Personal Notes from Digitalia.

Reiner Gärtner - Lake Macquarie, Australia

Book note: 'The Noise: A Battle Cry Against the Sounds of Our Lives' by Theodor Lessing

I absolutely love rummaging through the Project Gutenberg Library, unearthing literary gems from bygone eras. Recently, I stumbled upon a fascinating historical document from 1908, penned by the writer and philosopher Theodor Lessing: “The Noise – A Battle Cry Against the Sounds of Our Lives”. Unfortunately, the book is only available in German language. The term “Battle Cry” might sound a bit warlike at first. But who could have guessed back then, just six years before World War I, the weight this term would carry later on?

Embracing Differences: Learning from Those You Disagree With

Learn how to learn from those you disagree or even offend you. See if you can find the truth in what they believe. This gem is from the brilliant book “Excellent Advice for Living” by Kevin Kelly. I’ll delve deeper into the book later, but for now, I’m drawing inspiration from its many wise snippets to fuel my thoughts and writings. Plus, inspired by my piece “Being Human (01): Discovering Handwriting”, I’m jotting down most of my notes longhand.

Being human (01) - Rediscovering Handwriting

Recently, while rummaging through boxes under our house, I stumbled upon a folder of old documents. To my surprise, I found several boxes filled with black Moleskine notebooks of various sizes. These notebooks, spanning from 1997 to 2015, were like a handwritten snapshot of my past. Back in the day, I’d spend hours in cafes, people-watching and jotting down anything that caught my fancy. I’d dig deep into my soul, trying to understand my desires, my lacks, and my aspirations – probably overthinking it most of the time.

The Presentation Mix-Up

I got a call the other day. My phone displayed “No Caller ID”, which was a bit odd. Usually, these anonymous numbers are either robotic voices claiming I owe money or bored telemarketers trying to sell me something. On the other end was a woman whose name I couldn’t quite catch. She spoke rapidly, and the background noise was deafening. It sounded like she was in the middle of a McDonald’s kitchen with all the frying and beeping.

ChatGPT Communication Strategies

Until yesterday, I thought that using ChatGPT was just about giving commands and waiting for a result from a black box. But today, I learned that ChatGPT has its own communication strategies to understand and execute our commands. You can define general and specific rules in these strategies and even train ChatGPT for special use cases. Firstly, you might want to know if there’s already a communication strategy stored in your API or not:

Leveraging AI to Create Meaningful Content: Experience, Curiosity and Creativity Are Key

As I delve further into the subject of Artificial Intelligence and apply it myself, it becomes increasingly clear that AI will not replace everything, but will rather drastically change the requirements for many professions. In my case of content creation, many clients will expect that, with the help of AI, content creation will be much faster and therefore cheaper. However, I do not believe it will be faster, unless you only want to quickly produce a generic sauce.

Challenging 'I have X, so I can't do Y': The Power of 'I Can'

I have X, so I can’t do Y. I identify with X, so Y is out of the question. I have X and therefore I feel pressured by Y. Nowadays, we identify with many attributes. This is good, as it marks the diversity of life and an increased inner awareness. At times, it seems that we take shelter behind our numerous identifications as X. This diminishes our self-confidence, leading us to rely on convenient, socially acceptable excuses.

A Brief Evening with Garry Disher, an Australian Crime Writer

Recently, I attended a book presentation here in Newcastle featuring an Australian crime writer whose books I’ve been devouring for some time: Garry Disher. A few days before the event, I chatted with a mate in Germany. We talked about plans for the coming days, and I mentioned that I would be seeing an author probably unknown in Germany. It turned out that Disher is quite well-known in Germany, and my friend was currently reading one of his books.

Fearless Aging: Finding Tranquility in Animal Dignity

At the beginning of our lives, we are dominated by the childlike expectation that everything will go well in life. We don’t even consider the possibility that it could be otherwise. However, at some point, things no longer go smoothly. Things change. Something happens. Something crashes. Something goes awry. We become afraid. And I don’t mean fear of a vicious dog, a house fire, or a burglar, but rather the fear of the unknown.

The Optimal White Paper for Your Customers

When it comes to communicating complex ideas, hastily thrown together information just won’t cut it. That’s where the trusty “white paper” comes in. But what if I told you there’s a better way to create white papers? By using an agile approach and AI-assisted tools, we can quickly and deeply understand complex topics, allowing us to create top-notch white papers that provide nourishing substance for your audience. The white paper is the original form of long-form content.

How Content Creation Is Changing With the Use of Artificial Intelligence

How will content creation be changed with the help of many AI tools such as ChatGPT and Co.? I believe it will have huge consequences - not tomorrow, but now. It is now important to combine the strengths of AI with the strengths and experiences of humans - not only to save time and costs (which is of course important), but to produce something that is ultimately better, more meaningful, more helpful and more effective.

Is the Role of a Scrum Master as Process Enforcer a Contradiction to the Agile Manifesto?

This question refers to the Agile Manifesto, in which people are put before processes. So, if the Scrum Master’s role is to enforce processes, isn’t that a contradiction to the values in the Agile Manifesto? Let us detangle this: “People over processes and tools” does not necessarily mean that processes and tools are unimportant. People are just more important than processes and tools. But without the processes, all that people power will evaporate quickly.

My Lessons on the Way to the Next Scrum-Mastership

In the last months I had the privilege to accompany a local startup as Scrum Master. The CEO wanted to make his small company more agile. But what does “agile” even mean? In a first video call I led him from the old, rigid world, where plans are worked on stoically and deadlines are met, only to end up late, over budget and with a product that does not meet customer needs, to an agile world, where something is created that stakeholders really need and that has value.

I Will Not Interrupt You

What would it feel like if you were able to keep talking? If you spelled out all the thoughts you’re thinking over and over in your head and then get new, exciting thoughts to think about? Just like that, because someone is sitting next to or in front of you and is listening to you, but won’t say anything and won’t interrupt you. How would it feel if you could finish your own thoughts without being interrupted?

How Mature is Your Agile Team?

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about maturity in agile teams. And I also revisited an earlier note “Communicate like adults". When I ask people how mature their agile team is, they usually refer to the team’s technical competence or understanding of agile methodologies. It’s good to have people on board who know how to scrum hard and who have figured out that it’s all about building better products people actually need.

Scrum Parent

I have been thinking a lot about the role of a Scrum Master. What I know is that I do not want to fill the role mechanically, as learned from a book. There is much more to it: I want to be a parent of a team. Emphasis is on “parent“ and on “team“. Obviously, each parent has a different parenting style. Young parents have to find themselves in their role, some do what their parents did (and they hate themselves for flipping back to the old style but can’t help), others try several parenting styles in a more or less agile way (they receive lots of feedback from their kids and external stakeholders such as schools).

Just W.A.I.T.

Although I haven’t worked as a journalist for a while, there will be always a strong journalist heart pumping in my body. I love to learn, understand topics, grasp the essence and to find out what makes people tick. In the early days as a journalist I prepared many questions for my interviews. I believed in the power of smart questions. But I wasn’t experienced — or agile — enough to change my interviewing plan.

Smile, Breathe, And Think Slowly

There are times for fast thinking and rapid decisions. And there are also times for slow thinking, for letting things develop over time, like good wine, vinegar or cheese. People who are fast talkers and fast thinkers do not see any value in digging deeper. Slow is the new black (or orange?) Let’s explore the “Slow Thinking Manifesto“, which I recently signed. Sometimes slow thinking needs another space, maybe a chat with a friend about something else or a long walk at the beach (my favourite way to come up with some creative ideas).

Communicate Like Adults

A few years ago, I helped an executive in pitching his product to his clients at a conference. Together, we examined his clients’ situation, problems and needs, and weaved a compelling story line leading to a strong call-to-action. There was only one tiny problem: The software wasn’t released yet. But the executive really wanted to show a demo of the solution to get feedback and maybe a buy-in. So, we had a meeting with the product manager…

One Less Project Manager

One reason for becoming a Scrum Master was the absence of a project manager in the Scrum framework. See, I grew up in a cold waterfall world, and I worked with a lot of project managers (and occasionally, I was also in the role as a pm). Many project managers acted as scribes, protocol writers, gant-chart sketchers, and fierce budget watchers. Their entire focus was on following the BIG plan. We all know that planning is essential, but plans are often useless — so what about the project manager?