Blue Tits and Robins

At the turn of the century in England, milk was delivered in open glass bottles. There were 2 birds that loved to drink the cream that would settle at the top of the milk. These were the Blue Tits and the Robins.
Then after world war 1, milk was delivered still in bottles, but with an aluminum top to prevent the milk from spoiling.
This also prevented the birds from drinking the cream. At least temporarily. You see, the blue tit learned how to peck through the aluminium foil, where as the Robin did not. Throughout England, Blue Tits would get the cream, but Robins could not figure it out. Now you would probably think that Robins are not as intelligent as Blue Tits, which is why they could not get to the cream, but this isn’t the case.
Robins are territorial birds. They come together when mating, but then quickly stay on their own in their own territory driving off other Robins. This means that they do not get a chance to share knowledge. Whereas Blue Tits are social birds, when one bird figures something out, it is shared among other birds. So if one bird figured out you peck through the aluminium foil to get the cream, soon all birds would know. For a Robin, if one bird figured out how to get to the cream, only that bird would know. The group misses out.
The same can be said with Humans. Those that hoard knowledge may be smart on their own, but the overall system looses out. Whereas those that share knowledge as a group, all benefit and get better.
The same goes for anyone who defends their territory (Those unwilling to learn from others) will also miss out on gained knowledge.

We can see this play out socially at the moment in Facebook. A mother shared how she removes splinters using a syringe by usig suction instead of jabbing her children with a needle to fish the splinter out. This simple tip has made it across the world and is being shared by news organisations, newspapers etc. It just shows how infectious learning is.

So share your knowledge. Write blogs, do talks, not only within your own team, your own company but with all who will listen. In the long run, we all benefit.

Act Now, Ask Later

We have another guest posing from Tenfold.

i was recently watching a talk I found on YouTube on “Douglas Hubbard” from “How to Measure Anything” and he was talking about having too many data points when making decisions.

He was talking about how bookies with two pieces of information would make a prediction. This would become a baseline. Given 4 or 5 data points their accuracy would go up slightly more.

But given 8 or more pieces of data, their prediction would actually get worse, but their confidence in their predictions gets better.

According to the Tenfold Article, with Agile, you “Need to be comfortable with vague or contradictory information”. In other words, incomplete information. You will actually make better decisions, faster decisions and thus lead your team to success.

I suggest reading the original article at Tenfold to see how Agile can help with sales.

Agile In Sales

I was recently contacted by a company that had read one of my posts and wanted me to share one of their posts. Usually I would think this is spam and move on, but I do check first.

The reason I’m telling you this, is that the post I think is interesting and I’m willing to share for that reason.

Here Patrick Hogan, one of the co-founders of Tenfold outlines how Agile can be used in sales. Sales in general, not only Software sales.
This fact alone I think deserves a mention. It shows that Scrum and Agile in general is not limited only to Software Development, but not only that. I think he is right.

Its been over 7 years since I worked for a vendor, but I worked for one for over 10 years (SeeBeyond then Sun Microsystems), and although I didn’t work directly in sales, I was on the implementation side – I did work with the sales reps. Especially when we implemented Proof Of Concepts and being a small office, we got to know one another quite well.

I remember the sales process was all about wooing the customer. Telling them and sometimes even showing them how well the software would fit in their organisation and solve their problem. Sales cycles would be in months if not years. Especially in Australia.

Now, things are different. At least I see it from a customer perspective now that I work on the other side of the fence. There is so much open source out there now, customers are more informed. The sales process is much harder.  It requires that sales people adapt and change as required and what better way to adapt than to use Agile methods and processes.

Patrick has given a high level overview on how this can be achieved for a sales team.

I suggest you read the article for yourself.