Getting Results the Agile Way
    • Day 2 – Monday Vision – Use Three Stories to Drive Your Week
    • Day 3 – Daily Outcomes – Use Three Stories to Drive Your Day
    • Day 4 – Let Things Slough Off
    • Day 5 – Hot Spots – Map Out What’s Important
    • Day 6 – Friday Reflection – Identify Three Things Going Well and Three Things to Improve
    • Day 7 – Setup Boundaries and Buffers
    • Day 8 – Dump Your Brain to Free Your Mind
    • Day 9 – Prioritize Your Day with MUST, SHOULD, and COULD
    • Day 10 – Feel Strong All Week Long
    • Day 11 – Reduce Friction and Create Glide Paths for Your Day
    • Day 12 – Productivity Personas – Are You are a Starter or a Finisher?
    • Day 13 – Triage Your Action Items with Skill
    • Day 14 – Carve Out Time for What’s Important
    • Day 15 – Achieve a Peaceful Calm State of Mind
    • Day 16 – Use Metaphors to Find Your Motivation
    • Day 17 – Add Power Hours to Your Week
    • Day 18 – Add Creative Hours to Your Week
    • Day 19 — Who are You Doing it For?
    • Day 20 — Ask Better Questions, Get Better Results
    • Day 21 – Carry the Good Forward, Let the Rest Go
    • Day 22 – Design Your Day with Skill
    • Day 23 — Design Your Week with Skill
    • Day 24 – Bounce Back with Skill
    • Day 25 – Fix Time. Flex Scope
    • Day 26 – Solve Problems with Skill
    • Day 27 – Do Something Great
    • Day 28 – Find Your One Thing
    • Day 29 – Find Your Arena for Your Best Results
    • Day 30 – Take Agile Results to the Next Level

    Key Links

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Where the Focus Goes

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    It’s always interesting to see where people put their focus, as well as how their patterns show up.  Here are some patterns of focus, which reveal how people show their values on the job:

    • Some focus on the process
    • Some focus on the thing/results/deliverables
    • Some focus on the impact
    • Some focus on the learning
    • Some focus on the journey
    • Some focus on the score
    • Some focus on the beans
    • Some focus on directing
    • Some focus on doing
    • Some focus on thinking
    • Some focus on creating and innovating
    • Some focus on completing
    • Some focus on policing
    • Some focus on correcting
    • Some focus on aligning
    • Some focus on schmoozing
    • Some focus on excuses
    • Some focus on solutions

    … some focus on giving their best where they’ve got their best to give, finding their flow, lifting others up, and changing the game.

    Of course, we’re all hybrids, but it’s interesting to see where some people dominate and drive from.

    Knowing the patterns makes it easier to bridge and switch perspectives, spot problems, and uncork potential.

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Double-Loop Learning and How Agile Approaches Change the Game to Thrive in Times of Change

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    All paths lead to the same town. 

    I love it when dots finally connect, or when we have a name, or label, or vocabulary to express a concept that’s been around for a while, that people intuitively know from experience.  It makes it easier to share with others that don’t.  Here’s a bit of interesting research that might explain why agile practices can have a profound impact on creating powerful, highly effective learning organizations, and high-caliber execution machines.

    In the article, Chris Argyris: Theories of Action, Double-Loop Learning and Organizational Learning, by infed, we learn about theories-in-action vs. espoused theory, and double-loop learning vs. single-loop learning.

    Single-Loop Learning vs. Double-Loop Learning
    If learning involves the detection and correction of error, then Single-Loop learning is about finding and fixing problems within a set of governing variables.  It simply looks to operationalize the values, goals, and plans.  That’s not a game changer.  Double-Loop Learning, on the other hands, looks to question the governing variables themselves.  Here is an elaboration from the article:

    • Single-Loop Learning – According to the article, “Single-loop learning seems to be present when goals, values, frameworks and, to a significant extent, strategies are taken for granted. The emphasis is on ‘techniques and making techniques more efficient.”
    • Double-Loop Learning – According to the article, “Double-loop learning, in contrast, ‘involves questioning the role of the framing and learning systems which underlie actual goals and strategies … Double-loop learning is necessary if practitioners and organizations are to make informed decisions in rapidly changing and often uncertain contexts.”

    Theories in Use vs. Espoused Theory
    Theories-in-use are what you actually use and do in practice.  On the other hand, espoused theory is what you say you do, which may be completely different.  Here is an elaboration:

    • Theories-in-Use – According to the article, theories-in-use are “those theories that are implicit in what we do as practitioners and managers … They govern actual behavior and tend to be tacit structures. Their relation to action 'is like the relation of grammar-in-use to speech; they contain assumptions about self, others and environment - these assumptions constitute a microcosm of science in everyday life'”
    • Espoused Theory – According to the article, espoused theory is “those on which we call to speak of our actions to others … The words we use to convey what we, do or what we would like others to think we do.”

    Model I and Model II – Theories-in-Use
    Theories-in-Use can either enhance or inhibit double-loop learning.  Model I inhibits.  Model II enhances.  Here’s a summary:

    • Model I – According to the article, “It involves ‘making inferences about another person’s behaviour without checking whether they are valid and advocating one’s own views abstractly without explaining or illustrating one’s reasoning’ (Edmondson and Moingeon 1999:161).  The theories-in-use are shaped by an implicit disposition to winning (and to avoid embarrassment). The primary action strategy looks to the unilateral control of the environment and task plus the unilateral protection of self and others. As such Model I leads to often deeply entrenched defensive routines (Argyris 1990; 1993) – and these can operate at individual, group and organizational levels.”
    • Model II – According to the article, “The significant features of Model II include the ability to call upon good quality data and to make inferences. It looks to include the views and experiences of participants rather than seeking to impose a view upon the situation. Theories should be made explicit and tested, positions should be reasoned and open to exploration by others. … Found in settings and organizations that look to shared leadership. It looks to: Emphasize common goals and mutual influence.  Encourage open communication, and to publicly test assumptions and beliefs, and combine advocacy with inquiry.”

     

    Model I – Theories-in-Use

    Model II – Theories-In-Use

    The governing Values of Model I are:

    • Achieve the purpose as the actor defines it
    • Win, do not lose
    • Suppress negative feelings
    • Emphasize rationality

    Primary Strategies are:

    • Control environment and task unilaterally
    • Protect self and others unilaterally

    Usually operationalized by:

    • Un-illustrated attributions and evaluations e.g.. "You seem unmotivated"
    • Advocating courses of action which discourage inquiry e.g.. "Lets not talk about the past, that's over."
    • Treating ones' own views as obviously correct
    • Making covert attributions and evaluations
    • Face-saving moves such as leaving potentially embarrassing facts unstated

    Consequences include:

    • Defensive relationships
    • Low freedom of choice
    • Reduced production of valid information
    • Little public testing of ideas

    The governing values of Model II include:

    • Valid information
    • Free and informed choice
    • Internal commitment
    Strategies include:
    • Sharing control
    • Participation in design and implementation of action
    Operationalized by:
    • Attribution and evaluation illustrated with relatively directly observable data
    • Surfacing conflicting view
    • Encouraging public testing of evaluations

    Consequences should include:

    • Minimally defensive relationships
    • High freedom of choice
    • Increased likelihood of double-loop learning

    What’s interesting in the article is that most people "say” they use Model II, but that’s simply “espoused theory”.

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Praveen on Getting Results the Agile Way

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    People like to hear stories about how other people are adopting Getting Results the Agile Way.    Meet Praveen Rangarajan.  He’s a developer with a passion for more from life.

    Praveen is not a "process" guy, but Agile Results gave him just enough structure to support his everyday things. Using Agile Results he learned to improve his results at both work and life in a more systematic way.

    Here is Praveen telling his story of how he adopted Getting Results the Way …

     


    For a majority of my life, I had never been a "Process" guy except when it came to work. I always believed order was meant for the military. I wanted to be a free bird - doing things my way at the time of my choosing.

    When JD briefed me on his new book and the process he was working on, I volunteered and said I wanted to be a part of it. I am quite successful at work and wanted to improve it further. However, I wasn't too keen on adopting it for life. I thought it would restrict me a lot and clip my feathers. So, I adopted it at work and did a trial run for a month. It was much more successful than I thought. The Agile Results process has in more ways than one made me a responsible individual. The most important realizations for me at the end of it was

    • do not misuse time or take it for granted.
    • your mind is your best friend and your worst enemy.
    • the ideal world does not exist. You cannot achieve the best. There is always room to make it better. But the trick lies in identifying what works best for now. Be agile in determining the best.

    Starting with The Rule of Three
    I started by applying the Rule of 3. On the way to work, I decide on the three things I want to get done for the day. I restricted myself to one day only. I get distracted if I start thinking too far ahead. For the first week or so, I had trouble identifying the three best things for a day. I would either achieve it in the first hour of work or wouldn't be able to complete even 1 out of the 3. For example, I wanted to complete a module that would have been possible had it not been for a CR [change request] flowing in. Now, it would take me more than 2 days to finish it. My plan for the day went down the tube. Slowly, I began to realize that I had to be more granular. The granularity had to be such that it was independent enough to be completed in isolation and at the same time wasn't too small a puzzle to solve. For example, "complete and check-in functionality ABC in module XYZ". This way I'm assured of completing the three activities I want to perform. Also, I can add more if time permits.

    Timeboxing to Get a Handle on Time Management
    The next most important pattern was the Timeboxing a week. In other words, scheduling results for a week. Its a pretty simple yet strong pattern. Again, I misunderstood its importance when I started off. I used it more like a calendar. A reminder of bucket lists of sorts. Although it helps, there is something more that this pattern offers. JD was kind enough to point it out to me. He said to think of it like a strengths and weaknesses chart. It triggered a new way of thinking in me. I was now also looking at a week gone by and identifying times of the day, or days of the week where I was strong or weak, and displayed efficiency vs. laziness. And if this behavior was repetitive, odds are you have just plotted a pattern map. Ultimately this chart helps you make better use of your "Best" time, and look to improve upon your "Idle" time. Complementing the pattern above is the Mindsets pattern. JD uses the term switching hats or changing personas. This basically allows you to maximize the returns on "Idle" time by using them effectively in other ways. For example, I would be annoyed when someone disturbed me with something really stupid when I was doing great work. I would lose 10 minutes in the conversation and another 20 cursing the moron who started it off. After using the Mindsets pattern, I now use the 20 minutes of previously wasted time to walk out of my cubicle and stretch and relax. What it has allowed me to do is to concentrate on my exercise rather than the worthless discussion. Also, both my mind and body get a mini-refreshment.

    It’s How You Apply It
    I began to admire this [Agile Results] process because it was so flexible that I could take, leave or modify certain steps so that they fit my profile better. The goal is to understand the essence of the process and modify it to one's needs. I was pretty satisfied with the results and decided to do a trial run for life as well. A week later, the results came. It was a disaster. The worst part was when I couldn't figure out why it failed. I thought I must be doing something wrong and worked out the whole thing again. Another week went by and it was still not working. After giving it some thought and asking the right set of questions, I realized one fundamental part that I completely ignored in the application of this process to life - and that is setting minimum and maximum time to activities right from the most granular to the complete. Now, I re-did my strategy of application. In two weeks time I could see improvement. It was far from the final outcome. But bottom line, it had started to work. Now, it is unto me to make it successful. Like they say, success or failure lies in not what you have but how you apply what you have.

    Changing the Game a Practice or Principle at a Time
    Like I had stated earlier, the process works well even if I pick 1 out 10 steps as long as I believe it is going to be my game changer. You can add/remove steps any time. At the end of the day, you want your life to be better. And only you know what's best for you. In my case, the most important game changers were:

    1. Rule of 3.
    2. Monday, Friday reflection pattern.
    3. Timeboxing a week.
    4. Weekly results.
    5. Reward for results.

    Work Backwards from the End in Mind
    A very important by-product of this process is quick feedback. You get to know if you are on-track or tangential almost immediately. You can alter the course of your activities midway so long as you understand what you are doing and targeting. This is one of the very few processes that works its way backward, i.e. you look at the end and work your way back. This means you have a vision for what you want to achieve even before you start. This is a very positive way to look at things. The problem with thinking the other way is that my mind will give up very soon. It [Agile Results] is designed to choose the most optimal Traveling Salesman Problem (TSP) algorithm. And if the time to achieve is long, it will deem it unimportant and a waste of my time.

    It Starts the Journey
    In summary, this process has not turned my life upside down in terms of effectiveness and efficiency. But it has paved a path. Adopting it has not been easy at all, at least for me. But the ROI has been well worth it so far. There's no denying that it will only improve as time goes by and I continue to keep doing things the right way. If there is one thing I have to tell others about this process, it is that do not follow it like a horse. It is a guide, a mentor. Like my mother always tells me, God will help you get you good grades in your exam only if you prepare well for it and put all your energy into it. You cannot expect him to perform miracles out of nothing. Same goes to this process as well. Put your best foot forward and the rest will follow.

    My Related Posts

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    What is the Meaning of Life

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    I don’t know that I answered it for you, but you can check out my take on what is the meaning of life in my interview on Evolving Beings.

    The simple answer is – you make the meaning.

    The longer answer is that’s what the journey of life is all about.

    What is the meaning of life is a question that has plagued sages and fools and every one in between for a long time.  Some people find their answer too little, too late.  Some people never find their answer at all.  Don’t let that be you, and you can start right here, and start right now, if you haven’t figured it out already.

    At the end of the day, you are the author of your life and you write your story forward.  The truth is, you even re-write the stories of your past, as you learn more about yourself and as you gain perspective and insight on things.  Your lens on life, and your lens on YOU are two ways you actively unfold your story.  As you grow, your stories change, and that’s why fate can’t hold a candle to you.

    For me, I found that to answer the question to “What is the meaning of life?”, you actually have to ask a different set of questions.  In fact, that’s one of the secrets of life, the first or obvious question isn’t always the right question, and the trick is finding the right question to ask.  Our brains are powerful and resourceful things … we just have to put the right challenge or question in front of it.

    I’ll warn you up front that the interview is long, but I will tell you this that if you want to jump to the punch line, you can hop to the end of the article, and the answers are my gift to you.   They may not help you figure out what is the meaning of life, but they can help you figure out what is the meaning of YOUR life, and that my friends, is what life is really all about.

    Enjoy my long and winding tail of trials, tribulations, and triumphs as I write my story forward, and continue to explore, What is the Meaning of Life.

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Life Quotes

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    If you are an avid quote collector, as many continuous learners are, check out my collection of Life Quotes.

    I grouped the life quotes into key categories for easy browsing.  I used the following categories for my life quotes:

    • Challenges
    • Choices and Plans
    • Day to Day
    • Fun
    • Joy and Passion
    • How To Live
    • Learning and Growth
    • Life Is …
    • Mistakes and Regrets
    • Purpose and the Meaning of Life
    • The Good Life
    • The Value of Life

    I selected quotes from a variety of sources including Charles Shulz, Confucius, Emerson, Oprah, Tony Robbins, and more.  I’ll need to make another pass and find some life quotes from folks like Bruce Lee. 

    While there is always the idea of work and life, and the idea of work-life balance, I think that life is pervasive, and it permeates who we are and how we show up at work.  The line is a blur and I find the happiest people are those that can express their values on the job, and drive from their life style.  The opposite is also true.

    I rounded up the life quotes in a way that I think you will find to be very easy to scan and choose your favorites.  I do recommend first reading the the top 10, but then hopping around to find three that light your fire or wrinkle your brain in some way.  The best quotes hit a problem like a nail on the head.  The real beauty of life quotes though is that they take on meaning based on the meaning you give them.  It’s like when three people hear the same song, all have a different take away.  Quotes are like that.

    So please stop by, check out my Life Quotes collection, and share with me your favorite life quotes.  I’m always looking to fill my toolkit for life, and life really is better with the right words.

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Personal Development Lessons Learned from Jariek Robbins

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    Jariek Robbins, son of Tony Robbins, shares his personal development lessons learned.   I asked Jariek to write a guest post for me on his best lessons learned in personal development, and he slammed it home.  In his article, “How to Take the Ordinary and Turn it into EXTRAORDINARY!”, he shares how to deal with mundane, boring, and routine tasks, as well as draining activities, and turn them into sources of power and strength.

    I’ve long been a fan of Tony Robbins and his ability to “design” life and shape destiny with hard-core thinking skills.  I actually first learned about Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) from Tony Robbins which is basically a methodology for modeling excellence.   If you’re a developer, you’ll appreciate the idea of programming your mind by design, and changing your thoughts, feelings, and actions for your best results.  A lot of the Microsoft execs use NLP skills to improve their interpersonal effectiveness, from building rapport, to changing their inner-game, and reframing problems into compelling challenges.

    The other thing that Tony Robbins excels at his ability to ask the right questions.  Many people can just ask questions.  But there’s an art to asking the right questions, and getting deep insights with precision and accuracy.

    Jariek Robbins learned many of these skills from his father and uses them to shape his path forward, as well as to coach people and businesses to bring out their best.  By asking better questions and modeling success he can speed up results.

    Check out Jariek’s article and learn how to turn the ordinary into extraordinary.

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    25 Strategies for Getting Results

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    "Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results." -- Albert Einstein

    What you don’t know can hurt you and knowing the right strategies is like knowing the playbook for getting results.

    Strategies are a big picture perspective while tactics are a small picture perspective. You can think of the strategies as guiding approaches: they guide your tactics while you pursue your goals. You can use strategies to help design effective approaches and to evaluate potential practices, methods or techniques. Mix and match strategies, but keep in mind that sometimes strategies support each other, while other times they are competing. Ultimately, you must map relevant strategies to your situation.  Rather than try to decide or buy into a strategy, find a way to test and judge it based on your results.

    Here is a collection of 25 Key Strategies for Results from the book, Getting Results the Agile Way

    • Strategy 1: Outcomes over Activities
    • Strategy 2: Goals Are Vehicles
    • Strategy 3: Know the System
    • Strategy 4: Know the Cycle
    • Strategy 5: Treat Time as a Valuable Resource
    • Strategy 6: Fix Time, Flex Scope
    • Strategy 7: Diversify Your Results
    • Strategy 8: Next Best Thing to Do
    • Strategy 9: Value Delivered over Backlog Burndown
    • Strategy 10: Make It a Project
    • Strategy 11: Have a Strong Week
    • Strategy 12: Know Yourself
    • Strategy 13: Team Up
    • Strategy 14: Factor Thinking from Doing
    • Strategy 15: Factor Practice from Performance
    • Strategy 16: Measure Against Effectiveness
    • Strategy 17: Know What You’re Getting
    • Strategy 18: Model the Best
    • Strategy 19: Test Your Results
    • Strategy 20: Ask Better Questions
    • Strategy 21: Enjoy the Process
    • Strategy 22: Link It to Good Feelings
    • Strategy 23: Make the Most of What You’ve Got
    • Strategy 24: Teach What You Need to Learn
    • Strategy 25: Pave the Way Forward

    You can read an explanation for each of these strategies at 25 Key Strategies for Results.

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Move to the Cloud, Use the Cloud, or Be the Cloud

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    Mental models can really help you simplify how you think about a problem.  One of the more useful mental models I’ve come across while working across cloud solutions is: 

    … Move to the Cloud, Use the Cloud, and Be the Cloud.

    It’s a simple way to think about the role you play in the cloud arena, or the role the cloud plays in your arena.  Here’s a quick rundown of each one  …

    Move to the Cloud
    A “move to the cloud” leverages the cloud by moving software or data to the cloud.   An example of this would be building out Software as a Service offerings.  

    Use the Cloud
    Using the cloud is taking advantage of the cloud through consumption of some cloud services. This could be using another company’s SaaS, PaaS, or IaaS offerings to take advantage of the cloud benefits. You can benefit from the elastic capacity and increased flexibility.

    Be a Cloud
    Be a cloud refers to building cloud offerings for consumption by other partners (internal or external), or consumers. This is can be a SOA implementation, or building out a Private Cloud and offering services internally to other organizations within the same company.

    It’s a simple model, but I think it helps bring clarity to the table when people are talking about their cloud strategy.

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    4x4 Sources of Strength

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    “Success is how high you bounce when you hit the bottom.” -- General George S. Patton

    Life can have a lot of ups and downs and your ability to bounce back is one of the keys to your success.

    Here is a simple model I put together as part of my 30 Day Bootcamp on Getting Results to help you multiply your ability to bounce back in any situation:

    image

    I wasn’t sure whether to call my model a 4×4 Force Multiplier Frame or 4×4 Sources of Strength.   For now, I’m going with 4x4 Sources of Strength.

    If you know somebody who’s been knocked down and needs help getting back up, share this frame with them as a way to help them get back on their feet and find their sources of strength from the inside out.

    I tried to keep the model as simple as possible and easy to remember, while giving you a variety of sources of strength and energy to draw from.  I wanted this frame to serve as an “at a glance” reminder of how you are a force of one, from the inside out, as well as from the outside in.  Change your frame to change your game.

    Mind
    Here are some ways to bounce back with your mind:

    1. Focus on what you control and let the rest go.
    2. Like a rubber ball … Having the right mental model or metaphor is where it starts.  You can be like a rubber ball and bounce back from anything.
    3. Set limits on things.   If you let your body go until it crashes or runs out of steam, it can be too late.  You have to set limits either in terms of buffers or boundaries or timeboxes.
    4. Ask yourself, “What do you want your life to be about?”
    5. Turn resistance into your sparring partner.  Resistance is the enemy.  Respect it, but don’t let it wear you down.
    6. Visualize the prize.  If it works for Olympic athletes, it might just work for you.  Picture it, then make it so.
    7. Improve your self-talk.
    8. Change your beliefs.   Find a model or learn from others what some more empowering or useful beliefs might be.
    9. Change your focus.   You can change your focus by changing the question.
    10. Focus on what you control and let the rest go.
    11. Change your state.
    12. Know how to psyche yourself up.
    13. Don’t keep solving the same problems.  Burnout isn’t caused by working hard or working long hours.  It’s caused by working on the same problems or not making progress.
    14. Mentally prepare for it.   Simply resetting your own expectations can help you prepare for anything.  Hope for the best, but prepare for the worst.
    15. Choose to act strong
    16. Turn a setback into a defining moment.
    17. Take breaks.   Even little breaks interspersed can help you mentally, emotionally, or physically.
    18. Use your renewal patterns.   Maybe this means taking an afternoon siesta.  Find what works for you.
    19. Shake things up.   Sometimes the best way to break out of a rut is to shake things up.
    20. Shift to the future.
    21. Ask yourself, “Who’s in your corner?”
    22. Know that resistance is the enemy.
    23. Brace yourself and pace yourself.  You might have to chip away at the stone.
    24. Remember your heroes.
    25. Remember your shining moment.
    26. Play the right “head movies.”  If you keep playing the wrong scenes in your head, you wear yourself down.  Find a new scene or movie to play in your head that inspires you.

    Body
    Here are some ways to bounce back with your body:

    1. Allow for recovery.
    2. Take action.  Sometimes you have to take action first and then energy and motivation follow.  You can think of this as “fake it until you make it.”  This is especially true for me when I run.
    3. Play like a kid, sleep like a baby.   I heard Deepak Chopra say in an interview that children sleep like a baby because of their dynamic activity throughout the day. To know great rest, we need to know great activity and vice-versa.  I know for myself that if I don’t get my downtime, I go into a slump. I’m a fan of giving my all while I’m driving a project, and then taking a break after I ship.
    4. Avoid spiking your blood sugar.   Spiking your blood sugar is one of the worst ways to work against your body.  It creates higher highs, and lower lows.  You can reduce the roller-coaster effect by limiting your intake of things that have a high-glycemic index.  Another approach is to balance your ratios of fat, carbs, and protein, such as in the Zone Diet.
    5. Swap out starchy carbs for more fibrous ones.  This seems to be a pattern that helps a lot of people find more energy in a consistent way.
    6. Eat more frequent and smaller meals.   This is another way to balance your body’s needs throughout the day.   One pattern is to aim for having a small meal or snack throughout the day, such as every three hours.
    7. Respect your cycles.  We all have our up times and our downtimes, even throughout the day.   If you find you need more sleep, test giving yourself more sleep.   Know your peak energy cycles throughout the day and leverage those.
    8. Don’t bake bad habits in.  When Bruce Lee was “off” or he couldn’t practice a technique properly, he stopped.  The last thing he wanted to do was burn in a habit or practice that was ineffective.

    Emotions
    Here are some ways to better balance and bounce back with your emotions:

    1. Think the thoughts that serve you.  Your thoughts create your energy.
    2. Pull yourself forward by what you really want to do.
    3. Grow your compassion.  Keep your heart open.  One of the worst ways to kill your lust for life is to grow callous and cold.
    4. Hold yourself high.  Your physiology affects your emotions in a strong way.  Sometimes you need to smile before you feel happy.
    5. Believe in yourself.  This might mean as simple as deciding that you’ll “give it all you’ve got” and “whatever happens happens.”  You don’t have to put your focus on your ability.  You can put your focus on your effort or your determination.  Where you put your focus will change how you feel.
    6. Find your “why.”  This is how you light your fire from the inside out.  Don’t depend on external things to keep you going.  Root yourself firmly in your own foundation.
    7. Leverage your relationships and network.  There is strength in numbers or even just somebody who wants to listen.

    Spirit
    Here are some ways to bounce back with your spirit:

    1. Make it bigger than yourself.   Find a cause where you can put your focus on something you think is great.  Having a cause is a great way to get back on your horse or back up to bat.
    2. Do what you love or do what you were born to do.  Either way, you win.  If you can’t find your calling, then look for your unique contribution.
    3. Connect to your values.
    4. Immerse yourself in great literature or music.
    5. Find the synergy.  According to Stephen Covey, we unleash our spiritual intelligence when we combine meaning, integrity and contribution – by serving and lifting all stakeholders: customers, suppliers, employees and their families, communities, society — to make a difference in the world.
  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Why Some Companies Execute Better

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    Execution is king.  That’s what one of my most seasoned mentors taught me, early on at Microsoft.

    I’m always on the hunt for principles, patterns, and practices that improve execution, whether at the individual, team, or organization level.  Since I’ve joined the Microsoft Enterprise Strategy team, I get to take more of a balcony view across companies, and see different success patterns for execution.  It’s been very revealing how technology can help a business thrive.  It’s also been revealing how technology decisions can be a distraction or get in the way, if a company doesn’t have clarity on its strategy.

    In the book, Enterprise Architecture as Strategy: Creating a Foundation for Business Execution, by Jeane W. Ross, Peter Weill, and David C. Robertson, the authors share their perspective on why some companies execute better.

    You Do All the Right Moves, But You Still Can’t Get Ahead
    Competition is only getting tougher.  Ross, Weill, and Robertson write:

    “In short, you do everything the management literature says you should, but you still can’t get ahead.  And the signs aren’t encouraging for the future.  You see Chinese companies taking over manufacturing in industry after industry.  Indian companies providing more and more services.  Small, agile competitors from around the world picking off niche after niche in your markets.  Competition is only getting tougher.”

    Yet Some Companies Thrive
    Some companies thrive while others are lucky just to survive.  Ross, Weill, and Robertson write:

    “Yet some companies – some of your competitors – seem to be able not just to survive but to thrive.  In the face of tough global competition, companies like Dell, ING DIRECT, CEMEX, Wal-Mart, and others are growing and making money.  These companies have more-productive employees, get more from their investments, and have more success with their strategic initiatives.  What are they doing differently?

    They Have a Better Foundation for Execution
    They digitized operations and created a foundation for business agility.  Ross, Weill, and Robertson write:

    “We believe these companies execute better because they have a better foundation for execution.  They have embedded technology in their processes so that they can efficiently and reliably execute their core operations of the company.  These companies have made tough decisions about what operations they must execute well, and they’ve implemented the IT systems they need to digitize those operations.  These actions have made IT an asset rather than a liability and have created a foundation for business agility.”

    The question I think this brings to mind is, “Have you identified your core and critical operations, and clarified what to digitize?”

    This plays right into thinking about your cloud strategy.

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Higher Profitability, Faster Time to Market, and More Value from their IT

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    I’m an avid collector of proven practices for execution and getting results.  Execution is your best friend, among changing times and evolving landscapes, especially when you combine your execution with effective strategy.

    One of the key practices for successful companies is digitizing their core processes.  Digitizing your core processes can create higher profitability, reduce time to market, and get more value from your IT investments, while lowering your IT costs.  That may sound too good to be true, but that’s a taste of what some of the data is showing.  Regardless of the data, you may have experienced this yourself first-hand, if you’ve seen a company that really has it’s IT act together.

    In the book, Enterprise Architecture as Strategy: Creating a Foundation for Business Execution, by Jeane W. Ross, Peter Weill, and David C. Robertson, the authors write about the difference that makes some companies survive and thrive, while others fold.

    Higher Profitability, Faster Time to Market, and More Value from their IT
    Digitizing your core processes can help you in multiple ways.  Ross, Weill, and Robertson write:

    “We surveyed 103 U.S. and European companies about there IT and IT-enabled business processes.  Thirty-four percent of those had digitized their core processes.  Relative to their competitors, these companies have higher profitability, experience a faster time to market, and get more value from their IT investments.  They have better access to shared customer data, lower risk of mission-critical systems failures, and 80 percent higher senior management satisfaction with technology.  Yet, companies who have digitized their core processes have 25 percent lower IT costs.  These are the benefits of an effective foundation for execution.”

    Leading Edge Companies Pull Further and Further Ahead
    A good foundation for execution can help you focus, invest wisely, and get ahead.  Ross, Weill, and Robertson write:

    “In contrast, 12 percent of the companies we studied are frittering away management attention and technology investments on a myriad of (perhaps) locally sensible projects that don’t support enterprise wide objectives.   Another 48 percent of the companies are cutting waste from their IT budgets but haven’t figured out how to increase value from IT.  Meanwhile, a few leading-edge companies are leveraging a foundation for execution to pull further and further ahead.”

    Companies with a Good Foundation for Execution Have an Increasing Advantage
    A good foundation for execution is an exponential advantage.  Ross, Weill, and Robertson write:

    “As such statistics show, companies with a good foundation for execution have an increasing advantage over those that don’t.  In this book, we describe how to design, build, and leverage a foundation for execution.  Based on survey and case study research at more than 400 companies in the United States and Europe, we provide insights, tools, and language to help managers recognize their core operations, digitize their core to more efficiently support their strategy, and exploit their foundation for execution to achieve business agility and profitable growth.”

    I’ve seen the force multiplier of strategy+execution, and it’s no surprise why that is the difference that makes the difference between companies that thrive, and ones that die.

  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Achieve Cost-Effective Business Continuity

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    While putting together business scenarios for the cloud, one of the scenarios that came up is “achieve cost-effective business continuity.”  The business opportunity, solution, and benefits are summarized as follows:

    Opportunity

    Business continuity risk can be transferred to vendors by leveraging cloud solutions. Cloud providers can provide robust and less expensive business continuity solutions than businesses can achieve alone.

    Solution
    • Adopting a cloud service means the provider is responsible for disaster recovery. Cloud providers treat disaster recovery seriously as an outage impacts their bottom line.
    • Cloud services enable easy geo-availability. Applications can take advantage of datacenter geo-distribution without high investment or development overhead.
    • Cloud services provide capacity on demand. Utilizing cloud bursting helps address unpredictable usage spikes as systems resume operations after disaster recovery.
    • Reduce the cost of disaster recovery infrastructure. Replace parts of the dedicated disaster recovery infrastructure with cloud infrastructure.
    Benefits
    • Fast and SLA-based Recovery. Cloud capabilities provide a highly accessible disaster recovery infrastructure which can support near real-time recovery point and recovery time objectives when failing over from on-premises to cloud disaster recovery.
    • Boost Productivity. Any worker who can effectively telecommute can be productive in the cloud based disaster recovery scenario.
    • Lower Costs. Customers can maintain a hot-standby system for very little recurring cost and turn it up instantly in the event of a disaster.
  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Create New Revenue Streams from Existing Capabilities

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    While putting together business scenarios for the cloud, one of the scenarios that came up is “create new revenue streams from existing capabilities.”  The business opportunity, solution, and benefits are summarized as follows:

    Opportunity

    Monetize business capabilities as a revenue generator. Leveraging a cloud platform to achieve a business capability can prove profitable through extending the implementation for others to consume on a subscription basis.

    Solution
    • New revenue streams. Monetize existing capabilities through new channels to offset the cost.
    • White label a business capability. Extend existing applications as a consumable service to generate revenue.
    • Expose internal content. Create API’s into core systems to use internal content as a revenue stream.
    • Leverage consumption based pricing. Use cloud based pricing models to lower costs, risks and time.
    Benefits
    • Additional revenue streams. Find new revenue streams from existing capabilities and data by providing them as a service.
    • Maximize capital investments. Distribute unused capacity of Dynamic Data Center to other departments or customers.
    • Lower investments for new opportunities. Pursue opportunities without costs and lead times required by a traditional data center.
    • Increase market share. Use the public cloud to access new markets in previously unattainable geographies.
  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    Business Scenarios for the Cloud

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    While putting together lessons learned from our Enterprise Strategy cloud engagements, we consolidated a set of recurring business scenarios and themes.  You may find these useful if you are thinking about cloud opportunities from a business perspective, and are looking for some common patterns and perspectives.

    The following business opportunities reflect common motivation for Cloud migration:

    • Achieve cost-effective business continuity
    • Create new revenue streams from existing capabilities
    • Decrease power consumption
    • Decrease the time to market for new capabilities
    • Easily integrate new businesses into your organization
    • Improve operational efficiency to enable more innovation
    • Improve the connection with your customers
    • Provide elastic capacity to meet business demand
    • Provide Enterprise messaging from anywhere
    • Reduce upfront investment in new initiatives

    Achieve cost-effective business continuity
    Business continuity risk can be transferred to vendors by leveraging cloud solutions. Cloud providers can provide robust and less expensive business continuity solutions than businesses can achieve alone.

    Solution

    • Adopting a cloud service means the provider is responsible for disaster recovery. Cloud providers treat disaster recovery seriously as an outage impacts their bottom line.
    • Cloud services enable easy geo-availability. Applications can take advantage of datacenter geo-distribution without high investment or development overhead.
    • Cloud services provide capacity on demand. Utilizing cloud bursting helps address unpredictable usage spikes as systems resume operations after disaster recovery.
    • Reduce the cost of disaster recovery infrastructure. Replace parts of the dedicated disaster recovery infrastructure with cloud infrastructure.

    Benefits

    • Fast and SLA-based Recovery. Cloud capabilities provide a highly accessible disaster recovery infrastructure which can support near real-time recovery point and recovery time objectives when failing over from on-premises to cloud disaster recovery.
    • Boost Productivity. Any worker who can effectively telecommute can be productive in the cloud based disaster recovery scenario.
    • Lower Costs. Customers can maintain a hot-standby system for very little recurring cost and turn it up instantly in the event of a disaster.

    Create new revenue streams from existing capabilities
    Monetize business capabilities as a revenue generator. Leveraging a cloud platform to achieve a business capability can prove profitable through extending the implementation for others to consume on a subscription basis.

    Solution

    • New revenue streams. Monetize existing capabilities through new channels to offset the cost.
    • White label a business capability. Extend existing applications as a consumable service to generate revenue.
    • Expose internal content. Create API’s into core systems to use internal content as a revenue stream.
    • Leverage consumption based pricing. Use cloud based pricing models to lower costs, risks and time.

    Benefits

    • Additional revenue streams. Find new revenue streams from existing capabilities and data by providing them as a service.
    • Maximize capital investments. Distribute unused capacity of Dynamic Data Center to other departments or customers.
    • Lower investments for new opportunities. Pursue opportunities without costs and lead times required by a traditional data center.
    • Increase market share. Use the public cloud to access new markets in previously unattainable geographies.

    Decrease power consumption
    Reduce power costs and environmental impact through more efficient data center design and optimization. Leverage Cloud resources to outsource workloads gaining greater efficiencies and lower operating costs.

    Solution

    • Move workloads to the Cloud. Cloud providers gain greater power efficiency through economies of scale.

    Benefits

    • Lower costs. Reduce CapEx with fewer servers and reduce OpEx by powering fewer servers with greater efficiency.
    • Meet legislative regulations. Avoid non-compliance penalties and earn financial incentives by meeting government targets.
    • Minimize the impact of rising energy costs. Reduce the effect of unpredictable energy costs to future budgets by lowering consumption and increasing efficiency.
    • Reduce waste. Lowered energy consumption reduces the waste power generation.

    Decrease the time to market for new capabilities
    With the Cloud, the time to implement applications for pilot projects or production deployments is drastically reduced because of the reduction of environment and infrastructure concerns.  This accelerates the time from concept to execution for projects and allows organizations to explore more opportunities overall with much lower cost and risk.

    Solution

    • Quickly create new environments. Cloud-based Infrastructure enables organizations to create new environment in minutes instead of weeks.
    • Accelerate development efforts. The level of effort to develop applications is reduced as organizations can focus on functionality instead of plumbing.
    • Reduce the maintenance cost of new applications. Leveraging PaaS increases the consistency between applications and reduces the set of variables for troubleshooting and maintenance even when developed by 3rd parties.

    Benefits

    • Try more ideas more quickly. With the ability to deploy new capabilities at a much reduced cost, the customer can try out more ideas without fear of a costly failure. If the customer deploys five capabilities for the price of one, they dramatically increase their odds for success.
    • Quickly react to competitive threats. With the ability to quickly create and scale capabilities, the customer can quickly respond by launching a competitive offering.
    • Reduce costs. The new applications will have a reduced cost for maintenance and support because of the consistency provided by a common platform with IaaS/PaaS.

    Easily integrate new businesses into your organization
    Move people onto core systems with self-provisioning. Reduce business disruptions with flexible online business services. Accelerate speed to value by connecting across network and organizational boundaries to integrate acquired systems.

    Solution

    • Integrate organizations with shared productivity tools.
    • Host commonly accessible productivity tools in the Cloud.
    • Securely store and expose business information. Use Cloud services and federated ID’s to expose data.
    • Integrate data and processes quickly. Expose disparate systems and data using the Cloud and federated security.
    • Integrate instead of migrate. Cloud services federated security helps avoid migrating systems and organizations.

    Benefits

    • Increase the speed of value realization. Time to value is greatly reduced from acquired business.
    • Quickly integrate staff. Reduce integration time for the staff from the acquired organization into the corporate systems and functions.
    • Shorten the transition period. Greatly reduce the time required to achieve organization and business stability.
    • Consumption-based pricing. Pricing of Cloud services allows better prediction of the operating cost of new business.

    Improve operational efficiency to enable more innovation
    Enable investment to be prioritized on strategic initiatives through efficient use of available budget. Enable the business to make informed decisions through cost transparency for each IT solution and increase the accuracy in business cases for new initiatives.

    Solution

    • Sourcing strategy from the Cloud. Reduce complexity and operational spending by moving commodity services to the Cloud.
    • Gain efficiencies through shared services. Providing IaaS or PaaS provides standardization and scale while removing redundancy.
    • Increase automation of operational tasks. Create a dynamic data center that leverages shared infrastructure/platform and automated management.

    Benefits

    • Decrease headcount focus on operational tasks. Move commodity services to the Cloud. Increase use of shared services and automation so that fewer people are required for repetitive operational tasks.
    • Gain efficiencies: Latest technology without the need to upgrade, economies of scale, decreased deployment time.
    • Free up resources to focus on business innovation: More headcount available to work on innovation, strategic projects, and execution, more agility to better react on business requests / changes.

    Improve the connection with your customers
    Integrating systems through the use of Cloud services is often easier and lowers the barrier to entry compared with on-premises solutions. When integration is easier, organizations can provide more information to customers. This in turn increases satisfaction, loyalty and revenue.

    Solution

    • Connect systems to provide a single view for customers. Technology deployed in the Cloud can bring together data easily and seamlessly.
    • Designed for external connectivity. Cloud services are designed for public consumption making it easy to expose information to customers.
    • Lower time to market.  Cloud integration is often easier to adopt which decreases the time to develop solutions.

    Benefits

    • Create new interfaces into business. The flexibility Cloud computing offers, provides opportunities to expose new data for customers.
    • Increase customer satisfaction. Making data available for customers.
    • Extend the reach of the business. Open new markets through global availability of data.
    • Increase the time employees spend with customers.  Readily available data empowers employees to spend less time searching and more time working with customers.

    Provide elastic capacity to meet business demand
    Leverage the on-demand consumption model of the Cloud to quickly provision and de-provision resources as needed. Increase agility by enabling your organization to react to an urgent business need quickly by applying Cloud-based resources.

    Solution

    • Operate at a higher level and scale incrementally. Use Cloud services to right-size capabilities and focus on driving core business value.
    • Overflow capability. Use the Cloud as a pressure release valve for IT organizations that might have insufficient personnel or are out of power and space.
    • Elastic and scalable. Cloud computing’s ability to quickly provision and de-provision services creates an elastic, scalable resource. Pay only for the services used.

    Benefits

    • Respond more quickly to business needs. Additional capacity can be added rapidly as needed.
    • Effectively scale capability up and down. Scaling down prevents paying for unused capacity.
    • Reduce your IT infrastructure and management costs. Leverage a Cloud provider for infrastructure and management.
    • Cost of failure is minimized.  If the project is cancelled, wasted up front capital investment is not as significant.
    • Risk of unexpected growth is minimized. On demand capacity from the Cloud service.

    Provide Enterprise Messaging from Anywhere
    Secure, reliable, timely access to the latest enterprise class messaging from anywhere helps maintain and improve corporate based productivity and manage overall, per user messaging costs.

    Solution

    • Migrate messaging to the Cloud. As appropriate, move workers from on-premises messaging to Cloud software services.
    • Self-provisioning. Provide self-provisioning for remote workers, suppliers, and partners.
    • Automatic upgrades. Avoid business disruption and allow IT to focus on higher value areas.
    • Segmentation of user types. Allow a more granular control of features per user group.

    Benefits

    • Rapid onboarding. Quick provisioning of external, temporary and new workers increases their productivity and reduces IT burden.
    • Resource elasticity. Enable growing or variable businesses to lower costs and the impact of changes.
    • Reliability. Negotiated and guaranteed uptime.
    • Predictable, reduced costs.  Reduce both upfront and ongoing cost and make costs more transparent and predictable.
    • Most recent features. Users can always take advantage of the latest features because of real time upgrades.

    Reduce Upfront Investment in New Initiatives
    Reduce the size of investment required to launch new initiatives and align the cash-flow requirements with actual solution adoption over time. Reduce the risk associated with upfront investments.

    Solution

    • Software-as-a-Service. Replace existing software with a SaaS public Cloud offering.
    • Platform-as-a-Service. Use PaaS offerings to begin developing new solutions without new infrastructure.
    • Infrastructure-as-a-Service. Move existing infrastructure to the Cloud through IaaS offerings.

    Benefits

    • Reduction in capacity planning expense. This removes much of the complexity surrounding the planning of data centers, SKU management, and contract management.
    • Reduction in hardware, software, and real estate expense. The Cloud can reduce or eliminate the need for upfront investment in infrastructure for new initiatives.
    • Align cost with solution adoption. The cash-flow requirements of a new solution become directly tied to adoption of the solution.
  • J.D. Meier's Blog

    IT Scenarios for the Cloud

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    “I think it is one of the foundations of the next generation of computing." -- Tim O'Reilly

    While putting together lessons learned from our Cloud-related Enterprise Strategy engagements, we consolidated a set of recurring IT scenarios and themes.  You may find these useful if you are thinking about cloud opportunities from an IT perspective, and are looking for some common patterns and perspectives.

    IT scenarios for the Cloud are technical scenarios that can ultimately be linked back to business scenarios. For any given business scenario, one or more IT scenarios can be defined that expose a clearer picture of how the enabling technologies can be used to reach a solution.

    The following are key scenarios to be aware of from an IT perspective. These highlight the alignment of Cloud opportunities with common growth, deployment and management trends.

    IT Scenarios for the Cloud

    Cloud IT scenarios are organized into the following categories:

    • Business Intelligence
    • Cloud Computing
    • Consumerization of IT
    • Corporate Environmental Sustainability
    • Innovation for Growth
    • Low-Cost Computing in the Enterprise

    Business Intelligence
    The use of business intelligence is a recognized way to enable a company to make insightful choices and thereby improve effectiveness. The Cloud is a means to lower the barrier to entry for these technologies. In the Cloud, datacenter overhead is mitigated by a pay-as-you-go model and the total cost of ownership (TCO) for business intelligence is lowered.

    The primary tenants of this scenario are:

    • Empower your people with business insights
    • Improve organizational effectiveness
    • Enable IT efficiency

    Cloud Computing
    The Cloud enables customers to deliver connected experiences by delivering applications or solutions that leverage enterprise-class services of Cloud platforms.

    The primary tenants of this scenario are:

    • Trust in enterprise-class services
    • Deliver consistent, connected experiences
    • Harness the power of choice

    Consumerization of IT
    This scenario focuses on the evolution of corporate IT environments towards a user-centric computing model. User devices and personal devices entering the workplace are changing the IT landscape. Enabling these devices consequently enables the users and ultimately promotes an innovative workplace.

    The primary tenants of this scenario are:

    • Boost productivity with new ways of connecting and sharing
    • Stay competitive as an innovative company and workplace
    • Deliver IT flexibility while managing security

    Corporate Environmental Sustainability
    Green IT is a testament to the active rethinking of business practices throughout the industry. Beyond pure ecological impact, corporations are achieving significant savings through smart use of technology.

    The primary tenants of this scenario are:

    • Reduce energy demands
    • Manage energy and environmental footprint
    • Rethink business practices

    Innovation for Growth

    An investment in tools, processes, and culture can drive innovation and grow a business through new products, services, and/or processes. For nearly every enterprise, innovation is critical to long-term success. Investing to drive innovation can improve a business’s competitiveness and help it thrive in a challenging economy and shifting business landscape.

    The primary tenants of this scenario are:

    • Engage: Widen the idea pipeline
    • Evolve: Turn ideas into action
    • Evaluate and execute: Optimize return on investment (ROI) and business value

    Low-Cost Computing in the Enterprise
    This scenario is centered on IT efficiency and lowering the cost of business. Savings are achieved by reducing both capital expenditures and operating expenditures. Costs are cut out of IT infrastructure and operations through more efficient use of hardware and software, standardized configurations, and streamlined management.

    The primary tenants of this scenario are:

    • Maximize the efficiency of your IT infrastructure
    • Use technology to lower the cost of doing business
    • Take advantage of technology delivery innovation

    Common Scenario Patterns for the Cloud


    When reviewing successful Cloud implementations, the following patterns are common scenarios:
    • Growing Fast
    • On and Off Bursting
    • Unpredictable Bursting
    • Predictable Bursting

    In general you can think about the Cloud as an application that fits one of these patterns. Use these patterns to analyze and test potential Cloud scenarios for success. For example, the “On and Off Bursting” scenario is optimal for testing because you can run the application on premises and in the Cloud concurrently.

    Growing Fast

    clip_image002

    Archetype(s):

    • Startup companies
    • Viral applications and agents - Designed for 100, wanted by 20,000

    Characteristics:

    • Successful services that need to grow/scale
    • Keeping up with growth is a big IT challenge
    • Complex lead-time for deployment

    The Growing Fast pattern is typically represented by a startup company that begins with a minimal IT footprint, but quickly scales up their offerings as demand increases. Similarly, companies that might underestimate usage of their product might need to rapidly scale IT capabilities. Customers get to bypass the overhead costs of hardware and management, and focus on delivering business value.

    On and Off Bursting

    clip_image004

    Archetype(s):

    • Off-hours number crunching/computation jobs

    Characteristics:

    • On and off workloads (e.g. Batch jobs)
    • Over-provisioned capacity is wasted
    • Time to market can be cumbersome

    The On and Off Bursting pattern is commonly represented by a company needing batch processing or computation. For example, a big challenge for hedge funds is acting quickly on data or emerging events. Cloud computing offers the opportunity to come to book large numbers of machines for a short period of time to conduct analysis. The Cloud allows on-demand resource usage that removes the need for heavy capital expenditures on hardware that will sit idle for large portions of its lifespan.

    Unpredictable Bursting

    clip_image006

    Archetype(s):

    • Marketing campaigns

    Characteristics:

    • Unexpected/Unplanned peak in demand
    • Sudden spike impacts performance
    • Cannot over-provision for extreme cases

    The Unpredictable Bursting pattern occurs when scaling is not predictable. For example, an eCommerce site specialized in selling sporting goods for Spain’s soccer team after they won the World Cup. The Web site traffic surge due to this win was not predictable, and an inability to service the demand spike would cause a substantial loss in revenue opportunity. A site deployed in the Cloud could have additional servers provisioned in short order, or even be designed to dynamically scale server instances to follow the demand curve.

    Predictable Bursting

    clip_image008

    Archetype(s):

    • Seasonally driven eCommerce sites

    Characteristics:

    • Services with micro-seasonal trends
    • Peaks due to periodic increased demand
    • IT complexity and wasted capacity

    The Predictable Bursting pattern occurs when workload scales up and down based on a predictable pattern. An example of this might be a salary or payroll firm. On set intervals such as the 1st and 15th of each month, there is a spike in demand for computing power to process the payroll. By using the Cloud, the necessary computing power can be scaled to meet the demand, and then subsequently scaled back again to save expenses during the lower demand period.

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