Tag Archive: David Parker


Last night I gave an Introduction to OpenAgile presentation to a warm and receptive audience in San Mateo, CA. The good folks at Agile Learning Labs sponsored the event by promoting it and feeding us delicious pizza. I can’t thank them enough for helping make last night possible. I also want to express my deep appreciation to everyone who attended and gave me their feedback and insights on the presentation itself.

We started the evening by dividing the audience into three groups who each discussed one of the foundations of OpenAgile – Truthfulness, Consultative Decision-Making, and the Learning Circle. It wasn’t required that each person read the OpenAgile Primer first. I wanted to see what insights would come from a discussion about what people understood about the concept in general rather than specifically what is stated in the Primer. This led to my biggest “aha” moment of the night. Even without reading the Primer, the groups were able to describe the essential characteristics of each foundation. They actually expressed several profound insights that aren’t covered in the text of the Primer itself but certainly could be. It’s like they just knew what the foundations mean. That says something to me about the intuitiveness of the OpenAgile framework. It also says to me that conversations about the foundations of OpenAgile can take place among people in many different environments.

After that exercise, I asked each person to write one burning question they have about OpenAgile on a sticky note. I would then try to answer as many of them as I could in the time remaining. Reading through the feedback forms I received, I recognize why some people found this to be a fairly unorthodox approach to a presentation. The questions they asked indicate that the audience members varied in their levels of experience with Agile methods. I found the range of questions and the ways the questions were phrased to be quite telling:

  • Does OpenAgile resonate with open source?
  • What are the advantages/disadvantages of OpenAgile?
  • Why would teams be more successful with OpenAgile than with Scrum?
  • Who invented OpenAgile and why?
  • Why another “Agile”?
  • What does the “Open” in OpenAgile stand for?
  • Who is currently developing OpenAgile?
  • How does OpenAgile relate to Agile?
  • How is OpenAgile different than other methodologies?
  • Why Open Agile? (I took this to mean why is OpenAgile open source.)
  • Why the “open” in OpenAgile? Is there a ClosedAgile?
  • About the Growth Facilitator role: When is it possible not to have one in a team/project?
  • What differentiates OpenAgile from Agile AND What, if any, are its advantages (and potential drawbacks)?
  • Is OpenAgile evolutionary or static?
  • Is OpenAgile a methodology or simply a philosophy that can be used by any methodology?
  • What types of projects can it be applied to?
  • What is the advantage of OpenAgile?
  • Creating Interest: How can you get adoption in naturally resistive cultures? Are their easy hooks or high value propositions?
  • Who is using OpenAgile right now (i.e. big companies, teams, etc.)?
  • What industries can use it?
  • About Growth Facilitator role: What is the difference between this role and the product owner role?
  • What type of projects would be benefited with OpenAgile? For example, product development, application development, customization?
  • Is “organic growth” analogous to “emergent design“?
  • Compare OpenAgile in a continuum of other Agile methods/frameworks like XP, Scrum, Kanban
  • How does OpenAgile compare with the other Agile methodologies?
  • Differentiate the different forms of Agile development
  • Is OpenAgile directed towards quality or just timeliness?
  • How can I apply OpenAgile?
  • What works best to establish OpenAgile in an existing workforce?
  • What is the role of leadership?
  • Describe its use outside software: manufacturing, hardware, non-high tech

The feedback form asked for a one or two sentence anonymous recommendation for others considering taking a similar presentation. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did getting them:

  • A new view on Agile in practice
  • Sharing thoughts with David and other attendees helped me better formulate my understanding of OpenAgile specifically and Agile in general. Thanks.
  • David modeled the simplicity, humility, honesty, and openness which the OpenAgile model represents.
  • Good intro to a brand new topic.  Made me want to learn more.
  • provides understanding of a variant of the Agile methodology which can be used outside of software development
  • Good initiation for OpenAgile
  • Useful for teams that have adopted agile and feel that it has not worked well.
  • Framework different approach
  • It takes the “there is no silver bullet” statement to a deeper level
  • Good to see the questions about how OpenAgile applies, sometimes better than, for example, Scrum.
  • David was patient and a very good listener. This helped answer many questions that came up.
  • David was able to instigate a lot of very interesting discussions and debates.
  • Thanks for the Pizza!
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During a period of reflection yesterday, I did a bit of brainstorming on my personal profile. It started as a resume-building exercise. What was on the surface of my mind came out rather easily. However, as is typical of these free form reflection techniques, my conscious mind started to probe deeper. Today, in going back through the reflections for this post, my notes pushed me to think even more deeply about what emerged and helped me draw new conclusions.

Profile of David D. Parker:

open-minded idealist who sees the bright side in all things
hard worker with 7 years experience in community relations and marketing
builder of agile social enterprises
googler of everything he doesn’t know
dreamer
advancer of civilization

lover of Bahá’u’lláh

wonderer
reader of books slowly
lover of gardening and fishing and generally all things green
fixer of things around the house
husband and spiritual companion of Layla
Moment of inspiration: “The true marriage of Baha’is is this, that husband and wife should be united both physically and spiritually, that they may ever improve the spiritual life of each other, and may enjoy everlasting unity throughout all the worlds of God.” – ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

one who enjoys:

to cross things off to-do lists
to track tasks on sticky notes on a wall
listening to podcasts social entrepreneurship, social innovation, business, society, community building
watching NCAA college football (especially for the few seconds they show of the marching band’s half-time show)
listening to drum corps music
natural beauty in the world

one who is interested in:

building a culture of learning
social entrepreneurship
social innovation
agile methods
complexity science
corporate social responsibility
social enterprise
social media
social finance
social economy
In truth, these are not separate things. They are all One.

one who values:

unity
justice
truthfulness
being of service
contributing to the world
making a difference in the lives of others

one who worries about:

money…

hmmm… this is actually indicative of another thing I value. I value financial sustainability. I don’t need much. I want “to be satisfied with whatsoever Thou hast ordained for me.” (Bahá’í Prayer)

But still I need means to achieve my purpose in life.

If I didn’t have to worry about money, what would I do?  I would work on OpenAgile because it is inspiring. It does exactly for me what it is intended to do for others. The purpose of OpenAgile is “To create an environment in which people are free to express their true nature and capacities to contribute to the betterment of their organization.” Anytime I am applying OpenAgile to my work in an organization, I feel like I am doing this. When I’m applying OpenAgile, I am capable of putting all of my energy into whatever I’m doing. I don’t get distracted.

Some things that I’ve done where I applied OpenAgile and felt a strong sense of accomplishment: fixing my deck, making a nice garden, fixing up my house. These are all tangible things that are the result of focused effort. And all of these grew in quality over successive iterations.

Now I’m reflecting on something else: What does this tell me about my purpose in life (at least my current understanding of  it)?

I believe that to be of service to others, I must help them find a new approach to getting things done which allows them to align their inner and outer character. To break down the false dichotomy in our society that says we have to be either a spiritual or a material being. We can be both, and we can have purpose and meaning in our work environment. OpenAgile has shown me that, and I want to show other people OpenAgile.

Cross-posted from www.openagile.com, this is an interview I conducted with Mishkin Berteig, Co-Founder of Berteig Consulting, about the world’s need for an open source agile methodology. Along with Mishkin and myself, there are 20 other dedicated people who have arisen to serve the OpenAgile Community as champions. They’re applying OpenAgile to many different environments and sharing what they’re learning so we can improve the methodology.  For example, Barry Turner of Turner Agile Project Solutions is implementing this approach at a small town museum, and Jim Heidema of Professional Sales Plus has been active in using OpenAgile in the financial services industry. Everyone is welcome to get involved and contribute.

I was recently interviewed for HowtoBecome.TV by Jayce Broda, a social entrepreneur in his own right, who aspires to “tell stories of those in the business of change.” It is an honor to be included. I hope you enjoy my very first interview on social entrepreneurship, social enterprise, and building a career in the social economy.

http://blip.tv/play/hrwrgovCdwI%2Em4v

Here’s the link to the interview on HowtoBecome.TV: http://howtobecome.tv/2010/11/how-to-become-a-social-entrepreneur-david-parker/

Let’s continue this discussion on Twitter. Follow me at http://twitter.com/davidparker9

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