Agile Marketing & Communications

Agile Marketing & Communications

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutesIt’s hard to juggle planning against the pressures of unplanned work due to change. As a full-time communicator, I’ve found myself trying to balance the organizational needs of planning against the realities of responding to change in a timely fashion, only to realize that I seemingly could not find a way to do both well. Until now. Over the years, I’ve worked with and around software developers and have come to first appreciate and then come to study and use their secret to delivering code quickly and adapting just as fast to new features and bug fixes. A very brief recap of they way things used to be versus how they are now in project planning: Software used to be fully considered, mapped out, documented and planned for a final finished release. This method, called Waterfall, was to do all of the pre-planning and documentation for everything the software would need to do in one, very large and complex project plan, complete with Gantt charts to estimate work over months and even years. Software-as-a-Service (software you use online, in an app, or in a browser, most frequently) changed the need for more iterative software changes that responded to demands and needs of users as quickly as possible – sometimes days or weeks. Agile is a belief that a collaborate team working in short durations together can deliver more often and change more rapidly. Scrum is a methodology for applying Agile that plans all work in chunks (2 to 4 weeks is common) and follows ‘ceremonies’ that organize the work during. Kanban is an Agile method...

Just Enough, Just in Time

Estimated Reading Time: 2 minutesWe have more data than we could realistically organize, tag, filter, or view. The shift from the Information Age to the Connection Age is at hand, where our networks have proliferated to the point where we suffer from a glut of input delivered at an ever-increasing pace. We are now forced to choose which pieces of the data we want to view. From financial giving data to weekend attendance reporting to small group and volunteer involvement data, and on through the endless emails on our mobile devices about our kid’s recitals, PTA meetings, Amazon specials, and the obscene amount of pure email spam, each of us must choose how much input we are willing to actually use. So, how do you choose? And how are you communicating those choices? We’ve likely all been taught the Eisenhower Matrix (a.k.a. the Priority Matrix) below. We know that things which are truly urgent are few, but things that are important are in  volume, but we often still act like others need to respond to our stuff as urgent. This kind of e-bullying eschews our real priorities and makes our priorities someone else’s emergencies. As a guy who deals with communications as a large part of my job, I see more than a few “urgent” emails subject lines. Sometimes, others use the more subtle approach of urgent synonyms within their emails (“I have a pressing need” or “this is a high-priority project” or “we need to get to this ASAP”). When everything is a priority, nothing is a priority. To quote Bob Newhart: “Stop it!” We’re all busy…and that’s part...

Mentoring Matters

Estimated Reading Time: 3 minutesMentoring is not a special program for special people, but a business focused value for valuing employees focused on the business. A great piece was written over at Fast Company about Intel’s new mentoring movement, and it informed some of my thinking for this blog post. A mentor/mentee relationship is more than merely providing advice; it’s a two-way relationship where the mentor and the mentee both work with – and benefit from – the other. Anyone can mentor, regardless of position. What matters is the experience and wisdom of the mentor, not the job title or organizational hierarchy. Intel does a great job of demonstrating that, so be sure to read that article. “The currency of a successful mentor/mentee relationship is personal satisfaction.” – from FounderCorps As with much of what I write about, I orient mentorship programs around clearly defined Objectives, supported by Goals, articulated through Strategies, and tracked through Actions. OBJECTIVES (Why) GOALS (What by When) STRATEGIES (How) ACTIONS (Who) Good Structure/Principles for Mentoring Set a Start and Stop Date That’s not to say a person cannot, or should not, be a life-long mentor, but by defining a start/stop date, the expectations for specific training or availability are clearly understood within a defined timeline. Document Progress & Feedback Though relational connection is key and should trump a checklists of task lists (that’s coaching, not mentoring), it is helpful to document the objective and goals for both parties. Tracking milestones along the way both ensures the focus is maintained and that expectations are being met. To be clear: Coaching is task oriented, mentoring is relationship oriented. Coaching is performance driven,...

Before They’re Fired – A Personal Improvement Plan

Estimated Reading Time: 5 minutesWhen you hear from high-caliber, top-quality people who were let go from a job, they’ll often tell you they heard the phrase “you just weren’t a good fit”. That can be another way of saying “we didn’t know how to manage you.” In my experience, the key to managing highly artistic or technical staff requires a different managerial approach that helps bridge the gap between their tremendous skills/abilities and the culture of the organization. What I’ve learned about leading talented, creative team members goes past the Human Resources checklists with a deeper dive to discover the root of the problems. As author Bob Hamp talks about in his books, the issue is almost never the issue; it’s symptomatic of the real problem. Sometimes, the soft skills of communication and inter-staff roles is creates a disconnect between these artists and techs and the rest of the staff. In my coaching and consulting,  I often end up helping these creatives to identify blind spots and areas where growth is necessary in the context of a church staff. For a number of reasons that have everything to do with a lack of humility, broken places in my heart, and poor examples from my childhood and early jobs, I found myself as the ‘black sheep’ of a large, fast-growing church staff. At the too-young age of 23, I was leading a team of volunteers, running a brand new television and tech arts ministry, and in way over my head. I was talented and ambitious but lacked the emotional intelligence or leadership experience to understand that I was running over staff and volunteers under the guise of innovating and blazing a trail. Oh, I...

Video Projection Screen Size & Brightness Formulas Cheat Sheet

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutesI suppose it’s from my many years in the Technical Arts, but I am still frequently asked about how to determine the correct screen size and brightness for video projection. I’ve taken some of my writing on the subject and created a ‘cheat sheet’ of sorts that provides some of the basic formulas and examples of how it all works in the real world. This post will be where I henceforth send anyone asking for these kinds of questions, as the few simple formulas are eye-opening and require only simple math. – Anthony Coppedge   While we live in world with finite budgets, we also live in a world with finite physics; our budgets cannot wish physics away, so we must either determine to adjust light levels (if and when possible) or spend more to overcome the physics of light. It’s math, not finances, that determine your needs. Adjust accordingly. The basic math formulas for calculating projection needs: Determine screen placement Sight lines are paramount in determining screen location. Make sure everyone (especially those far away) have a clear, unobstructed view of the screen. In many situation, more than one screen is required. I won’t go into screen viewing angles, but keep in mind that anything beyond 45 degrees (horizontal or vertical) will fatigue the eye. In many venues, the angle of the side walls is insufficient to simply mount the screens flush. It is advisable to mount the screens (assuming front projection) at a greater angle to face across the room the the far side from the screen. Otherwise, if the screens are facing the...