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8th-Jun-2011 01:13 pm - Capture the flag!
honey mead
from Persona Prime at http://silona.org/capture-the-flag/2011/06/08/

If you come to a discussion with a set position you turn the discussion into a game of capture the flag.

The goal then becomes to affect the position you have staked territory on.  This limits creativity in regards to end goals.

We often unconsciously do this by stating a position and setting on it before considering all our options and talking with the people who matter most (friends, partners, employees, customers.) If you actually planned on negotiating or are friendly to compromise and new ideas… you have already shot your self in the foot (going with the military strategy metaphor:-).)

Try to stating things in regards to goals you would like to achieve not positions. Remember it is EASY to add it your favorite tactics or tools after others have contributed.  And try not to create goals that predetermine tactics for example “I want 10K twitter followers by tomorrow” when instead the goal should be “I want to have a viable two way conversation with our most influential customers.”

Don’t accidentally make tactics and tools the end goal and the primary focus of your team.  Goals are the true end game – don’t lose sight of them.

PS Capture the flag is a great teaching tool for your troops though on how to best use the tools and tactics given :-) Just don’t limit them upfront…


honey mead
from Persona Prime at http://silona.org/starting-a-consultation-process-framing-communication/2011/05/24/

My top tool now for framing communication with clients and partners is Google docs.

I use them very beginning of the consultation process.  The version feature makes it safe for the client to feel free to brainstorm.  The commenting feature makes it even safer to ask questions without feeling intrusive.  The iterative process makes it a real exercise in a new type of “active listening.”  And because it is in google docs it can be asynchronous. (Though I do wish gdocs had a better notification process of changes :-/)

Even before we do a legal doc I now create a google document of expectations that we will address in the legal doc.

It also makes it much easier to do NDA’s where clients can easier post their appendixes of exceptions to my standardized doc.

Often I start the process by creating the document and sharing with the people that will need to own the process. I start with an outline format based on informational interviews we have had earlier.  Sometimes I even start the document during the meeting with the client esp they are new to google docs.  This way I can explain it with them in person.  One nice thing about starting with an outline is that it gives structure and framing without dominating.  It is much easier to add to a outline than it is to rewrite what someone else have written.

I try at first to focus on goals.  This might just be because I am a natural negotiator but I believe if we understand the true intent of all parties the rest is flexible and can change with the iterative process.

  1. Client/partner stated goals
  2. My interpretation of our goals
  3. Group goals (interpretations of other maybe not directly involved in process eg customers)
  4. Evaluation of value of the goal (prioritization etc)
  5. Assessment of if achieved
  6. Metric of success
  7. Constraints
  8. Deadlines

I also typically create a basecamp project immediately.  I admit I don’t often keep it updated daily but it is a good place to organize and add and assign action items in a concrete fashion.

And this doesn’t exactly belong here… but I also typically immediately make clients create their social media presences.

This means:

  1. Checking and getting domain names
  2. twitter accounts
  3. facebook page
  4. wordpress blog
  5. and setting them up with a designer for immediate branding :-)

Just because there are too many evil squatters out there.  I don’t know how many times I have been playing with a keyphrase and had some jerk decide since I tweeted it he should have it :-/  I am pretty sure it is automated at this point…

honey mead
from Persona Prime at http://silona.org/expectations-they-arent-just-your-own/2011/05/24/


We all have them.

We try to capture and document them.  We all hope (or assume) that we have enough common starting ground that our documentation of these expectations makes sense.

We talk about concrete things like “I will give you X percentage of X profits.”  We try to manage the informational flow with things like “The consultant has a 2 week turnaround after the deliverable  is signed off on by the project manager.”

We list Requirements, Deliverables, Benchmarks, Resources, Allocations, Budget, Schedule, Dependencies, Roles, Responsibilities and hopefully even Goals ;-)   But in regards to change and expectation management we rarely talk about the other expectations…

There are so many other types expectations projected on processes that are difficult to account for.  Things like cultural and behavioral and even emotional expectations.  I have watched these kill projects and partnerships esp international ones.

And while this seems too fuzzy or emotional to address, you would be surprised at how often it happens. We human beings enjoy working with people we like and trust.  If those emotional needs are not handled they can start to cause problems in communication over Resources, Schedules, etc…  If fundamental levels of trust cannot be supported this whole glass house of partnership can begin to fail on a basic communication level of shifting sand.  Perceptive filters are incredibly important. And a negative filter will kill a project or partnership.

So being the touchy feely girl that I am, I would add to the expectation management portion – an understanding of cultural, emotional and behavioral differences.  Trust is an essential cognitive filter in regards to understanding language and communication with others.  Once it is gone it is difficult to recover a level of positive communication that is needed to handle expectations properly… probably because those “expectations” can obtain a very tarnished filter.

Projects are always risky.  You can try to enumerate the risks at the beginning.  But the true interpretation of risks in that of perception which is often colored by the belief of intent.  The real risks are the unknown unknowns that you can’t enumerate at the beginning of the project that your partners have to believe you honestly did not see.

Also emotion affects perception, if communication is hurt then you can be perceived as underperforming even when technical expectations are met.

I think this is a substantial trap that women deal with often in the work place.  I can say the exact same thing as a man.  I don’t mean I say things that have the exact same meaning… I mean I say the exact same words.  And simply because I am in different packaging ( like a dress ) it will be heard differently.  This can be positive and negative.  I have had my looks and friendly approach guarantee I don’t set off Alpha Male paranoid in regards to position.  But it also means that I have to reframe myself at times in regards to leadership roles.  Awareness is key.

At no time forget that perceptive filters are in place.   Active listening i.e. repeating back your interpretation is crucial to creating accurate filters.  As I learned in India, Also have them also repeat back to you what they understood your requirements to be.  And never forget to check in with cultural experts and liaisons…

honey mead
from Persona Prime at http://silona.org/motivation-incentives-perfectionism-fear/2010/11/12/

So this Daniel Pink Ted talk has been under my skin for awhile.  he talks about the “Puzzle of Motivation”  But what he said didn’t resonate with me.

Also had a discussion W Aza Raskin awhile back about how to rewards Open Source Programmers and Incentives.  Mozilla offered a bounty for programmers which had adverse results.  I had seen this personally happen repeatedly with NPOs when I was on the board of TANO.org.  Money did not match the motivation levels needed.  It was improper feedback.

And then finally after having multiple discussions with my housemate about childrearing…


Where the first chapter is about not telling Children they are simply smart.  But instead always pointing to specific actions as being clever or smart or good.  This again feeds back to yesterday’s post about gamification.  And correctly targeting the feedback.  If you tell a child they are smart it actually hurts them.  Kinda also explains my basic dislike of people telling me I’m smart or I’m pretty – those have nothing to do with my actions.  Yet I enjoy it when someone says I loved “such and such idea.”

I think our real purpose is to encourage/reward actions.  If this is true then we should focus on those actions we desire.  Since they are specific we can do more feedback directly.

So this all reflects on my own issues in regards perfectionism and procrastination.  I believe I over commit so that I have an excuse for things not being perfect.  If I don’t I tend to suffer from procrastination.  See I was often told how smart I was rather than specific actions.  This those expectations means fear of obtaining perfection sets in and that is the stubborn seed of procrastination.  It’s a difficult one to remove (i think my whole work ethic got wrapped up in there too somewhere.)

I also believe that fear kills creativity by sending people into their Lizard Brain.  See if it isn’t MY project, I have tons of suggestions and can see all… But if it is mine, I become too set and myopic.  That is why I now prefer to “midwife” other people’s ideas.  I have prerequisites that is true in regards to my goals but for the most part it must be someone else’s baby.  Then I can be most effective.  At least until I solve this perfectionism issue…  And can close this stupid Bad feedback loop.

I have noticed that other Big Corporations (cough MS cough) often tend to suffer from the same issues of broken expectations and feedback.  Since they measure their employees is such constrained and artificially constructed manners they have a very negative impact on creativity and performance.   The goal becomes the broken metric and not the motivation.  I wish more people read The 5th Discipline. I believe this type of process is essential for fixing metrics and finding more meaning in measurement by addressing issues in perspective and motivation.

Personally, I think for me and my ideas… I need to create more small doable tasks.  Creating bullet style lists and figure a way for me to obtain the praise and criticism I desire.  You know that action specific kind I was just talking about…

Once I have all my concepts ironed out I can start with more solid concepts than I had before and perhaps with the proper feedback I can leave the fears of perfectionism and rigidity behind and retrain my brain so it doesn’t go all Lizard on me.

And @ItCHe (corrected) thanks for the reminder to finish this languishing post with your link yesterday.  http://youarenotsosmart.com/2010/10/27/procrastination/

12th-Nov-2010 09:39 am - Gamification
honey mead
from Persona Prime at http://silona.org/gamification/2010/11/12/

Evidently the word “Gamification” is becoming a bit of a bad word. I suppose it is because too often it is being used in a Tom Chatfield sense and not in a Jane McGonigal sense.

Tom stresses much in regards to the game play rewards system. Having worked in the industry and watching games like Farmville and such arise. He is not wrong. Those are all crucial elements of addictive game play. What he says isn’t new. In the gaming industry, we talk often about the circle of addiction.  Things like the importance of immediate feedback w representative rewards, multiple goals of varying length, element of surprise, and interactions w peers.

Jane talks much of making the world a better place.  Of the importance of choosing important goals and of fostering motivation.

I love the concepts of Jane’s games.  I have signed up multiple times.  But I never end up playing them.  I think often her games are missing an important aspect – the addictive factor.  The feedback is rarely as immediate as I need.  And even though she talks about the freedom to fail – making those immediate posts… is actually asking for a rather large commitment.

I think both could learn much from each other.  What I would like to argue esp in regards to Tom’s presentation is that Real Metrics are motivational ONLY if people can see the correlation.  That is why money typically fails as a motivator. (Well that and fear – money makes a game real.)  And I believe this lack of correlation is why “Gamification” is becoming a dirty word – a word marketing people use. (duh duh duh DUM!)

Jane – you really have to control the fear aspect in regards to asking people to be creative.  Doing blog posts, posting videos etc are acts only a certain generation of extroverts can accomplish.  I, the gal that dances everywhere, have a truly hard time posting a video of myself dancing online.  I mean first I have to get someone to help me make the video.  Secondly I have to get over looking like a dork and realize – I am not as hot of a dancer as I thought I was…. So my need for perfectionism- means I internally don’t feel free to fail :-(

I guess I need those tiny steps complete w rewards to get there… And those haven’t worked for me in the design of your virtual games I have played so far.  I believe that is why only 8000 played superstruct.  I wanted to like it.  I really did.  But oof that first step was a doosy.  But I do have to say your peer pressure tactics work great in Real Life (as evidenced at my participation at foocamp :-) ) Maybe if there was a better way to pressure Real life communities?

Honestly though, I do believe the world can learn much from good games…

Constant relevant feedback

Meaningful metrics

Valid reward systems

That certain element of surprise…

and yea people – remember the whole essential ingredient of the whole Web 2.0 explosion…

honey mead
from Persona Prime at http://silona.org/project-management-and-the-scientific-method/2010/09/28/

So many fervent discussions on different project management styles baffle me…

I was raised to be a scientist.  One of my earliest memories is being about 5-6 yr old and mom sitting me down in front on a set of 6 test tubes and a lab book where she had written numbers on the top of each page.  Explained to me the scientific process, how to test w the 5 senses (told me that taste was okay THIS time but not normally) She also gave me Ph indicator strips cause they are fun to play with and easy to practice measuring and recording.  She then left me to figure out what the 6 substances were and keep track in my lab book.

Hypothesis, testing, record data, evaluate hypothesis, repeat

Really this isn’t very different from most project management…

After all aren’t most creations in their own way experiments?

You have an idea, you create it, you test it, you evaluate how it did and you evolve…

All the other parts to be are just frosting… Agile means you fail faster; Waterfall is when you can’t afford to fail.  So deciding which time frame to use just means do some risk evaluations beforehand.

I find it interesting that people get so religious on these discussions.  For me, if you can do real risk analysis because any failure cost is high then I spend more on design time.  If it is a get it done situation where expectations aren’t so rigid esp in the case of experimentation because it hasn’t been done before, then less design and more experimentation is the order of the day.

I guess in the true spirit of Feynman – I just believe in constantly challenging all assumptions and designs :-)

27th-Sep-2010 05:45 pm - A reminder to myself…
honey mead
from Persona Prime at http://silona.org/a-reminder-to-myself/2010/09/27/

Never get demotivated by the people that don’t care… or that don’t see a point… or think  you shouldn’t waste your time… or say consistently what you are doing wrong but rarely what you are doing right…

We are working on making the world a better place.  And yes we may make the world a better place for those people as well as everyone else.   Those difficult people are no different from the rocks on the path that also benefit.  Many of them later will rewrite history – say they were actually on that path and helped your feet rise.  It doesn’t matter. They still gave you something to walk on – even if they were sometimes sharp they made your feet tougher – so they did contribute ;-) and that’s okay…

Because you do this for the ones you love… and sometimes they can be the difficult ones too.

15th-Jul-2010 06:02 pm - tweetledee or tweetledum?
  • 00:17 @oldspice DUDE you must go to @blogher and make a gaggle of women very happy! ow.ly/2bHZZ #
  • 04:44 I think I am going to quit using @supershuttle for pickups this in the 3rd time in a row they are late what if I had checked luggage? #
  • 18:48 RT @Citability: wonderful new post from @joecarmel explaining the diff btn the different legislative citation systems ow.ly/2cbkS #
  • 18:51 @Alfreda89 good advice! FROM airport works and counter guys are great but TO is nerve racking esp at 3:50am pickup to 5am drop for 5:30flt #
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14th-Jul-2010 06:02 pm - tweetledee or tweetledum?
  • 22:08 great scientific article on why telling people what they are wrong is a bad idea... ow.ly/2b7C2 works well with my silona.org post... #
  • 22:51 Gamer Friends - video by friend Jonathon Blow "Design Reboot" - making meaningful games
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SbfswZ8Ow4 #
  • 22:52 "you have been lied too" @DanAncona i like that - helps take out some of the ego question... #
  • 22:54 RT @govfresh ‘Like’ our new Facebook page! | manor.govfresh: big ideas for local America bit.ly/9w4Fec #
  • 12:15 Oof truck still broken! But amazingly life is good listening to postal service at momoko getting bubble tea and tomrw I go to DC #
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13th-Jul-2010 06:02 pm - tweetledee or tweetledum?
  • 10:11 Sigh my poor little pickup just died on lamar. Waiting for a friend to bring me a battery #
  • 16:11 @withoutayard it's okay all it needed was a new battery and a run around town to get sorted out... #
  • 19:59 my first step of "sharpening the saw" is being sure to practice self care (ie dancing and bubble tea at @devilintea) #
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