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Embrace Adversity

Annella Metoyer Author Interview

Annella Metoyer Author Interview

Dare to Be the Change tells the story of your life and how you overcame adversities to be the change you wanted to see in the world. Why was this an important book for you to write?

It was important for me to write this book to give the readers a glimpse into some of the adversities that women and people of color face in corporate America. More importantly, how to embrace adversity and make it your advantage by becoming the voice for others.

You grew up in a small town in Louisiana, in a time where racism was prevalent in the community. How has your perception changed of that time and place now that you’re an adult? 

I do not feel my perception has changed now that I am an adult. However, as an adult, I do understand the WHY behind why some things happened.

 I found this book to be inspirational and motivate me to help others seek change. What do you hope readers take away from your book?

Since the book published, I have received countless emails, phone calls, text messages from all cultures. The book is doing exactly what I hoped it would do. First, giving individuals a platform to talk to each other about a sensitive subject versus talking at each other. Secondly, it’s an opportunity for each person to tell their own story. And finally, its reenergized individuals to stand up and be the voice in the room.

What is the next book that you are writing and when will it be available?

My next book Stronger than Fear is a children’s book scheduled to be published late summer 2018. It’s about a boy named Christopher and his dog Loki experiencing bullying by members of their species.

Author Links: GoodReadsTwitterFacebookWebsiteLinkedIn

 In Dare to be the Change, Annella Metoyer courageously shares the details of her life’s challenges, her family’s dedication to positive change as well as offers hope for readers through her struggles and accomplishments. Starting with the integration of her small town public school, she encounters a life-changing experience that sets her on a path of “being the change.”

Not only did she face the challenges when women were not the voice in the room, but she also did so as a person of color. From coworkers to disgruntled customers’ discrimination, she lived the evolution of attitudes. With each adversity, she became more determined to take the challenge and turn it into an advantage.

Annella Metoyer was blessed to experience many firsts. She was the first person of color employed by a local bank and ultimately became the City President for a large corporate bank. Her journey later took an unexpected turn when she transitioned from employee to entrepreneur.

Dare to be the Change will resonate with anyone that has ever faced adversities. As you read the story, you will rejoice in the strength that Annella finds within to help others and to make this world a better place.

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That Fantastic Agile Transformation Experience

Scott M. Graffius Author Interview

Scott M. Graffius Author Interview

Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions tackles project management in an approachable way that I found to be highly enlightening. How has your experience in project management helped you write this book?

I am thankful for all of the disruptors, innovators, and visionaries who contributed to the colorful heritage of agile and Scrum. In particular, I thank Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka. Scrum was modeled after their groundbreaking paper, “The New New Product Development Game,” published in the Harvard Business Review in 1986. My book was informed by their article and 115 additional sources—listed in the bibliography—along with my first-hand experience launching Scrum in organizations.

I’m the Founder and CEO of Exceptional PPM and PMO Solutions, an Inc. Verified Business, which helps our clients achieve their business needs through world-class project leadership. I had the privilege to work with a client in a division of a global entertainment business on their successful journey for improved responsiveness to changing business needs, faster delivery speed, higher satisfaction, and continuous improvement—which made them even more competitive and fueled their growth. That fantastic agile transformation experience and result was the inspiration for my book. I thank that client.

I also helped diverse organizations achieve their business needs through project management related services prior to Exceptional PPM and PMO Solutions. I’m a former vice president of a provider of diverse consumer products and services over the Internet including social networking and internet access. Before that, I worked in organizations with businesses ranging from advanced technology products and services to business services, retail, e-commerce, manufacturing, and entertainment. I have experience with consumer, business, reseller, government, and international customer markets, as well as international experience spanning 20 countries.

In addition to hands-on experience, a deep understanding of project management (project, program, portfolio, and PMO management—inclusive of agile, traditional, and hybrid frameworks), engagements with professional associations, involvement with global standards, knowledge of leading practices, and professional credentials also shaped what and how information was presented in the book. Some examples follow. I have a bachelor’s degree in Psychology with a focus in Human Factors. I hold six certifications: Certified Scrum Professional (CSP), Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), Project Management Professional (PMP), IT Service Management Foundation (ITIL), and Lean Six Sigma Green Belt (LSSGB). And I’m proud to be a member of the Scrum Alliance, Project Management Institute (PMI), Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), IEEE Computer Society, IEEE Consumer Electronics Society, IEEE Broadcast Technology Society, IEEE Internet of Things Community, and the IEEE Consultants Network.

I owe a tremendous debt to the technical editors: Chris Hare and Colin Giffen. Each offered insights that greatly improved Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions. I thank them for helping to make this book more clear, consistent, and valuable.

Agile Scrum is often used in technology projects, but do you think Agile Scrum can have a wider application?

Shifting customer needs are common in today’s marketplace. Businesses must be adaptive and responsive to change while delivering an exceptional customer experience to be competitive. Traditional development and delivery frameworks are often ineffective. In contrast, Scrum is a value-driven agile approach which incorporates adjustments based on regular and repeated customer and stakeholder feedback. And Scrum’s built-in rapid response to change leads to substantial benefits such as fast time-to-market, higher satisfaction, and continuous improvement—which supports innovation and drives competitive advantage.

Agile and Scrum were once the sole domain of software development. However, the benefits and results have not gone unnoticed by others. Practices are being adopted by additional departments and industries. The State of Scrum Report: 2017 Edition revealed that 21% of Scrum projects are run by departments outside of Technology such as Marketing, Finance, and Sales. And a New York Timesarticle in 2016—”The New Workplace is Agile, and Nonstop. Can You Keep Up?”—noted agile’s use in diverse industries. Examples ranged from a museum in Sydney, Australia, to an automobile dealership in Maine. Agile/Scrum is being used broadly.

What is one common misconception you find people have about the Agile Scrum methodology?

There are different frameworks supporting the development and delivery of products and services, and most methodologies fall into one of two broad categories: traditional or agile. Traditional practices (sometimes called waterfall) engage sequential development, while agile involves iterative and incremental deliverables. Organizations are increasingly embracing Scrum—the most popular agile framework—to manage projects, and best meet their business needs of rapid response to change, fast delivery speed, and more.

There’s a widely-held view that agile is new. But agile was used decades before it became well-known. A few examples follow. Software was developed in half-day iterations in 1958 for Project Mercury, the United States’ first human spaceflight program. Harlan Mills of IBM promoted in 1968 that “software development should be done incrementally, in stages with continuous user participation and replanning.” In 1980, Tom Gilb introduced the Evolutionary Delivery Model, an incremental alternative to traditional development.

While agile (which includes Scrum) is not new, many innovators and visionaries have advanced principles and practices over time. For those who would like to learn more, there’s a one-minute video—”Agile Has a Long and Colorful Heritage”—at https://vimeo.com/259429846.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I have two works in the pipeline. Currently, however, there is no detail on content or publication dates for future books.

Author Links: TwitterFacebookWebsiteBlogVideo ChannelInstagramPinterest

Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions by [Graffius, Scott M.]Deliver Products in Short Cycles with Rapid Adaptation to Change, Fast Time-to-Market, and Continuous Improvement―Which Supports Innovation and Drives Competitive Advantage

Shifting customer needs are common in today’s marketplace. Businesses must be adaptive and responsive to change while delivering an exceptional customer experience to be competitive. 

There are a variety of frameworks supporting the development of products and services, and most methodologies fall into one of two broad categories: traditional or agile. Traditional practices such as waterfall engage sequential development, while agile involves iterative and incremental deliverables. Organizations are increasingly embracing agile to manage projects, and best meet their business needs of rapid response to change, fast delivery speed, and more.

Agile Scrum is for those interested or involved in innovation, project management, product development, software development or technology management. It’s for those who have not yet used Scrum. It’s also for people already using Scrum, in roles such as Product Owners, Scrum Masters, Development Team members (business analysts, solution and system architects, designers, developers, testers, etc.), customers, end users, agile coaches, executives, managers, and other stakeholders. For those already using Scrum, this guide can serve as a reference on practices for consideration and potential adaptation. 

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Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions

Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions by [Graffius, Scott M.]

Proper project management is essential in a business. The many moving parts need to be well oiled for a smooth ride. One therefore needs to be able to adapt to unpredictable changes in business. The traditional methodology of project management is sequential and focuses on predicting issues and having set ways to deal with them. The other project methodology is agile, which is a flexible, collaborative, and incremental process.

This book is about an agile framework called scrum. The idea is to focus on making the team adaptive to change. The framework appreciates requirement volatility. This is the prevalence of customer wants and preferences to change. Scrum instills an understanding that changes cannot be fully understood or foreseen. Rather than try to predict and understand the changes, this framework prepares the team to appropriately deal with such changes.

Agile scrum is more widely used in Software development but the author does a good job of generalizing it. Making it the go to framework for every project manager regardless of industry. The book highlights the versatility of scrum beautifully.

The subject matter is a bit complex. However, Scott M. Graffius breaks it down into little chewable bits before delving deep into each, taking it apart grain by grain. This method is greatly useful as it makes a daunting ideology easy to take in and implement. With this book, one can expertly introduce scrum into their business environment and confidently tackle any hurdle. It outlines all the basics in simple language and prose. The book is also greatly useful for people who are already using scrum. It makes for an excellent reference material for those that are already scrum certified or are preparing to be.

Using visual aids in addition to text greatly enhances the material. It makes for a more interactive and engaging experience. It makes the process of understanding the subject matter smoother for everyone whether beginner or veteran. Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step by Step Instructions offers a myriad of supplemental resources. Materials that one can use in addition to the book to better understand and use the scrum framework. It walks one through every step from vision to team formation to creating the product narrative up to release.

Unlike other books on the market, this one offers an informal look at scrum without losing its practicality. The tone is conversational thus does not feel like a textbook, and provides numerous examples and insight into real world implementation of scrum. I would recommended this to anyone looking to change their project management framework or work out knots in their current system. Scott M. Graffius delivers an in depth understanding of the subject matter and instills the same in the reader.

Pages: 156 | ASIN: B01FZ0JIIY

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The Better Practices Guide to Change

The Better Practices Guide to Change by [Borysowich, Craig]

Change is important for progress. Change ensures that the business environment stays fresh. It puts the organization on a viable path to success. It breaks monotony.

Craig Borysowich covers a variety of business processes that are required to introduce and manage change. This book will arm the reader with the necessary skills to ensure they can effectively and successfully effect change in the organization. This book covers a range of business related issues and factors that lead to the ease and improvement of performance in the business environment.

Whether one is instrumental in the introduction of change or merely a supporter, they need to understand the unintended consequences of change. There is need to understand how to handle situations that could arise from the change and how to deal with the aftermath. Utilizing the tools found within this book will raise the chances of success for a change agent.

The Better Practices Guide to Change is filled with useful samples, examples, and templates that are directly applicable to the business environment.

The author does a good job of delivering the content in an understandable manner. The outline encourages better perusing of the material. The format is efficient and does not distract the reader from the subject at hand.  The worst thing about books in this genre is where the author gets braggy and condescending. The author does not commit that faux pas. He gives advice in a manner that leaves the reader feeling knowledgeable, smarter, and not stupid for not having known prior to reading.

Everything from the format to the material is deeply researched. One can tell that there is experience. The author does not try to aggressively force his ideas onto the reader but rather imparts knowledge for the taking at the reader’s discretion.

The subject has been exhaustively explained. All six sections cover different aspects of change in a way that leaves all questions answered. This book is like an elderly mentor. The author holds the reader’s hand through the sections, explaining each point and frequently pausing to check that they have understood. After reading this book, one will feel like they have just encountered their mentor through real world training.

This book takes on a very serious tone. It may at times feel more like a textbook than a guide. However, this is not a deterrent to the delivery. One will still get the message.

Craig has created a great reference guide. Often people who are responsible for the change process might have doubts about the change itself or doubt which route taken to achieve it. This book will help them review and revise if possible. It will affirm which plan is the correct one and therefore refresh one’s faith in the change. Change does not have to be a big scary ogre, and Craig ensures it is not.

Pages: 390 | ASIN: B078T1GW89

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Executive Hoodlum

Executive Hoodlum: Negotiating on the Corner of Main and Mean

Executive Hoodlum: Negotiating on the Corner of Main and Mean by John Costello is a story about the Vice President of Business Development and Government Relations for Microsemi Corporation. He has a number of titles that he has earned throughout his life, from being friends with movie stars and other high profile individuals to being a Golden Glove boxer. You would think with his long list of accomplishments that he came from a fancy upbringing with rich parents and unlimited resources. Actually, the opposite is true. He was raised in a blue collar neighborhood in Chicago. His father was a somewhat violent man with mob connections and his mother struggled with addiction. John overcame quite a bit of turmoil in order to become the man he is today.

This was a very interesting story from the very first page. Knowing that this was a true story made it even more of a page turner for me. I am often intrigued by true stories of people overcoming their personal struggles and hardships to become the people they are. While we all have our own issues we deal with, I find it great to be able to step into another’s shoes and try their life on for a while.

So many people that have a tough childhood and upbringing use it as an excuse to not reach their real potential. Not John Costello. He adapted to the hand he was dealt and overcame it all. It would be tough to find someone that has had it worse in this country. His story is inspiring and makes you put your own issues into perspective and makes you look at how you can overcome them as well! He used the lessons he learned in a very negative world and has twisted them in a way that is useful in the corporate industry he has climbed into.

I found myself chuckling in some places and holding back tears in others. The storytelling was on point and very relatable. In some ways I could see this being an inspiring box office movie. The situations where was struggling to get out of, yet finding himself falling back into those situations. You find yourself pulling for him to break away from those situations, and the delivery of those small moments are so incredible. I started this book a little while before bed and ended up staying up later than I had intended. The story was just that good. I literally struggled to find a point in which I could put the book down. The next morning I was up and trying to squeeze in the time to finish the book between my other priorities.

Executive Hoodlum by John Costello is a great story for anyone that loves to read about people that overcome adversity in order to become a bigger and better person. I think anyone that has a tendency to think they can’t do something because of where they are from should pick up this book and realize that nothing can hold them back if they put their mind to it.

Pages: 261 | ASIN: B075H1HXK3

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Save That Penny For A Sunny Day

Secretary of State and State Librarian Recommended children book ” Save That Penny For A Sunny Day”, educates, inspires and introduces youth to understanding entrepreneurship, finances, and budgeting to promote financially healthy youth for generations to come.

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Evolve like a Butterfly: A Metamorphic Approach to Leadership

Evolve Like a Butterfly: A Metamorphic Approach to Leadership

Evolve Like A Butterfly – A Metamorphic Approach to Leadership by Mayur Ramgir covers a broad spectrum of areas relevant to the task of a leader. Supported by illustrations and quotes, advice is given on risk taking, adapting to change, accepting feedback and good communication. It also looks at the conditions in which innovation, incubation and prototyping can occur. Ramgir reveals the secrets to motivating others whilst continuing on a path of self-development, and shares tips on creating a legacy through leadership succession.

The book can be read cover to cover or dipped into as a reference guide for specific advice.

The author engages the reader with a warm and welcoming tone from the start. He then describes his mother’s own leadership journey and invites us to consider the definition of a leader before we move on to more complex considerations. It is a useful resource for anyone starting out in leadership or those wishing to transition to a more ethical approach.

The butterfly metaphor is used initially to good effect, although it is not evenly referenced throughout, it is revived at later points and thus not lost entirely.

Hidden in the book are useful nuggets of advice which may not be found in your average book on leadership in business from a mainstream perspective. Ramgir emphasizes the importance of remaining connected empathetically to the work force so that there is less chance that this bond is severed in times of change or difficulty. He also looks at what areas of self development might be needed for a good leader; and points out how important it is to learn from one’s own failures whilst forging an individual path.

The author suggests that ‘character’ is vital in order to lead an organisation or team through crises and adversity. However, he does not really flesh out what he means by the term which readers may understand in slightly different ways, in particular across cultural divides. Perhaps ‘tenacity’ or ‘staying power’ would be suitable descriptors of the qualities he intends to present.

Ramgir does not shy away from offering solutions to challenging issues such as the potential pitfalls of moving from being a member of a peer group to leading those peers; or managing the ups and downs of different points in the business cycle and consideration of the timing of risk taking.

While some sections seem to repeat themes such as communication and motivation, the additional detail reiterates the importance of these key skills in different contexts.

This is a useful reader for students and established leaders in business as well as those concerned with social good; it is relevant across the private, third and public sectors.

This book is an inspiring read and goes far in providing sound advice to current and emerging leaders. It is a recommended read for anyone passionate about safeguarding the future of the organisation and people with whom they work.

Pages: 250 | ISBN: 154428585X

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The Crooked Boundary

The Crooked Boundary4 StarsThe Crooked Boundary by Ian Bradshaw is a tale of the owners of two dot-com companies in Brazil and Australia that completely failed, causing investors to lose a great deal of money. The investors are so upset, they filed a class action suit against the owners. The owners then take the earning from those companies and being the development on a country club and golf course in Australia. Behind that property is a dirt bike course whose only access bridge becomes washed away in a storm. Two members of the club decide to go in search of an alternative route to the club in a nearby forest. There they meet Rex and Cruz. This chance meeting begins an opportunity for the previous investors of the failed dot-com companies to regain some of their losses.

Mr. Ian Bradshaw writes with an authoritative and informative voice. He spends time building up the background of the dot-com companies as well as the owners. The settings are very descriptive and characters are complex. The flow and pacing of the story is conducive to the development of the characters. Mr. Bradshaw does a good job at developing the battle between the self interest of the owners and the high moral ground they choose to ignore. This conflict develops organically through dialogue and character interaction. He does a great job relating everything together without making it feel forced or unnatural. The story takes place in two of the most interesting and exotic places: Australia and Brazil, thus giving the story a remote feel to it. But with that said, sometimes there was so much description that some points needed to be reread as it seemed difficult to understand some of the wording. And there were some sections that were heavy in investment and business lingo.

Otherwise, the author weaves an interesting tale of complex interpersonal relationships and shady business practices. A lot of things are happening at once in this story, or rather multiple stories that are all connected through the same cast of characters. Every step of the way, Bradshaw keeps his readers guessing and contemplating what will happen next. Every moment in the story is unpredictable building suspense in seemingly common interactions. The characters are completely unpredictable as well, just when you think you know how a certain character will react to a situation, they do something different. What I really enjoyed about this story is that it’s complete; there are no holes leaving me wondering what happened.

There are many elements that go into making this an excellent story. Mr. Bradshaw draws on his experiences as a real estate investor for his novel. This is evident throughout the novel. He does a remarkable job at turning his own knowledge into a fascinating novel. I would recommend this novel not only to people who enjoy business and investment, but also those who enjoy a compelling novel with a unique style of suspense.

Pages: 330 | ISBN: 1502364433

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