Geek Girl Resources

Videos, stories, stats and all things to help geek girls and women in IT pioneer their path.

Wired Interviews Engineers in Silicon Valley…”death by a thousand paper cuts”

Women Engineers On the Rampant Sexism of Silicon Valley

What's it like to be a woman in tech? We asked five female engineers to tell us about their experience with sexism in Silicon Valley.

Posted by WIRED on Monday, June 12, 2017

So your company wants to innovate like a lean start-up?

Enterprise managers, it’s time to leverage startup innovation.

Entrepreneurs are awesome. They have been around forever. We used to call them inventors, explorers and even crazy people! Well, some were most definitely visionary and fearless in the face of stubborn adversity. They weren’t necessarily believed all the time so the commoners did call them crazy. Now we call them visionary.  Deservedly so because entrepreneurs change the world for the better. Some don’t, but the ones with their great products we remember because they changed the world for better. Thomas Edison, Marie Curie and now in the 21st century our visionary entrepreneurs exist in organizations or are leading lean start-up ventures.

Eric Ries is a failed and successful entrepreneur of start-up businesses who over the years culminated his lessons learned into a great book; Lean Start-Up. These lessons are not his alone, and well proven by other market leaders; however, Ries has done a fantastic job of simplifying the lessons so they can be easily adopted in organisations who are investing in great business agility. The top 6 books for understanding the Lean Start-Up movement and giving you the insights needed to be an entrepreneurial manager are;

Lean Start-up BooksToday let’s continue to focus on The Lean Start-Up. The environment in which start-ups are spawned in are “extremely uncertain”. That is, they don’t really know their customers yet, they don’t know if their product is desired, and they have absolutely no idea whether the business is going be to worth it!!! Worth it in the sense that it will change world, and therefore maybe someday make a great visionary business model.

Here’s some context to help understand the difference between Lean Start-Up and other product delivery methodologies.

Agile, Lean Start-up Methodology ComparisonWhen we think of the situation at hand in terms of inputs, outcomes and performance of getting from a (a problem or idea – inputs) to b (solution – outcome) it’s easier to understand which methodology is best to use when.

Waterfall – problem: no house. Solution: build house.

Agile – problem: no sign on. Solution: which one? will it integrate? Unproven in our platform? Iterate and learn safely with test (specific) driven development and emperical delivery process such as scrum

Lean Start-Up – problem:  don’t know? I just have a vision. solution – don’t know, I could guess but it’s a new idea; lets experiment. Hypothesis driven development, lets learn as much before the angels cut our funding.

Ok, yes – that’s a simplified description. And I bet you’re being pragmatically intelligent and saying well some situations are appropriate at some times and some the other. That’s exactly the point; you as an entrepreneurial manager now have the opportunity to leverage the wisdom of ages and the agility of youth to drive innovation in your business.

This is business agility; being visionary, creating a platform to leverage for speedy delivery and supporting accelerated growth with engaging cultures that are ALL focused on engaging customers.


So what’s the top half a dozen to leverage from Lean Start-Up?

  1. The goal is to create an engine of growth: “maximize learning & minimise the time to feedback loop so as to generate return before the money runs out “
  2. Identify if you have a problem worth solving?
  3. Minimal Viable Product – “The least amount of work you can do to learn the most of something (so as to eliminate uncertainty)”
  4. Pivot – “Pivot is a structured course correction designed to test a new fundamental hypothesis about the product, business model, and engine of growth”
  5. Product / Launch Stage – Get ready to learn from customers
  6. Experiment – Hypothesis Driven Development allows you to learn what’s good and to  spend less on what’s not
  7. Is your product finding being pulled by the market to success?


OK, that’s seven and there is a whole lot more however; for now, the key takeaway is that business agility is inherent in your rate of learning and adaptation to better progress.


What’s your cultures rate of learning?

Learning Styles-Kahn Academy humanising education

Salman Khan talk at TED 2011

The future of learning from The Kahn Academy who provides free invaluable education to kids.

I know – 2011 seems a while ago to only now share a review of the Ted Talk however; being a fan of learning, I could NOT not on-share this wonderful academy and mission of Salman Khan.

Salman Khans TED talk shares the wonderful ‘accident’ by a hedge analyst recording math lessons for his cousins and how that has led to an amazing breakthrough in humanising education and accelerating classroom learning through video lessons.


“My cousins actually liked me more in video than in person”.  Not because of what you think but because his cousins could replay parts of the video, and retry whenever they needed to without feeling like they were inconveniencing him.

Teaching has become an inconvenience to teachers, parents and students…an interruption to learning in some cases itself.

The Khan academy provides video lessons for students so they can learn at their own pace, outside of school time so that time with the teacher is interactive, focused on the needs of the kids and playful.

khan-academy-missionTeachers can also leverage the Kahn Academys great lessons accompanied with excellent data categorisation, tagging for a profound and a nice analytics dashboard. I know my sister – a primary school teacher would relish the time to serve kids learning so aptly. Do you know of anyone in Australia using the Kahn Academy? I’d love to hear if you do?

The opportunity for play is multiplied for kids because time also moves from ‘getting through curriculum’ to how can we best use our time in the class together. The kids actually ‘play’ the videos over, and stop and interact with them at their control. That kind of empowerment is a wonderful trigger  opening up the mind. I also do love that it’s creates a learning community and invites other students to become mentors to their peers. Champion of champions program starting young!!

On the other hand I am a bit reticent towards the concept of learning outside of school in addition to school time because when do kids ever get time to play? Will this be used to ‘over saturate’ kids with information rather than learning through play and experience?

Probably not given the Kahn Academy puts value on “ student to valuable human time with teacher”. Plus they are developing ways to gamify the experience. No wonder Bill Gates is such a big advocate. Watch the Ted talk and let me know what you think? I’m undecided and going to keep my mind open.




Interactive Human Spectrogram

It’s true – everybody has an opinion! Big ones, little ones, difficult ones, simple ones, lonely ones and herd ones. So how do you facilitate an agile team to share differing opinions, constructively discuss options, and gain insight into each others opinions? Agile Team Facilitators use real live human interactive experiences to facilitate discussion dives, build team repore and allow product decision making.

The Interactive Human Spectrogram is most definitely a long name for a group excercise that basically gets people to stand where there mouth is!

Prepare your Session!

You will need;

  • some space enough for your team,
  • masking tape for the spectrogram index,
  • markers to show the spectrum values
  • position statements for discussion
  • spectrum values

Optional support equipment;

  • statement crowdsourcing technique
  • discussion kanban
  • behaviour guide toys

Set your space up

  • place the tape along the floor; consider the number of people attending and number of values on the spectrum
  • mark down the values you wish to have people allign to; for example
    • strongly disagree – disagree – agree – strongly agree
    • 0 – 10
    • consider metaphor characters; olympic medals – gold, silver, bronze, or movie characters –  padawan (for newbie learner) to jedi knight (for experienced master)
      • creative metaphors help attendees to shift from their ‘stagnant mindset’ to a more creative responsive mindset – leverage these easy tools to help build the energy and collaboration you’d like

Run your session!

  1. Introduce the Session by framing the basics
    • This an interactive spectrum
    • We’ll choose the next statement & you will be asked to step to the value on the spectrum that best represents your position

A couple of free facilitation guides

And resources from the web…

Human Spectagram


Constellation Activity



Facilitation Workshops

Agile Portfolio Ceremony Facilitation

Portfolio Delivery
Scrum of scrums
Inspect & Adapt

Supporting the delivery as a central source of trueth, Swindon Round about

Visual Facilitation
Agile Values & Principles

Icebreakers for facilitation, learning, business meetings

Icebreakers are a wonderful facilitation technique for creating individual engagement in meetings, workshops and agile ceremonies. A great icebreaker will;

  • introduce the person so that ‘people’ become present rather than just another worker
  • create engagement of attendees by the method of having them participate from the get-go
  • give the facilitator an opportunity to look each individual in the eye, acknowledge them and hold a welcoming space
  • warm the team up, relax them and set the mindset of collaboration (because they take out the knowledge gap between who we are)

Icebreakers also provide facilitators an opportunity to engage introverts and provide obvious support for their efforts to be vocally open infront of a group.
For example;
Lets walk through the simple ice-breaker ‘ Name & favorite past-time on the weekend’
1. Prepare prior a poster with a title ‘who’s who’& give it a frame
2. Provide the instruction, and use yourself as an example
3. Give everyone a minute to write on a sticky note: ‘Name & favorite past-time on the weekend’
4. Invite people to stand, place their sticky on the poster and then introduce themselves to the group
– this will be quite easy for most people.
– For the introvert be mindful of;
– maintaining eye contact, as they will look to you – the facilitating leader because it’s much safer than looking at the group. This gives them affirmation that you will support them throughout this process. Generally as sessions go on, introverts will continue to talk to the group by talking to you because that connection is safe for them.

Lemon Jousting

Mad, Glad, Sad

Rock, paper, scissors

Positive affirmation – first letter, first name

Distributed Agile and Off-sure Agile Resources

Off-shore agile, outsourcing agile teams, distributed agile, leverageing globalisation third world markets – or whatever it is you call it – creates additional process management work for teams. The question is whats the impact to business benefits, customer satisfaction, quality product, and healthy culture?

Different clients i’ve coached have approached distributed agile product delivery in a variety of ways and yet they each encountered similar challenges that are worth keeping in mind:
– Overcomeing the distance to maintain good face-to-face communication flow
– Establishing seamless infrastructure; environments, task management, knowledge management tools
– Governing quality development and output
– Customer satisfaction mindset
Below are three interesting articles that explain well; their strategy, execution and learning by experience.

Martin Fowler of Thoughtworks shares his perspective on the Thoughtworks Bangalore off-shore agile services to their European and USA agile houses, and customers.
Martin Fowlers top learnong list;
– Use Continuous Integration to Avoid Integration Headaches
– Have Each Site Send Ambassadors to the Other Sites
– Use Contact Visits to build trust
– Don’t Underestimate the Culture Change
– Use wikis to contain common information
– Use Test Scripts to Help Understand the Requirements
– Use Regular Builds to Get Feedback on Functionality
– Use Regular Short Status Meetings
– Use Short Iterations
– Use an Iteration Planning Meeting that’s Tailored for Remote Sites
– When Moving a Code Base, Bug Fixing Makes a Good Start
– Separate teams by functionality not activity
Expect to need more documents
– Get multiple communication modes working early
– Costs and Benefits of Offshore Development

To better understand who has been doing it well and for a long time ive selected the below from Microsofts pool of off-shore agile articles. It’s short, too the point and gives some practicle how tos.
– agile practice trends
– insight to the right tools i.e. integration
– communication, communication, communication


And last but not least a nice checklist infographic to consider

attribution to with this graphic