Sometimes a Kind Word is Enough…

I will be honest with you all. Being an Agile Coach, as rewarding as it is, has its moments where you just want to bang your head against the wall. Like with any job, you will eventually have days in which everything goes wrong.

Last Monday I had one of those days. Where I had planned a good session with one of my scrum teams, it got shot down due to the fact the team had spend the morning in discussion with various people instead of refining the user stories for our first sprint.

Of course, as a coach you try to facilitate the process and make the best of it. Being Agile means being able to adapt when plans get shot down and so I did. The result was a 3 hour session in which we did refinement and planning, with me walking a fine line trying to keep the team on track, while still giving them space to make their own decisions so that they can come with a work load that they can commit to. In the end we managed to get just that.

Of course you can be happy with a result, but at that moment I was drained and a bit frustrated. The hard part as a coach is not to project your frustration onto your team because it would only influence the team in a negative way. You need to let it go, but Agile Coaches are human beings, too.

That is why it was all the more pleasant to get a compliment of one of the senior members of the team for my part in facilitating the process and keeping everyone on target. It really made my day to have someone recognise the effort you put in on behalf of the team and confirm that even though it was taxing it paid off.

I get my energy from watching my teams grow and become better and definitely don’t seek recognition for its role, but an earnest compliment goes a long way in recharging your battery.

A new beginning, starting with Why

In April I got the notice that the department within Sanoma I work for would no longer exist, starting July 1st. Me, and a dozen co-workers have been thanked for our services. It’s been a hectic and weird few months as a result.

I want to stress that this event couldn’t have come at a better moment in time for me. I’ve been at Sanoma for over 11 years but the last year has been one of revelation and personal transformation. At the root cause, the Agile Expert program I’ve been following for the last year.

Continue reading A new beginning, starting with Why

Password Management: Getting my Digital Act Together

I’ve got a confession to make: I’ve only just now started using a password manager. There, I said it. It was about time I got off my ass and fix this mess that’s my digital identity once and for all.

The reason why should be obvious: these times require strong and unique passwords, that are virtually impossible to remember if done correctly. You will need a tool to keep track of it all.

The reason why I haven’t done this until now is part procrastination, part feeling overwhelmed by the daunting task of figuring out where the hell I’ve left my identity. Moreover the task lacked a sense of urgency so it moved from my immediate to-do list to my bucket list… until lat week, that is.

The trigger for getting off my ass was a e-mail message I received from; someone had managed to hack their way into their database and gained access to information including encrypted passwords. If I’ve learned anything from the past is that encrypted passwords only take so long to break, so changing passwords was imperative.

But the real problem is, that combined with a known e-mail address and a potentially compromised password, you can log into a lot more sites than this one. I’d used that password on other sites as well (which tends to happen if you have to memorise them), which were compromised as well.

So it was time to get my act together. I’ve browsed around a bit for a password manager that was reasonably priced and highly regarded. I ended up choosing for Lastpass because it seemed to offer all I need for a good price (12 USD/jr if you want mobile support). It also comes with a nice security challenge that gives you a higher score for every step you take to make passwords stronger and unique, which is just the type of thing my OCD-self needs to get my shit organised.

So I am now gradually upgrading my accounts across the web to have unique strong passwords. Better late than too late, I suppose. But more importantly, it will make my life a lot easier in the future when making accounts, or updating passwords when another hack occurs.

My advise: don’t wait, just do it. There is no reason not to do it and you gain from not doing it will be regret.