Showing posts from 2011

On Fatherhood, Technology & Community

Today, November 18th, 2011 is a very special day for my family - it's the day we 'officially' welcomed our newest addition (Rachel Elizabeth Martin) into our lives! Her adoption was finalized today, and it marks the culmination of one journey, and the beginning of a bigger one. Our family is incredibly lucky to have 'one in college (my son Mathew), and one in diapers.' :)So, readers of this blog might now be wondering 'Ok Guy, where's the technology and community in this news?' Of course, you knew I was going to tell you, right? :) Simply put, technology helped save my daughter's life when she was just 9 days old, and it was also at the heart of our journey to her. As far as community goes, well, that was what helped her get through her first month of life in a NICU (Neo-natal Intensive Care Unit), and it also helped my wife and me navigate the sometimes maddening road to adoption.Let's start with the technology and community that helped Rach…

Is Bruce Bochy a Community Manager?

As an avid baseball fan, I love to go root on my beloved SF Giants (and a World Series victory last year was just an awesome gift to go along with my new baby daughter!) One of the things you hear at a major league ballpark is vendors hawking programs or in-stadium magazines with line up cards: 'Get your program, program here, can't tell the players without a program!' All of this got me thinking about the different roles in successful tech development communities.

These kinds of communities, not unlike your baseball line up of 'lead off hitter,' 'cleanup hitter,' etc., have important players as well. So, with that in mind, I'd like to build out a 'Technology Development Community Lineup,' complete with players, their respective roles and a brief 'scouting report' on each of them. So, let's play ball!

Leading off - Product Visionary: This person's role, like a leadoff hitter, is to get on base with an idea or a vision of how to d…

Community Perspective

[Originally posted 11/17/09 in my work blog, but it still rings true today]

It’s amazing how restricting the amount of space you have to express a concept crystalizes what is truly important about that idea. Recently, in my ‘community’ Twitter list, Holly Seddon asked a very good question which helped give me one of those ‘A-ha’ moments:

‘In one word, what should using an online community feel like or give you?’

I loved the challenge of coming up with a single word to describe a key benefit to participating in community. After some reflection, the word that popped into my head was ‘perspective’. When communities are functioning at their peak (and I think this is true even of ‘development’ communities), one of the most powerful things you can glean from your participation is the perspective of one or more of the other community members.

Being able to look at business problems, source code issues, or any other medium within a community from a different angle is incredibly powerful. As an en…

Salespeople are from Mars - Consultants are from Venus

I hope that title caught your eye because it is a great jumping off point for something that has become readily apparent to me in the last several years of my career. Now that I'm in a consulting role (services) as opposed to previous internal development roles, I've begun to get a new appreciation for just how different the sales and services/consulting camps are. In addition, I've seen how Dr. John Gray's provocative metaphor, first brought to light in his book 'Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus,' also applies to what many perceive are diametrically opposed groups in any community.

Now, don't get me wrong, there usually is (by necessity) a LOT of synergy between any of these two camps, but there is also a fundamental mindset difference that can easily throw an unproductive wedge between the two groups. I'll admit that I'm as guilty as the next person for not always recognizing this, and I'm sure it doesn't help that as a former softw…

When Do You Weed Your Community Garden?

Anyone who has ever grown anything in their home garden knows that at some point or another, the onerous task of weeding will become a part of your reality. The question usually becomes when to take on the task that most of us don’t look forward to.

In recent discussions with colleagues and customers, I’ve revisited my list of traits that a good community manager should have – and I’d like to amend the list to include ‘community gardener.’ The gist of these discussions has been how much influence a community manager should exert and where in the process of the community workflow that needs to happen.

Let’s face it – to have an effective community (one that provides value for both the producers and consumers of content), there is a certain amount of ‘weeding’ that has to happen, whether by the community itself, or by the community manager. This task can either be relatively painless or a pain-filled experience, depending on where in the process it occurs.

In general, I see weeding happeni…

Hey, Your Community Peanut Butter Is in My Agile Chocolate!

Ever since my first introduction to Agile software development (at the beginning of the project nearly two years ago), I've been noodling with the notion of how my primary role (Community Management) interfaces with and informs Agile. At first, it almost seemed like the beginning of the old Reese's ® Peanut Butter Cup commercial ('Hey, your community is in my Agile!'), but as I've had time to consider it, I think that community has a lot to do with the successful application of Agile methodologies.

The culmination of this came when I was asked to speak on a panel at the recent AFEI DoD Agile conference, and the panel moderator asked us in our pre-show meeting to consider a 'lead-in' question he could give each of us in case the audience didn't have ready-made questions. I chose to have him ask me, 'How does the notion of community inform Agile software development?' In preparing my answer, I thought of three specific areas where I thi…