User Story Mapping, book, Agile, design

User Story Mapping by the book

All design, whether PowerPoint deck, website, software, product, operating model, or Thanksgiving dinner, is an effort to deliver experience. Experience can range from bad to good to exceptional and where you land along that range depends on how well the designer understands their audience need. When design fails end-user need: We waste time, We waste effort, Frustration builds, and Trust is lost A User Story creates better understanding. Before development starts, a user-story and a user story map provides design a view of user journey to solution. User Story Mapping, as a software development tool, aims to focus design teams on users and user needs. But you say “I am not a software designer?” and I say, “everything we do is design, read on friend”. Any effort to improve design is a wise investment for: Trainers, Organization development, Communications, Marketing, and Beyond In short, this is …

Being Agile by the book

Our digital world demands ‘just in time’ connection, transparency, and community engagement. In an agile environment, classic project mindset and process are challenged to meet Agile method and Agile practice. Agile – Your Roadmap to Successful Adoption of Agile by international speaker and Agile raconteur Mario Moreira is a book to help cross the Agile chasm. This book takes Agile beyond the way you “do Agile” to the way you “become Agile”. … if you reach every scheduled release date, you bring the project in on budget, and you build it with quality, but you do not build features that customers want, they will not buy it and you have failed. This is why I contend that if you align your culture and processes around building customer value (e.g., what customers need and when they need it), then you will …

more beautiful question, berger, book, Toby Elwin, blog

A More Beautiful Question by the book

People are born to inquire and to discover. Between two to five years old a child asks 40,000 questions.

Then we are taught to stop asking, stop seeking, and stop inquiring.

Questions are the fuel of curiosity.

Seems the concern is more about the answer and we have lost the patience for questions. Questions challenge authority. The impact: no questions, no innovation.

From the board room to a bored room, there is much to gain from Warren Berger’s new book, A More Beautiful Question.

capable company, book, cover, Toby Elwin, blog

The Capable Company by the book

When I hear capability model I think competence, competence naturally leads me to motivation. So, capability model, to me, represents a human capital knowledge, ability, and skills framework.

Enterprise, systems, or business architects, view capability models as what a company needs to do to execute strategy.

Any link is a system link and strategy is only as good as the ability to execute. Within the pages of The Capable Company: Building the capabilites that make strategy work, I intend to find capability model methods that identify business and technical details needed for strategic links to execute those capabilities.

Heretics Guide to Best Practices, cover, book, Toby Elwin, blog

Heretic’s Guide to Best Practices by the book

A look at what other’s have done to achieve success certainly offers a chance to avoid the aches and scrapes of heading into the unchartered wild of learning.  Surely there is a needed guide to best practices. In business, learning the hard way may come at the cost of professional or organization survival.  It is a jungle out there. Instead of winding your way through the bush to create a new trail, take a shortcut others have used, save time, as logic goes.  Time is money. In business a shortcut to a new option is a best practice.  Anyone in an organization today has heard about another’s best practice.  Usually best practice comes up to frame a challenge – a big challenge: “I read about this organization that also wanted to … “ “This happened at a Fortune 10 company and they did … …

identify, managing, project risk, Toby Elwin, blog, Tom Kendrick

Identifying and Managing Project Risk by the book

The ability to scope, manage, and view a project, from concept to delivery, through a risk lens, presents the essence of organization competitive advantage.

The opposite of project effectiveness bogs down organization capital, both human and financial, through a cycle of change requests that drain human and financial resources and staff motivation who now need to focus how to get a wrong project right.

agile ux, book, cover, Toby Elwin, blog

Agile Experience Design by the book

This year I have found software, hardware, and product design fascinating for my Organization Development professional development.  The reality is we are all designers:  we design emails, PowerPoint presentations, facilitation, training programs, change management initiative, just as a minute sample. The constant challenge remains what is our audience need and how do we answer an audience’s mental model in a battle to understand:  What’s In It For Them? (WIIFT?).  To design for this is the key to muster their motivation. This book delivers insight into Agile project management methodology that integrates customer involvement far earlier, as well as constant iteration process that provides maximum value in minimum time, who wouldn’t gain?  Think change management as you read this excerpt: [designers need to] … check every decision, every action, and process throughout the product development life cycle and ask, “Where’s the value?” We need to …

Frank Barrett, leadership, Appreciate Inquiny

Yes to the Mess: Surprising Leadership Lessons from Jazz by the book

Frank Barrett, is an active jazz pianist leading trios and quartets as well as touring the United States, England, and Mexico with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra.

Frank Barrett, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Management and Organizational Behavior at the Naval Post Graduate school. Yes to the Mess is a journey through the power of music and the possibility of messiness. Frank correlates this mess to organization development, design, and possibility of innovation, managing highly-talented individuals, group communication, vision, and team dynamics.

Yes to the Mess is not just a book on jazz, but an organization behavior book, a leadership book, and a team development book.

Trust Agents, book cover, Chris Brogan, Julien Smith, Toby Elwin

Trust Agents by the book

In 2008 I was lucky to live in Kenmore Square, Cambridge, MA. Firstly, Cambridge is a great city to live in, both as a single person and with a family – just a great quality of life. Secondly, two streets away from where I lived was a company, called HubSpot, that was really coming on the social media scene. What makes HubSpot fantastic is commitment to free service and free education to any and all willing and wanting to learn about search engine optimization, Web 2.0, social media marketing, and search engine marketing, and the tools, insights, and principles bubbling around the digital and inbound marketing social media scene. Luck, as well, that through the HubSpot team I was introduced to the thinkers and pioneers in the field, all approachable all evangelists for transparency and all willing to share any discovery they made with you. I discovered …

1812, book, George Daughan, blog, Toby Elwin

1812: The Navy’s War by the book

I love history. Leaders, in trying times and challenges making pivot-point decisions that shape and impact states and people. Games people play that reverberate for decades and centuries, from a people and systems development frame, fascinates me. I read history and see organization development, leadership coaching, and strategic planning and wonder how  personalities and politics frame decisions and how I might analyze, recommend, or design a solution had I been a present. Currently, I am drawn to review the United States’ history, from experimental governing conception.  Earlier I wrote about A Leap in the Dark: The Struggle to Create the American Republic as a fascinating, well-written, engaging, and dynamic read for anyone — talk about change management. Where Leap in the Dark took me from the birth of the U.S.A. to the dawn of the Jefferson’s presidency, this book picks up at the dawn of Jefferson’s presidency.  For …

resonant leadership, cover, book, boyatzis, mckee, Toby Elwin, blog

Resonant Leadership by the book

Previously, Boyatzis and McKee collaborated on the book Primal Leadership:  Learning to Lead with Emotional Intelligence. In Resonant Leadership again team to provide solutions and incentives to fuel, as well as arm, people around values and importance of leadership introspection and coaching. It is too simplistic to say this book presents the cost of leadership lack of awareness, known as dissonance, has on previously successful high potentials.  More provides a return path to life as envisioned before dissonance.  Through case studies, as well as cited and studied research, the importance resonant leaders have on a team and an organization’s success. The book presents a case for awakening resonant principles for renewal of self and renewal of relationships; and everything in business is a relationship. The book also serves as a guide, a strategy, and a plan that scales from individual to enterprise need or for executive …

Games Primates Play, book, Dario Maestripieri, Toby Elwin, blog

Games Primates Play by the book

If the title does not intrigue enough, how about the subtitle:  Undercover Investigation of the Evolution and Economics of Human Relations. Ok, I might admit it seems the book and the content a bit off-center or, perhaps, too … academic. But really, truly, the book is a great view into how, despite our iPads, our suits, and our underarm deodorant, we are not too terribly evolved in our social interactions from fellow primates. I wrote a quick post on an article, found at Fast Start – Why your boss really is an ape and then picked the book up. Games Primates Play Fascinating, and strange, way to view office politics, meeting interactions, and email threads, as exchanges and interactions, not far afield, or evolved, so-to-speak, from monkeys. Consider this both an opportunity for your very own field study as well as a terribly, fascinating read deep on …

About Face, Alan Cooper, Robert Reimann, David Cronin, Toby Elwin, community persona, blog

About Face 3: The Essentials of Interaction Design by the book

Originally written in 1995, About Face 3 is the 2007, third edition of this book by authors, Alan Cooper, Robert Reimann, and David Cronin. For decades these three think, work, and advocate “knowing what the user wants” as they advocate interaction design form, function, content, and behavior concepts. Interaction design, is many times limited to hardware and software application and interface design; look to Apple as a recent beacon for intuitive interaction design. My research on buyer and community persona for organization strategy and development blog series led discovery of other design-thinking strategies pioneers: David Meerman Scott for web site marketing and design; Adele Revella for organization marketing and sales, and Lene Nielsen for user experience and buyer persona development. However, there were a set of other perspectives, generally thought of from the software, developer, hardware side of the fence. Most notable of these proponents was Alan Cooper, Robert Reimann, and David Cronin. Goal-oriented …

Appreciative Leadership, book, cover, whitney, trosten-bloom, rader

Appreciative Leadership by the book

Appreciative Inquiry is on a short-list of prime influences for my management, relationship, facilitation, change management, and organization behavior work. I have written blogs on Appreciative Inquiry a lot, but I find the constant default to deficit-based diagnostics and problem-solving relationships leaves me in need to recharge. The preference to look where things are correct, magnify people modeling what works, and shine a light where interactions model possibility is where I prefer the focus and this book lends the model to appreciative leadership. I’ve read Diana Whitney repeatedly and this book was a logical addition. Business assets appreciate when leaders appreciate.  This is a route to sustainable results.  Leadership is not a title given, leadership is a competency observed by others.  Leadership comes from all levels. Read More Books See a more current set of books on my reading list heavy rotation page.