Scrum

A few weeks ago, we were told that we would be implementing Scrum in our department and this would mean that our departmental sections would meet for up to 15 minutes each day to do the following:

  • Each member reports what they did the previous day
  • Each member reports what they have scheduled to do today
  • Each member reports any obstacles they see to accomplishing their tasks for today

There is a Scrum Master which keeps things going.  Everyone stands, during the Scrum, as this encourages the brevity of the meeting.  If a topic becomes too detailed, the SM calls it to the “parking lot” which means those involved should meet afterwards to continue the discussion in greater detail.  If an item is completely off topic, the SM call it a “rat hole” and you go on to the next topic.  The Scrum is supposed to start on time and everyone is to be on time to participate.

It is only a little over a week and we’ve already had a SM forget the time, and be on a call with someone at Scrum start time.  Several people come to the meeting late.  Several people have other things scheduled and do not show up at all.  And probably the worst, for me, as everyone talks about what they have done & plan to do, I am painfully aware that what they do and what I do have almost nothing to do with each other.  So, rather than engendering collegiality, I feel a sense of isolation as a result of the daily Scrum.  **I’ve asked, is the Scrum supposed to engender collegiality, or be for information sharing, to which I was told, “both.”

Yesterday, I decided to do a little online “Scrum” research.  I quickly realized that what we had implemented as Scrum was totally devoid of the reason why Scrum was invented.  Scrum is a framework in which various processes and techniques are employed with a goal of effective & efficient software/product development.

We are using the interactive techniques, but not with the purpose of reaching a shared goal.  As such, it AIN’T Scrum!  Collegiality and info sharing are by-products of the Scrum process, but the goal is to reach a level of shared “Done”-ness which should be a working software or product.

A Scrum Team should consist of members with skill sets that, in combination, cover all the skills required for a successful Sprint.  A Sprint being a 30 days (or less) window for the process & completion of a “Done” product iteration.  The members agree upon what “Done” means.  **”…the heart of a Scrum is the software/product being worked on…”

I meet with other staff that are working on projects on the Administrative side, not Academic.  If your group is not working on a common project, then each person is focused upon what they are doing/have done and instead of breaking down silos, what could emphasize more, the solitary nature of what each person is working on daily, than to meet to talk about each person’s work?

 

The Remorseful Day

The problem with “cliff-hanging” Endeavour is that you know how your main character turns out. He’s not going to die, nor remain convicted in prison for the rest of his life.

The Remorseful Day is about as bleak an ending for a main character as I can recall. Pretty close to life-like. Morse is old, in poor health, abandoned by his late love. The shine is off for the brilliant detective, reconciled to bird watching for the remainder of his “miserable” life. Even Lewis knows more about birding than Morse, their roles reversed. And, how life-like, Morse dies and Lewis can’t even be there because his profession calls. Well done!

I’ve never been good at working crossword puzzles, my feeble attempt at appreciating Opera failed,  I don’t like the taste of beer, and I work alone (for the most part), daily, solving small problems.

I’ve recently enjoyed poring over many of the 360 degrees images of Oxford University college buildings via the Virtual Tour of Oxford.  Did I even know what Michaelmas or Open Admission was before that?  But I am impressed that there are tunnels used to port books between the various Bodleian libraries.

Still, I’ve reached a time in my life, “old age” and find myself watching stability leave my life with ever increasing speed.  Nothing really important has gone lately, but little things.

I’ve lived in Fayetteville, North Carolina for almost twenty years.  I started work at Fayetteville State University on August 7th, 1995.  About six months ago, I passed by a Hardee’s fast-food restaurant, either going to or from work, and realized it had closed.  I saw a note on one door, from a distance.  Wondered what the note said, but never made a detour to read the note.  The building has remained empty.

20140713_091027One morning after breakfast, about three or four months ago, I got in my car and headed past Independence Mall.  As I looked opposite the Mall, I saw that the Golden Corral was gone.  Well, most of it was gone, and it had been there less than a week before.  I quickly made a right turn and came around into what had been the restaurant’s parking lot.  There was still wreckage of the building in heaps, and heavy equipment parked nearby.  I saw no sign of fire.  I took a couple of pictures and then left.

I found that plans were in the works to build a new Golden Corral on the same location.

Less than a week ago, as I was having lunch at another Golden Corral (across town), DeWayne, a long-time waiter there, told me that the current location 20141020_131644would be closing after the coming Sunday.  He and others were to be transferred over to the new location.  *I’m not sure if it is open, or will be opened before closing the current location.  Still two long-time restaurants that I have visited regularly for almost 20 years have/will disappear.

I was born on my cousin, Mary Ann (Kellum) Sharpe’s sixteenth birthday.  I think I recall that she has been married to her husband, James “Jim” F. Sharpe for almost 50 years.

I like Tom Selleck as an actor.  I have especially enjoyed the character, Jessie Stone.  But, I have noted how old the actor has become.

In addition to liking Inspector Morse, Inspector Lewis and Endeavour, I am a fan of Midsomer Murders.  I’ve enjoyed John Nettles, but had noted that in his last episodes he was looking old.

Butterscotch AMC Pacer

1979 AMC PacerI was reading online this morning and came across an article about the 10 Worst Automobiles that should have never made it on the road.  There at #1 was the AMC Pacer, and the photo illustration could have been of the very one that we (my mother) had purchased in 1979 in Jacksonville, NC.  I don’t recall the exact name of the dealership, but it was something like “Coastal Motors” and Jere Pelletier was the owner.  The dealership was located on the north end of town on Highway 17/Marine Blvd.

I believe one sales slogan for the Pacer was, “the first wide small car.”  We bought a butterscotch colored vehicle.  The rear had a hatchback and there was alot of glass all around.

One odd event that I recall happened on a Saturday morning.  My mother and I got up early and drove the Pacer to the dealership.  We rolled up to the front door and stopped.  We both got out of the car, and there was a newspaper on the ground.  We picked up the paper and walked into the showroom (the door was partially open) and went over and sat down in a couple of chairs along the wall.  Mom gave me a section of the paper, and/or we traded off the sections.  I don’t think either of us thought that it was unusual that no one had come out to greet us.  We probably thought they were in the back doing whatever it takes to get ready for customers.

At some point, when I had finished reading the paper, I got up and looked around the corner to see if I could see anyone.  The light was on in a back office, and as I walked back to it, I saw that there was a safe, and near it was a green Acetylene tank & torch.  I noted that the safe had been turned on its side, and broken into with part of it peeled back.  It was then that an odd feeling came over me.

I must have come back to my mother and told her what I had seen.  We went outside and got into the Pacer.  We had to go down the road a little to find a telephone.  I don’t recall now if we stopped at a phone booth, or if we stopped into another business and called from there, but we talked with Law Enforcement.  We reported what we had seen and then drove back to the car dealership to wait.

We waited and no one came.  We then went back to call and then were told that because the dealership was outside of the town (Jacksonville) that no officer had been sent out.  *We must have talked with the City of Jacksonville Police Department first, but because of a jurisdictional issue, they had dropped the ball.   I guess we then called the Onslow County Sheriff’s Department, and went back to wait.

My mother died in December of 1980, and I continued to drive the Pacer even when I went up to Louisville, KY to attend Southern Seminary.  At some point, while at Seminary, the Pacer’s steering started to go bad.  Apparently, the Pacer had a “rack and pinion” steering system and I think it was explained to me that some of the teeth had either broken off or worn down and this allowed for great play in the steering wheel without much motion in the wheels.

When I finally took the Pacer to see what it would take to get the steering repaired, the cost must have been something like $400 then (1983 or so).  I decided to get a new car, and I asked my dad (living in Stockbridge, GA) if he wanted the Pacer.  I put the $400 in to get the steering fixed on the Pacer and then drove it down to Georgia and gave it to my dad.  I don’t recall how I managed to give him the Pacer, but have a replacement to drive back to KY.  *This must have been about the time that I purchased a white Mazda 626.  In 1988 I bought a new white Chevy S-10, with bumpers included;-)  The dealers were actually selling these little trucks without bumpers so that the cost to the customer would be less.

I don’t recall how long it was before I visited my dad again, probably the next major holiday.  But, when I rolled up into the yard, I looked over to the right and there parked, was the Pacer and it had a bunch of junk in it.  I don’t know what had gone wrong, but I always attributed it’s demise to my dad’s intention.  *I once counted the number of “junk” cars he had dotted about his yard, and I think it was about 14.

UNC-TV NC Community Colleges and CCCC

About a month or so ago, I was watching UNC-TV and they presented a segment on “North Carolina Community Colleges”. They highlight about 3 or 4 institutions per segment. There are 58 community colleges in North Carolina presently.

From the first episode, I learned that Isothermal Community College provides technical training for support at a large server farm. I didn’t recall that it was to support the local Facebook server complex.

Probably the next day, or so, at work, I thought to go look for the segment on Coastal Carolina Community College. I found the UNC-TV site, and started going down through the list. I made it to the end, and thought to myself that I had missed Coastal Carolina, so I started back through the list. Nope. No segment for Coastal Carolina Community College in Jacksonville, Onslow County, North Carolina. So, I thought it very strange that 57 out of 58 institutions were represented on the site. I also thought that maybe the UNC-TV staff had failed to list CCCC.

So, I sent an email to UNC-TV and asked if there was a reason why CCCC was not listed. I received an automated reply that I would be contacted shortly. I didn’t expect an immediate response because the Spring Fund Drive (whatever they call it) had just started and I thought that all the UNC-TV staff would be hard a work with the telethon. I also wrote to an executive secretary (apparently the wrong one) at Coastal Carolina asking the reason why they weren’t represented. I didn’t get a response back from either of my emails.

So, today, a little over a month after my first email inquiries, I thought to send another set of emails. UNC-TV responded later and said that Coastal Carolina Community College was the only institution that had not agreed to have a video segment, that they didn’t know why, and that I might contact CCCC for the reason. I found the email list of CCCC employees/staff/admin and finally found the person I should have asked previously. I was only contacting “executive secretaries” at this point.

But, later the PIO responded via email. Apparently there had been a scheduling conflict last summer (2013) when the video was scheduled to be made for Coastal.

My response was that if there was ever another opportunity like this, maybe hand off the task to some underling. Better to be represented, half-way, than not at all. And, if 57 out of 58 community colleges made the time for this, surely Coastal Carolina could have worked out the scheduling for this.

I’ve watched UNC-TV for over 40 years, and I know that it is a powerful communication’s tool. I don’t really care that Isothermal Community College is training networking techs to work at a large, local, Facebook server farm, but I do care about Coastal, even if I never plan to take another course there. It is touching base with my roots.

I still think something is wrong with this.

300 hay 2 under bridge

There are people living under the Rowan Street bridge that goes over Hillsboro Street. Apparently, they have been living there for at least a couple of years. It’s not that the City of Fayetteville, or the new mayor are unaware of this. How can he be? I emailed him about this and he responded that he would pass this along to the correct department.

300 hay logo

If I wasn’t already living in Fayetteville, I would prefer to live in the 300 Hay section of town. I see that one of those units is currently listed at $375K. But, if I was down and out, it would be nice to know that just a couple of blocks away (a little closer to the Airborne Museum and the Fayetteville Train Depot), I could lay down a bed mattress, find some blankets or used clothing, and stay for free under the Rowan Street bridge. It boggles my mind that the City of Fayetteville finds it unnecessary to do anything about this!

 

“My Goal… to Be the Dumbest Person in the Organization.”

I was scanning the “Who’s Who in Fayetteville” publication (City View) and came across the article entitled, “Top Three Mistakes Most Business Owners Make (And How to Overcome Them)”. One of the call outs included the following wisdom, “My goal in every business I have ever run was to be the dumbest person in the organization.”

This may work for small businesses, but I have found a problem with using that logic, especially when, as a manager, hiring someone to fill a position under your guidance. I’ll admit that I always tried to hire the best qualified person for the job. Qualifying that statement, I would hire the most intelligent, educated, experienced person that came through the hiring process. But, the problem with that was I should have tried to hire someone that could do the job, but wouldn’t be looking for or preparing for their next position as soon as they were in the position I had just hired them for.

Repeatedly, well, two out of three times, I hired “over qualified” persons to fill the positions. I figured that I didn’t want to have to do their work and have them get paid for it. But, immediately they were preparing for the next job, which in at least two cases meant that they either stopped doing what I had hired them to do, or they spent less than half their work time doing the tasks they had been hired to do.

I even recall one of my subordinates telling a recent hire that they had been planning for their next position for over a year. And, they respected me so little that they actually said this in my presence without so much as a stutter or hesitation.

I’ll admit that I was a poor manager. One reason being that I really did not want to be confrontational. In hindsight, if I had enjoyed being a manager, and wanted to be a better manager, I would have more than once “written up” an insubordinate employee. That would have either made them respect the position I was filling, or made them uncomfortable enough to “move on”.

I did not instill loyalty in the people I hired and I am sure that says a lot about me, more than them. But, if I hired you, it seems that you shouldn’t try to stab me in the back, or climb over me to get ahead… and that didn’t happen, more than once.

At 58, a Home!?

I have been creating a personal inventory using my WordPress site and marking my posts private, and with special categories & tags.  This is a great way to keep your inventory, and add pictures and commentary regarding your likes & dislikes and satisfaction, or not with the various items.

I have spent a bunch of money in a very short while recently for my apartment.  But, I haven’t spent much money at all for the last 15 years for feathering my nest.  In fact, until now, I’m not sure I have ever had a place that I would be comfortable calling “home”.  Amazing, at 58 years old, but oh, so GOOD, to finally be able to say it, and mean it.

I look forward to going home after work.  My bed is comfortable, and I have a bunch of TV channels to watch, and I can record some of them, to watch later, if I want, and I can put a load of clothes in the washer or dryer and listen to them quietly go through their quiet process of cleaning or drying my shirts, pants, sheets and towels, etc.

When I finally lay down on my new pillows (the Tempurpedic Neck Pillow), I say almost every time, “This feels so good!”  And, they do.   The pillow is shaped like a wave, with the part that goes on under the neck larger than the part that cradles the top of your head.  *I would think about buying one of these even if you don’t have the Tempurpedic mattress to go with it.  I might even take it with me when I go on vacation, but I wouldn’t want to forget and leave it somewhere.

I have stayed in many motels over the last 10 years.  I enjoyed the plush beds, and the air conditioned rooms, and really didn’t think that I should be able to enjoy this “at home” every night.  I guess it wasn’t in the realm of possibility, until recently.

My living room furniture is supposed to arrive tomorrow between 10 am and 1 pm.  Boy, will I be juggling things tomorrow… Bronco Kick-Off Sessions (have to leave early and come in late, depending upon when the furniture arrives), plus have an online CampusEAI Kick Off conference that kept being postponed (this is the 4th date/time and no one seemed to be paying attention before) that is scheduled at 4 pm for an hour.  I can probably attend this from home, if I have to, but I guess will be back at work if the furniture does come in by 1 pm.

Knives on magnetic holder on kitchen island, from the workside.The kitchen cart was a great success!  It fits well in the small space.  It organizes many and varied items that just weren’t coming together, until the cart (silverware, pots & pans, knives, etc.) and as I’ve said elsewhere, I’m thinking of getting a chair that I can use in the kitchen and eat off the cart cutting board (including a plate).  I’ve found myself standing and “grazing” at the cart already.

I have so much junk/stuff and I really need to get rid of it because I do not have the storage space that I had previously.  I shouldn’t have kept much of it anyway.  *I’m going to store some of the items (seasonal ones) at my office.

Lunch at Golden Corral

Entree

Normally, I have chicken, and sometimes fish, but today, I had roast beef which had some stewed potatoes and onions.  There was also the cabbage which is very flavorful and the greens with some chopped onions.  I only had one broccoli flowerette today.

I will normally follow this up with dessert which I put in a soup bowl.  I had 3 ripe strawberries, a slice of Bartlett pear, some chopped walnuts & sun flower seeds, raisins, dried cranberries, some sweet chocolate bits and sweetened, shredded coconut.

I’ve lost about 30 lbs. since January 1st and here is my current pants size.  These are tighter than the other two pair of pants I bought at the same time at J.C. Penny’s.