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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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Literary Titan Book Awards April 2018

The Literary Titan Book Awards are awarded to books that have astounded and amazed us with unique writing styles, vivid worlds, complex characters, and original ideas. These books deserve extraordinary praise and we are proud to acknowledge the hard work, dedication, and imagination of these talented authors.

Literary Titan Gold Book Award

Gold Award Winners

Faery Sight (Faerie Legacy Series Book 1) by [Bossano, Patricia]Cradle Gift (Faerie Legacy Series Book 2) by [Bossano, Patricia]

Nahia (Faerie Legacy Series Book 3) by [Bossano, Patricia]Sam's Theory by [Mendivel, Sarah]

Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions by [Graffius, Scott M.]How to Get Your Screen-Loving Kids to Read Books for Pleasure by [Newton, Kaye]

Dare to Be the Change by [Metoyer, Annella]The BreakAway Girl: Secrets of a Tantric Yogi by [Bodeman, Paulette ]

Did I Say Never?: A Stepparent’s Emotional Journey with her Special Needs Son by [Nugent, Kim]

Literary Titan Silver Book Award

Silver Award Winners

The Three Lives of One by [Mooney, Lesley]Beyond Sun and Shadows by [Mooney, Lesley J]

Nights Arose by [Roche, Andrea]The Congress of Rough Writers: Flash Fiction Anthology Vol. 1 (Congress of the Rough Writers Flash Fiction Anthology) by [Mills, Charli, Amore, Anthony, Bell, Georgia, Black, Sacha, Colvin, Norah, Fanning, Pete, Ferry, C. Jai, Glaessner, Rebecca, Goodwin, Anne]

Finding Balance and Forgiveness through Chakras and Art by [McCallum, Teresa]

Alterni (The Alt-World Chronicles Book 1) by [Somerville, Sunshine]How We End Up by [Wells, Douglas]

 

Visit the Literary Titan Book Awards page to see award information and see all award winners.

 

How to Get Your Screen-Loving Kids to Read Books for Pleasure

How to Get Your Screen-Loving Kids to Read Books for Pleasure by [Newton, Kaye]

How to Get Your Screen-Loving Kids to Read Books for Pleasure, written by Kaye Newton, will help you teach your children to find the joy in reading. We live in a digital age, and the art of reading is slowly fading away. Netflix, social media and the internet have taken over the entertainment sector, leaving teenagers and children disinterested with the magic of reading. Armed with exciting and informative facts, Kaye Newton will help all parents and caregivers find practical and engaging ways to help encourage your adolescents to read.

How to Get Your Screen-Loving Kids to Read Books for Pleasure is a valuable tool and learning resource for all parents who are trying to get their teens to read. With online distractions and the quick fix that screen time provides, this generation of children is sadly missing out on the benefits which reading a book provides.

The benefits of reading are far and wide and include how reading improves our concentration, memory, analytical skills and even help teens prepare for the workforce. And if you believe your child is just simply not a “born reader”, Newton also takes a look at how we all have the potential to read, and humans are innately drawn to storytelling and adventure. Sometimes it comes down to simply finding the right book for the right child.

How to Get Your Screen-Loving Kids to Read Books for Pleasure will also push you to question your own beliefs and interests in reading. One line that resonated with me was “I liked reading until I was forced to overthink every sentence”. As a child, we often read books to discover new worlds, uncover magical creatures and learn different cultures, but  this changes when we become adolescents. At school we are often expected to look at the grammar and the concept of the story and then write hundreds and sometimes thousands of words about a plot line we may have not even enjoyed. Kaye Newton addresses this issue with some alarming statistics about how little we now read and the detrimental effects it can have when we take reading out of our lives.

Not only will How to Get Your Screen-Loving Kids to Read Books for Pleasure give you extensive and useful tools to help with supporting your teen to read, but the novel also provides lists of books that will suit your child and match their interests. For example, many parents often use the excuse that their child does not read due to being obsessed with video games. But there are books for even the most avid of gamers, and Newton will provide you with several examples to get you started. There is also a fantastic list of books ready for you to try that are sorted by ages and genres.

One segment of How to Get Your Screen-Loving Kids to Read Books for Pleasure also answers questions that parents may have, such as do graphic novels count as reading or what is considered “real reading”? These questions will help parents find out what type of reading will suit their teen and how reading can be found in places we least expect.

I would recommend this to anyone who is looking to encourage the children in their lives to discover the magic of reading!

Pages: 171 | ASIN: B0793MKDNP

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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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Finding Balance and Forgiveness through Chakras and Art

Finding Balance and Forgiveness through Chakras and Art by [McCallum, Teresa]

Have you ever wondered what Chakras are and how they can impact your well-being? Teresa McCallum has written a book that is the culmination of years of research, personal experiences, and learning from experts. McCallum is a registered nurse that has spent many years working in the mental health field and has the educational background to back up her findings using these non-traditional methods. In Finding Balance and Forgiveness Through Chakras and Art you will discover what the seven Chakras are, where they are located, how to determine if it is blocked, deficient or in excess of energy and how to correct it so you can bring your body into balance. In addition to providing readers with information on the Chakras and how to balance them, she gives readers real life examples and stories. Many from her own life as a nurse, and her own personal experiences.

Walk through any book store or brows online and you will find thousands of self-help books.

One of the different aspects of this book over others on Chakras is the incorporation of art in all stages. Teresa McCallum offers up methods to incorporate specific forms of art for each Chakras to help you find balance. From working with clay to dance and performing arts, there are an abundance of suggestions on how to use art forms to focus your mind and body to heal your Chakras. There are examples of art, and there are diagrams and instructions for the recommended yoga poses. It is all organized with plenty of quick reference charts to refer back to. I particularly love the silhouettes drawings of the yoga poses, they are simple and uncomplicated and make it easy for me to see how the pose is done. For more complicated one there are instructions as well as recommended breathing techniques to go with them. I found most of the stories helpful in understanding the purpose of each of the Chakras, though a few felt drawn out longer than needed. You can tell the author has a great passion for helping others and the people she chooses to include in this book mean a great deal to her. Sharing of her personal struggles, especially her cardiac arrest, make her relatable because she shows how her life took such a drastic downfall and what she needed to do to heal.

Finding Balance and Forgiveness Through Chakras and Art is a great reference for those new or old to the study of Chakras and self-healing. It is inspiring to learn to detect all the symptoms in your body and trace them back to an origin. What I appreciate the most in this book, is that Teresa McCallum doesn’t promote ignoring traditional medicine and the advice of doctors. She encourages the use of Chakra balancing in addition to getting medical treatment when needed. It is refreshing to see that the two worlds can be combined. I recommend this book for anyone curious about Chakras and how this can improve their day to day life.

Pages: 160 | ASIN: B079P9B6Y6

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I Have a Few Ideas Brewing

Diane Mae Robinson Author Interview

Diane Mae Robinson Author Interview

The Dragon Grammar Book succinctly covers everything from subject and verb agreement to dangling participles and misplaced modifiers in a fun and engaging way. What was your goal when you began this book?

My goal was to create an easy-to-understand and fun grammar book for a wider audience, from middle grades to adults, that would encourage the reader to want to read and learn grammar. As a writer, editor, and publisher, I often come across the same grammar mistakes made by adults, so I wanted the book to be a refresher guide for adults while being a learning guide for children.

What do you find people struggle with the most when learning the English language?

The English language is a complicated language to learn and even confuses seasoned writers on occasions. The thing I see most people struggle with is the proper use of homonyms, like your vs. you’re; and other confusing words, like when to use affect vs. effect. Second to that, punctuation seem to present a lot of problems.

What I liked most about this book was how it distilled ideas down to simple bits of information. What was the hardest part about writing this book so it’s understood by kids and adults?

Most books aren’t written for such a wide audience, so the challenge was in finding that middle ground where the writing would engage the entire group of readers. Personally, I appreciate simple explanations that don’t over explain, which led me to the idea that other adults might too.

Do you plan to create more educational novels like this featuring characters from your fantasy series?

Yes, I have a few ideas brewing, but the idea that keeps coming up front and center is to write my characters into a book about short-story writing. I’d like this book, too, to be for middle grades through adults. The characters are presently voting on the project, so we’ll see where that leads us.

Author Links: GoodreadsTwitterFacebookWebsite

The Dragon Grammar Book: Grammar for Kids, Dragons, and the Whole Kingdom by [Robinson, Diane Mae]Finally! An easy-to-understand grammar book with fun grammar lessons. 

The Dragon Grammar Book is the ideal grammar book for kids, dragons, and adults alike. From multi-award winning children’s fantasy author, Diane Mae Robinson, The Dragon Grammar Book introduces middle grades through adults to the basic rules of the English language with easy grammar lessons. Featuring the zany fantasy characters in the author’s The Pen Pieyu Adventures series, The Dragon Grammar Book is sure to be enjoyed by the whole kingdom.

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The Dragon Grammar Book: Grammar for Kids, Dragons, and the Whole Kingdom

The Dragon Grammar Book: Grammar for Kids, Dragons, and the Whole Kingdom, by Diane Mae Robinson, is a handy writing tool for kids in one neat, little package. Robinson presents readers with a succinct list of terminology, ten chapters covering everything from subject and verb agreement to dangling participles and misplaced modifiers. Throughout the grammar guide, readers are treated to engaging illustrations of Sir Princess Petra and Snarls, the dragon. From beginning to end, The Dragon Grammar Book, provides readers with everything they need to address those most common questions they encounter as budding writers.

Robinson begins her grammar guide with a very useful and well-organized grammar terminology section. Teachers, students, and parents will find the opening 15 pages of the book an extremely helpful tool for quickly skimming and finding definitions and examples of each of the parts of speech, punctuation, along with a few writing terms tossed in for good measure.

Let’s face it, kids can shut down at lightning speed when a textbook comes into sight. The Dragon Grammar Book provides the perfect amount of information presented in short bursts that don’t overwhelm the reader. Accompanying explanations for each rule are not too wordy, and hold the reader’s attention long enough to make a point. The ongoing dragon theme is tucked into each of the example sentences throughout the book.

As a teacher, I appreciate the wide variety of topics covered in the fairly short text. The author has chosen to include some areas students will encounter as their writing develops over the course of several years. Chapter One’s focus on confusing words was a breath of fresh air to this teacher. Arranged alphabetically and featuring brief, easy-to-understand examples, this portion of the book is simple to navigate and covers each and every roadblock young writers encounter as they learn to proofread and edit their work.

I give The Dragon Grammar Book: Grammar for Kids, Dragons, and the Whole Kingdom 5 out of 5 stars. Having a useful resource that engages students and includes a wide variety of grammar rules with short, fun examples is difficult to find. Robinson has produced a winner with this easy-to-navigate, all-inclusive, grammar guide for kids.

Pages: 140 | ASIN: 198871401X

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A-C-T Like a Kid and T-H-I-N-K Like a Parent

A-C-T Like A Kid And T-H-I-N-K Like A Parent: What All Good Parents Need For Their Kids To Know, Learn And Understand

A-C-T Like a Kid and T-H-I-N-K Like a Parent, by C.S. Whitehurst and Katharine Shears, is a guide for preteens and teens as they enter the most difficult stages of their young lives. The authors present numerous challenging situations, looming questions, and advice for readers. Teen readers are given thorough explanations regarding basic life skills and the necessity in learning early to practice and demonstrate responsibility, showing and earning respect, and getting what they want through appropriate measures.

As a parent and teacher, I appreciate the authors’ detailed advice regarding parents’ feelings about their children. They take a close look at the way parents feel about others hurting their children and the difficulty we have in trusting others not to hurt our children. I was especially touched by the authors’ emphasis on the fact that we, as parents, do not want anyone to hurt our children and that includes the child himself. This is something I find, as a mother, very difficult to express at times.

Children, especially teens, struggle with their feelings toward their parents and question whether they truly understand them or not. Whitehurst and Shears stress that a parent, whether or not he or she has sought professional parenting advice, operates based on what he or she knows from past experiences. Helping children and teens realize that we, as parents, bring our own childhood into the parenting realm allows them to see the significance of the decisions we make–bad or good. The authors are open and informative as they explain parents’ varying strategies.

I realize that the focus of the book was effectively the parent and child relationship and the importance of understanding a parent’s point of view, but I would have liked a little more extensive explanation of the parent’s view of bullying. This is such a difficult aspect to drive home as a mother and a teacher. When children hear someone else explain the same information we have tried ad nauseum to explain, it is often more effective coming from another source. The authors have an excellent opportunity to further address this extremely relevant social issue.

The authors recognize that teens are more likely than not to encounter feelings of dishonesty, and be hit with the desire to hide their feelings and actions from parents. Part Three, Chapter 9 deals quite frankly with these feelings and helps the young reader understand the importance of growing into a trustworthy adult. In addition, the reader receives a thorough explanation of the directness appreciated by parents. In fact, the authors dedicate a great amount of their time to the concept of trust, which I appreciated greatly.

I am giving A-C-T Like a Kid and T-H-I-N-K Like a Parent is a wonderfully persuasive piece which is bound to hit home with teen readers. The authors have been careful not to write above the teen reader’s head, and they effectively touch on a variety of issues within one handy self-help manual.

Pages: 192| ASIN: B076GJLLQ4

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A-C-T Like A Kid And T-H-I-N-K Like A Parent: What All Good Parents Need For Their Kids To Know, Learn And Understand

Just for kicks, have you ever wondered what your parents really want from you in life? Is it you, or do your parents want you to have no real fun? On any given day, do you want to make your parents proud of you and still do what makes you feel really happy within yourself? Of course you do! But the real question has always been, and still is…how? How can we actually get this done?

Well, with A-C-T like a Kid and T-H-I-N-K like a Parent, a.k.a “the child-part consoler”, you will get past common misunderstandings by learning how to truly talk, hear, and listen to your parents, guardians or caregivers instead of feeling like you have to run to friends to find some sense of acceptance, understanding, and real connection.

In this book, chock-full of questions and answers gotten directly from the source, you’ll learn what your parents, guardians or caregivers really expect of you—and maybe you’ll even find out how to explain to them what you really expect from them! Not that this book could ever replace a parent, because it can not. But when it comes to openly communicating certain key ideas, this book comes really close.

This tell-all guide contains lots of enlightening explanations and helpful answers to many common kid questions like:

What do my parents really want from me?
Why do my parents do what they do and say what they say?
What do I really need to know about my parents’ parenting skills?
How can I keep my parents happy with me?
How can I help my parents to help me?
How can I get what I want from my parents every time?

A-C-T like a Kid and T-H-I-N-K like a Parent is an intro to the secret knowledge of adults which is a set of informations that is mainly covered in the book entitled Surrogate Re-Parenting: A.K.A. Get Your Mind Right, and even more thoroughly covered in the book The Secret Knowledge Of Adults. While this book, A-C-T like a Kid and T-H-I-N-K like a Parent is intended for kids 10 and up, the info in this book is beneficial and useful to the intelligent kid parts in all of us. Yes, this means you too.

The information in this book will help you and yours to start to see your parents, not as the enemy, but as the caring human beings they really are, and take the first step toward family unity, understanding, growth, success, and happiness! Both you and your parents really deserve this, and with this book, A-C-T like a Kid and T-H-I-N-K like a Parent, you and your parents can actually achieve this.

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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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