2018 Year in Review

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I’ve compiled a review of 2018. This post highlights my consulting business, book, speaking appearances, and blog.

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Business

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Organizations need to realize their strategic objectives and business initiatives. My professional services firm, Exceptional PPM and PMO Solutions™, helps our clients achieve those needs through advisory, training, and facilitative consulting services related to project, program, portfolio, and PMO management. Our expertise spans agile, traditional waterfall, and hybrid development and delivery frameworks. To learn more about the company, please visit http://exceptional-pmo.com.

A book and speaking appearances—extensions of Exceptional PPM and PMO Solutions™—are highlighted individually below.

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Book

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Inspired by a fantastic agile transformation experience and result with a client in the entertainment industry, Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions was published in 2016. It helps technical and non-technical teams develop and deliver products in short cycles with rapid adaptation to change, fast time-to-market, and continuous improvement—which supports innovation and drives competitive advantage. Between the date of publication and 2017, it garnered 15 first place awards from national and international competitions. The credit is shared with Chris Hare and Colin Giffen, the technical editors on the book.

Attention and interest continued in 2018. Accolades included two additional first place awards (making the updated total 17), being featured as a success story by the BEA, and more. And
Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions and I were featured in Yahoo Finance, Innovation Management, Informa Middle East, and additional media publications.

To make the book available to more sellers and customers, I transitioned it to Expanded Distribution in 2018. With the change, both the print and ebook formats of
Agile Scrum were still available at Amazon, just not exclusively. Expanded Distribution provided access to a larger audience through more online retailers, bookstores, libraries, academic institutions, and distributors. Agile Scrum became available through the following channels (in addition to Amazon):

  • Bookstores and Online Retailers - available to online and offline retailers such as Barnes & Noble and to distributors such as Ingram and the National Association of College Stores, Inc. (NACSCORP).
  • Libraries and Academic Institutions - offered through Baker & Taylor to libraries and academic institutions.
  • CreateSpace Direct - available to certified resellers through the CreateSpace Direct wholesale website.

Agile Scrum is still offered in print and digital formats at Amazon. The paperback is available in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The ebook is for sale in Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

A trailer, high-resolution images, reviews, a detailed list of awards, and more on
Agile Scrum are available in the digital media kit at https://AgileScrumGuide.com.

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Speaking Appearances

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I've been fortunate to have spoken to diverse audiences on project, program, portfolio, and PMO management related topics of timely importance. I delivered five talks at conferences and other events in 2018:
  • Techstars conference
  • California Central Coast chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI)
  • California Inland Empire chapter of the PMI
  • An event in Las Vegas
  • California Central Valley chapter of the PMI

Upcoming appearances in 2019 include the Project World conference in Canada, another talk at a PMI chapter, and more—to be announced. You can read more about my speaking engagements at
http://bit.ly/SpeakerOne.

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Blog

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My blog at http://scottgraffius.com/blog provides news, tips, and more on the intersection of project management with business and technology. In 2018, I published 48 new articles on the site. That’s down from last year, when I produced 65. However, traffic has been steadily growing per data from Google Analytics. In 2018, the blog had 109,771 page views, compared with 57,139 the prior year. That’s an increase of 92%!

There was a mix of different categories of topics. The top 10 articles in 2018 were:


The majority of visitors (53%) came from the United States. Rounding out the top 10 were France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, Philippines, Brazil, India, Australia, and Sweden. While not in the top 10 for the year, there was a significant increase in traffic (primarily in late 2018) from Belgium, the Netherlands, and Japan.

Thank you for visiting the blog!

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© Copyright 2019 Scott M. Graffius. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the express written permission of Scott M. Graffius.





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The Five Most Popular Talks and Workshops

BY SCOTT M. GRAFFIUS | ScottGraffius.com

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Scott M. Graffius is an Agile project management practitioner, consultant, thinker, creator, award-winning author, and international public speaker. Content from his books, talks, and more have been featured and used by Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco, Project Management Institute, IEEE, National Academy of Sciences, Yale University, Adobe, Torrens University Australia, UK Sports Institute, Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute, Boston University, Bayer, Hasso Plattner Institute, University of Galway Ireland, United States National Park Service, and others.

Conference organizers, businesses, professional associations, government agencies, and universities invite him to speak on topics at the intersection of Agile Project Management, Business, and Technology. To date, Graffius has presented talks and workshops at 89 conferences and other events across 25 countries. He uses everyday language and vibrant custom content to make complex topics clear and understandable, and he provides audiences with practical information they can use. His sessions are highly rated by attendees and organizers alike.

The top five talks and workshop topics are highlighted next.

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High Performance Teams

High Performance Teams is first on the list. Scott customizes each session to the audience and other factors, so each one is unique. The following provides a general overview.

  • Title: Talks or workshops on High Performance Teams may be called “Navigate the Phases of Team Development with Speed and Agility” or “Want Happier and More Productive Teams?” or another title.

  • Description: Help your teams go farther, faster! Perhaps you’re heard about the phases of team development: Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning. But are you aware of the unique behaviors specific to each phase? What exactly should you do during each phase to help the team (Agile or otherwise) tackle challenges, make progress, and become successful? If you are a leader (or aspire to be one), a member of a team (or may be in one in the future), or are just looking to develop your skills, this talk (with a fresh angle: 0% theory, 100% real-world-based) will give you a practical framework with actionable tips for working in and leading teams successfully. You'll learn about the five phases—Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning—including detailed descriptions of each along with proven strategies for addressing challenges or issues which may occur along the way. You'll understand how to use the model to your advantage by effectively navigating all of the phases with speed and agility, from team set-up to the after-party! The presentation draws on the speaker’s first-hand, real-world experience, with his guidance supported by additional research, recommendations, and coverage from the Project Management Institute, IEEE, Google, NASA, and others.

  • Key learning benefits: This talk will help you develop and enhance the contributions you make to your organization by being able to: (1) Understand the five stages of team development: Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing, and Adjourning. (2) Learn the characteristics of each phase. (3) Apply proven strategies to help handle challenges or issues experienced by the team. By doing so, you'll advance the team's happiness, productivity, and success.


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Strategic Alignment

Strategic Alignment is second on the list of the top five topics. Scott customizes each session to the audience and other factors, so each one is unique. A general overview follows.

  • Title: Talks or workshops on Strategic Alignment may be called “10 Ways to Score and Prioritize Project Proposals Based on Multiple Factors, Including Strategic Alignment” or “10 Ways to Achieve and Sustain Strategic Alignment” or another title.

  • Description: How does your organization assess proposals for new projects? Is there a well-defined scoring and prioritization process—based on alignment with the business’ strategic objectives and other key factors—to quickly and easily identify the objective value of each proposal (including how important it is relative to other initiatives)? If the answer is “no,” keep reading. If the answer is “yes,” you are likely to find practical information and examples in this talk to adapt and adopt to improve the process at your organization.

  • Key learning benefits: This talk will help you develop and enhance the contributions you make to your organization by being able to: (1) Understand the benefits of scoring and prioritizing project proposals based on strategic alignment and other key factors. (2) Identify selection and prioritization criteria appropriate for your unique organization, leveraging the flexible framework and some or all of the 10 factors presented during the talk. (3) Put the practical, actionable information presented to use. During the session, we will run an example project proposal through the process, step-by-step. And you will receive a summary "cheat sheet" digital download that you can reference as a guide to help implement or improve this process at your organization.


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Agile

Agile is third on the list of the top five topics. Scott customizes each session to the audience and other factors, so each one is unique. A general overview follows.

  • Title: Talks or workshops on Agile may be called “Are You Realizing All the Benefits from Agile?” or “Agile Scrum Helps Innovators, Disruptors, and Entrepreneurs Develop and Deliver Products at Astounding Speed Which Drives Competitive Advantage” or another title.

  • Description: Organizations are increasingly embracing Agile to best meet their shifting business needs and successfully manage projects. Potential business benefits from Agile include faster delivery and ROI, rapid response to change, higher satisfaction, and continuous improvement. All of which supports innovation and helps drive competitive advantage. Are you realizing all of the benefits? This session will cover the full lifecycle of the most popular Agile approach, Scrum. You will be presented with practical information including top factors from successful implementations—based on the speaker's first-hand experience and 116 sources, including the PMI, IEEE, Google, Agile Alliance, and others—you can use to gain more benefits from Agile.

  • Key learning benefits: How you will benefit: (1) Gain a high-level understanding of the Scrum framework-from vision through release. (2) Learn the roles, responsibilities, tools, and techniques unique to Scrum. (3) All of which are inclusive of top factors from successful implementations, which you can put to use to help you get more benefits from Agile.


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AI Development


Successful AI Development is fourth on the list of the top five topics. Scott customizes each session to the audience and other factors, so each one is unique. A general overview follows.

  • Title: Talks or workshops on Successful AI Development may be called “What Successful AI Development Teams Have in Common” or “Fueling the Development of Innovative and Life-Changing AI Solutions” or another title.

  • Description: Artificial Intelligence has emerged as a transformative force across a growing number of industries, revolutionizing how we live, work, and interact. From improved medical diagnoses to self-driving cars, and more, AI systems have become integral to our daily lives. Behind these cutting-edge, life-changing solutions are AI teams with a combination of skills. This session reveals exactly how the fusion of technical skills and soft skills within AI teams fuels the successful development of innovative and effective solutions. Informed by “In the AI era, soft skills are the new hard skills” (from Artificial Intelligence and Its Impact on Business), “Soft skills are becoming a key focus” (from Computerworld), “Don’t underestimate the power of a team dynamic – your product becomes the result of it” (from Microsoft), and “Competencies like teamwork are crucial” (from MIT), this talk also delivers a deep-dive on essential team development skills based on the science of high-performing teams. Scott’s talk draws from his work with AI development teams as well as research and coverage from the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, Google, IBM, IEEE, Microsoft, Software Engineering Institute, and many others. The usable information can provide you, your teams, and your organization with a competitive advantage.

  • Key learning benefits: How you will benefit: (1) Understand technical skills and soft skills leveraged by successful AI teams to develop innovative and effective solutions. (2) Understand the essential team development skills based on the science of high-performing teams. (3) Understand specific techniques including how to apply them to advance the happiness, productivity, and success of teams.


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Video Game Development

Successful Video Game Development is fifth on the list of the top five topics. Scott customizes each session to the audience and other factors, so each one is unique. A general overview follows.

  • Title: Talks or workshops on Successful Video Game Development may be called “The Science of High-Performance Video Game Development Teams” or “Level-Up Your Team: Science-Backed Strategies for High-Performance Video Game Development” or another title.

  • Description: Behind every great video game is a team of creative and technical wizards. Creators, storytellers, designers, artists, developers, testers, and others collaborate and leverage a diverse range of hard skills (also known as technical skills) and soft skills (also known as interpersonal skills) to craft an exceptional end-product. Of the many skills, one — a soft skill — is paramount. Activision Blizzard and other premiere developers and publishers of entertainment experiences identify teamwork as critical for the successful development of video games. Informed by Scott’s first-hand work with video game development teams as well as research and coverage from Activision Blizzard, Gameloft, International Game Developers Association, Microsoft, Rockstar Games, Sony Interactive Entertainment, Ubisoft, and others, this talk delivers a deep-dive on the essential teamwork skill based on the science of high- performing teams. The information can provide you, your teams, and your organization with a competitive advantage!

  • Key learning benefits: How you will benefit: (1) Understand that a confluence of both hard skills and soft skills (notably, teamwork) are crucial. (2) Learn the five phases of team development and recognize the identifiable characteristics of each phase. (3) Learn how to apply strategies to improve teams' efficacy, happiness, and success.


Those are the top five topics for talks and workshops.

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Before concluding this article, we’ll also point out a new topic which is becoming increasingly popular. It’s “Agile for Unicorns.” This session is for privately-held companies valued (or soon to be valued) at US $1 billion or more, and it’s limited to small groups at private/corporate events. To learn more, check out the information sheet:
https://scottgraffius.com/resources/Scott-M-Graffius---Public-Speaker---Example-Session---Agile-for-Unicorns---v24012907.pdf.

Visit Scott’s
Public Speaker page for a detailed listing of events, testimonials, and more.

Scott speaks around the world. To book him for your conference or other event, complete
speaker engagement request form or email him.

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About Scott M. Graffius

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Scott M. Graffius, PMP, SA, CSP-SM, CSP-PO, CSM, CSPO, SFE, ITIL, LSSGB is an agile project management practitioner, consultant, thinker, creator, multi-award-winning author, and international public speaker. Founder and CEO of Exceptional PPM and PMO Solutions™ and subsidiary Exceptional Agility™, he has generated over $1.9 billion for Global Fortune 500 businesses and other organizations he has served. Graffius and content from his books, talks, workshops, and more have been featured and used by Microsoft, Oracle, Broadcom, Cisco, Gartner, Project Management Institute, IEEE, National Academy of Sciences, United States Department of Energy, Yale University, Tufts University, and others. He delights audiences with dynamic and engaging talks and workshops on agile project management, AI, Tech leadership, video game development, strategic alignment, the science of high performance teams, and more. To date, he's presented sessions at 89 conferences and other events across 25 countries.

His full bio is available
here.

Connect with Scott on:


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

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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 approaches 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.

With clear and easy to follow step-by-step instructions,
Scott M. Graffius's award-winning Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions helps the reader:

  • Implement and use the most popular agile framework―Scrum;
  • Deliver products in short cycles with rapid adaptation to change, fast time-to-market, and continuous improvement; and
  • Support innovation and drive competitive advantage.

Hailed by Literary Titan as “the book highlights the versatility of Scrum beautifully.”

Winner of 17 first place awards.

Agile Scrum: Your Quick Start Guide with Step-by-Step Instructions is available in paperback and ebook/Kindle in the United States and around the world. Some links by country follow.



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About
Agile Transformation: A Brief Story of How an Entertainment Company Developed New Capabilities and Unlocked Business Agility to Thrive in an Era of Rapid Change

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Thriving in today's marketplace frequently depends on making a transformation to become more agile. Those successful in the transition enjoy faster delivery speed and ROI, higher satisfaction, continuous improvement, and additional benefits.

Based on actual events,
Agile Transformation: A Brief Story of How an Entertainment Company Developed New Capabilities and Unlocked Business Agility to Thrive in an Era of Rapid Change provides a quick (60-90 minute) read about a successful agile transformation at a multinational entertainment and media company, told from the author's perspective as an agile coach.

The award-winning book by
Scott M. Graffius is available in paperback and ebook/Kindle in the United States and around the world. Some links by country follow.



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© Copyright 2024 Scott M. Graffius. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the express written permission of Scott M. Graffius.


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