This Ignite presentation on how to steer a motorcycle demonstrates you can have the worst slides ever i.e. death by bullet point and still captivate the audience through humour, command of topic and offering something useful to know.
Last night I had the privilege of presenting a session on social media, the final installment in the Economic Development Corporation’s 3 part series on online marketing strategies. The audience was small but engaged, making for a fun evening. I spent about 1/3 of my time just answering questions. The group was diverse, including an Alpaca farmer, a manager at a local bank, a newcomer to the Sault, and someone from Sault Tourism.
Reasons people came to the event:
- Expand network
- Connect more with people
- Create awareness about business
- Promote in a new market
- Learn how to present product
- Learn social media tools
- Engage people, and how to manage the effort
- How to use social media tools efficiently
- How to reach a young audience
The group finished up the evening by coming up with a top 10 list of tips for a small business using social media, based on what was presented. Here is there must-do list, in no particular order, with some additional comments from me:
- Update content constantly. You are only as good as your last post / tweet / comment.
- Be honest. You can’t hide deception online.
- Start small. Pick something, try, learn, assess.
- Find a sustainable pace. Don’t burn yourself out.
- Stay focused. Have a clear message.
- Know your audience.
- Use tools to (your) fullest potential. Keep learning, experimenting. Read about what others are doing.
- Be open and transparent in your communication. Let people get to know both about you and your business.
- Work hard to keep customers happy. Address negative comments and turn frustrated patrons into your evangelists through over-the-top service.
- Choose the right digital channels. There are lots to choose from, and you can’t do everything.
Here are 5 additional resource links for small businesses trying to use social media:
- Twitter for the small businesses owner. Be sure to check out the links at the bottom of the page as well.
- Tips for choosing the right digital channels
- A social media glossary and a great video explaining RSS, or site feed syndication.
- Podcasting in plain English
- What is blogging?
Social media isn’t what I do for a day job. I don’t consider myself a social media expert. I like to use the term ‘social media swimmer’. I’m a fish navigating the rivers of online connectedness, and have been splashing in the waters heavily for some time. My desire is to help people and organizations in Sault Ste. Marie benefit from using social media, which is why I do these presentations.
Next month people can learn about Twitter in an interactive, hands-on session I’ve put together at Algoma University. Course is limited to first 20 registrants. Cost covers my costs plus some of my time taken away from my regular work to prepare for it. If you’ve wondered what Twitter is about and how to make the best use of it, you won’t be disappointed. You can register and pay online. How easy is that?
At the start of last fall’s federal election, I wanted to bring attention to the non-sexy electoral reform issue. Thanks to Google, I discovered pair voting had been used in the U.S. but not in Canada. Seemed like a novel idea that might interest and inspire people. After a few hours of effort, http://www.pairvote.ca was launched and then I went away for the weekend. Upon returning, over 50 people had registered to swap votes and national media was asking for interviews.
Social networking and free tools are game changers. Who would have thought one person could use free, online tools to launch a vote swapping service and thrust voting reform back into the spotlight? In the presentation below, you will see how one person using Facebook, blogging, Twitter, Skype, Google maps and a mailing list garnered thousands of registrants, dozens of media interviews and most of all the growth of a grassroots movement for electoral reform.
If you are relatively new to engaging people online, you will discover ideas and tips you can use in your own work and volunteer efforts.
Original presentation delivered to TAG audience at Sault College, January 28, 2009. OT: the multimedia centre has cameras that follow the speaker, very cool indeed.
Recently I had the opportunity to share about my work passion, Agile and Scrum at a local IT group luncheon. I was pleasantly surprised at the level of interest and depth of questions. Organizer John Hatherly told me they had about double the normal pre-registrations for a talk.
Perhaps the tough economic times is behind some of the interest. Agile / Scrum is ideal for these conditions, since Agile delivers the highest value early and often to clients:
- The product backlog is a list of potential work items prioritized by business value. The highest value items are worked on first.
- Working software is released early and often, making it possible to go to market faster.
- Continuous feedback helps ensure the team is delivering what the client needs, and helps the client to better understand their own needs. Requirements are always better understood once there is working software to try out.
- Regular team retrospectives with actionable items give teams the opportunity to continuously improve.
- Proven software engineering practices: test-driven development, collaborative programming, continuous integration and refactoring increase quality and lower the costs of maintaining software. Think of software as a liability to maintain.
Jeff Sutherland, co-founder of Scrum stated in a presentation at Agile 2008 that even teams doing partial Scrum, or ScrumButt as he calls it, can increase revenues by 40%. High performing teams can improve 400% over traditional Waterfall teams. That’s a huge competitive advantage at any time, especially during tough economic times.
My search for a video / slide presentation tool succeeded, so now you can watch it again (nothing else to do?) or catch it for the first time. Total length is about 1 hour 15 minutes due to many excellent questions asked (original presentation is 45 minutes).
Here are useful links for people new to Agile and Scrum:
- Scrum cartoons
- Learn Agile by playing scenario games
- Agile games for making retrospectives interesting
- (PDF) Scrum in 5 Minutes is a quick digest of Scrum for sharing with others.
- (Video) Scrum in Under 10 Minutes for those preferring visual stimulation.
- Agile Manifesto
- Scrum diagram and overview
- This poster captures the essence of Agile software development. I have it on my wall.
- Scrum glossary of terms
- Succeeding with Agile: A Guide To Transitioning – video and slides from Mike Cohn
- Play planning poker online, or order some cards
- Agilito, a Django Scrum tool we developed at ifPeople
- Assess the Agile practices your organization is ready to adopt.
- Agile Alliance (I’m a member) and Scrum Alliance (my member profile)
- Scrum discussion list is a great place to ask questions and get answers from prominent people in the Agile community. I’m subscribed.
Book recommendations, in order of preference:
- Agile Estimating and Planning by Mike Cohn
- User Stories Applied: For Agile Software Development by Mike Cohn
- Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great by Esther Derby, Diana Larsen, Ken Schwaber
- Implementing Lean Software Development: From Concept to Cash by Mary Poppendieck, Tom Poppendieck
Thinking of transitioning to Agile? Contact me to see if I may be able to help your organization or team.
Agile definition and value illustrated. View full size poster
I’m really looking forward to Plone Conf 2008 for many reasons, one of which is presenting on a topic I am passionate about, namely Agile development, in particular Scrum, an Agile software development framework.
What is Agile?
For people unfamiliar with Agile, Scott Ambler defines it concisely this way:
Agile is an iterative and incremental (evolutionary) approach to software development
which is performed in a highly collaborative manner
by self-organizing teams
with “just enough” ceremony
that produces high quality software
in a cost effective and timely manner
which meets the changing needs of its stakeholders.
Scrum, not just for rugby teams
Scrum is a framework that helps teams work in an Agile fashion. Development is time-boxed into iterations lasting 2 – 4 weeks. Each iteration delivers fully working (and tested) software that is “potentially shippable”. Work to be done is defined in a list, or product backlog, prioritized by the client so the most valuable features are done first.
At Agile 2008, I was fortunate to attend Jeff Sutherland’s (co-founder of Scrum) presentation on Agile contracts. His research has shown that teams firing on all Scrum cylinders can generate 400% more revenue than a team using Waterfall methods. (1) That’s some serious competitive advantage. Early retirement, anyone?
(1) See slide 19 of Jeff’s presentation
What do you want to learn about Agile and Scrum?
45 min goes by quickly so I’m soliciting input on my talk in advance. If you were thinking of catching this one, here is your chance to maximize your time investment. Let me know
- if you are currently using Agile and to what degree (see the Nokia Scrum test for a self evaluation)
- what you’d like to know in particular about Agile and Scrum
What I am thinking of covering:
- Introduction to Agile and Scrum, if most of audience is unfamiliar
- How Scrum leads to high performing teams
- Quick demonstration of Agile tools built with Plone or built by Plone solution providers using other technologies. Pending list: Plum, XM, Agilito, RoadRunner. Anything else that should be in the list? I may use the tools in the other parts of the presentation to illustrate Agile / Scrum practices