What Kind of World Are You Building?

Jim and Michele McCarthy are the authors of SOFTWARE FOR YOUR HEAD, a book about structuring essential interactions inside great teams. There is one piece of this book, the chapter on the FarVision Protocol, which is very interesting.


It is as follows:

You work hard, burn out, and wonder why you bother.

You always play a role in creating the future, whether you choose to manage that role or not. Perhaps it is true of you that you can see no greater purpose to your work than supplying your own material needs and those of your company. Without purpose, you have a random effect on the future. That is, the world that results from your efforts is an accidental world.

Your team’s FarVision must answer this question:

What kind of world are you building?

The initial answers to this question are not always satisfying, because you don’t usually think of your daily activities as world building. When suddenly faced with such a question, you feel unprepared. You might avoid a direct answer. You might ask for clarification of the question. You might try to talk away the emptiness of your preliminary answer. Regardless of the response triggered by this query, there is real value in asking and answering the question, because it focuses the mind on the larger opportunities available.

If you are unable to directly and unself-consciously answer this question, you may want to examine why you don’t see the significance of your daily grind. Of course, the question of what kind of world you are building makes no sense at all unless you accept the implication that you are, in fact, building a world. Most of the time, of course, you may not consciously engage in the task of world building.

Nevertheless, your engagement in world building is a simple truth. You have beliefs. Every day you act on those beliefs. Your actions have external effects, and ultimately they cause your beliefs to materialize in the world. In essence, you change the world to look more like your beliefs. You build a world.

If you really are building a world, and if you are doing so unconsciously, you literally don’t know what you are doing. While you might not identify your purpose as the creation of a world, having a larger motivating purpose gives you a frame of reference for choosing alternatives. It is difficult to see how you can truly meet your daily challenges unless you bring a sense of purpose to each moment. Maintaining a broader purpose seems a necessary precondition of enjoying the highest levels of personal integrity.

To have integrity, your intention, your words, and your actions must be aligned. If you know what kind of world someone is building, and you are building the same kind of world, then you can work together on this goal, with much less noise and wasted effort cluttering the environment between you.

Like other team qualities, team integrity is the aggregate of the personal integrities of each team member, enhanced or diminished however much by the effects of the interpersonal synergy. The aggregate level of integrity has a positive correlation with desirable results.

Without a central purpose, an individual or team finds it impossible to make enlightened choices. Each day you make many choices. Before doing so, you check the alternatives against your larger purpose and envision how the alternatives might play out in the world you want to create. Wise choices, those that promote your world’s completion at reduced cost or in nearer time frames, are maximally useful to your purpose.

Even without the context of a larger purpose, you still must select from alternatives. Without an organizing purpose, however, your choices will be made according to whim and spontaneous, sometimes bizarre, and usually inconsistent motives. Inefficiency, apathy, premature cynicism, and failure result when individuals or teams make product design decisions in this way. The Core, on the other hand, provides you with a purpose template: to build a world.

Individuals, teams, and institutions have found that the most challenging, useful, and satisfying task is world building.


Many worlds and many kinds of worlds are possible.



SOFTWARE FOR YOUR HEAD is a book. It’s available as a free PDF via the this link:  Free PDF Book. The aim of the book is to focus your attention on techniques for structuring great interactions…in pursuit of creating great teams.

Endorsements for Scrum Alliance Board

There is a Board of Directors seat open at Scrum Alliance and I am in the election that determines who might occupy this seat.

I’m very grateful for those who have endorsed me for election to the Scrum Alliance Board of Directors.


Here is a rundown of some recent endorsements I have received:

Jeff Sutherland

Jeff is the co-formulator of Scrum. he is using Twitter to encourage folks to vote for me. See it here.

Dan LeFebvre

Dan LeFebvre is the first Certified Scrum Coach in New England and around 30th overall in the world. He is formally endorsing me on his blog. Examine the post.

D. Andre Dhondt

Andre is a leader of Agile Philadelphia. He is formally endorsing me for the Board seat on his blog. You can check it out here.

Chris Matts

Chris Matts is using Twitter to raise awareness of the election and to encourage others to vote for me. You can see the tweets here.

Don Blair

Don Blair is a Agile Coach and leader of Agile Boston. His endorsement, written to the Scrum group on LinkedIn, appears below:

Recommendation: Dan Mezick for Scrum Alliance Board of Directors

I’d like to give my full recommendation for Dan Mezick for board member for the Scrum Alliance. As member of the Agile Boston User Group, I have worked with Dan for several years. In that time, I have come to appreciate his high energy, his ethics, and his passion for strengthening those around him. As an agile coach, I have seen him transform organizations from lethargy to the joyful pursuit of producing great results. As a community organizer, I have seen him work tirelessly to figure out how to make the community stronger and more engaged. As a Member of the Scrum Alliance Board of Directors, I have no doubt that he would strengthen the organization, ensuring that it remained an organization we would all be proud to belong to. Members of the Scrum Alliance can vote for Dan as a member of the board of Directors.


You can VOTE FOR DAN here!



Public Service: User Groups

The Scrum Alliance is in the service business. It serves its members by promoting knowledge of Scrum, using various channels like user groups.

If elected to the Scrum Alliance Board of Directors, I plan to promote a much more focused approach to supporting user groups. You might ask why. The main reason is: the first exposure many people have to genuine Agile is in user group events like monthly meetings and larger events.




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People working in typical organizations are not experiencing authentic agile and Scrum in their organizations. Instead, they are experiencing relatively mediocre, surface implementations of agility and Scrum. By contrast, when they attend a local user -group meeting, they hear about the dynamics behind these weak implementations of agile and Scrum. They learn about agile theory and practice.

Therefore, focusing on user groups is a very leveraged use of Scrum Alliance resources and focus.


Agile Boston (www.agileboston.org)

Agile Boston (www.agileboston.org) started life in 2007. We ran monthly meetings. In 2009 we pulled together the first GIVE THANKS FOR SCRUM event, honoring the co-formulators of Scrum, Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber. Both are from the Boston area. In 2011 we convened the 3rd annual GIVE THANKS FOR SCRUM event.


You can VOTE FOR DAN here!



Convening Open Space Events

We’ve convened 8 Open Space events since 2009. We are using a hybrid approach to deliver the Open Space experience. We do a keynote and sessions in the AM and Open Space in the PM, after lunch. This strategy allows people to sample Open Space for the first time.

These events draw up to 270 people in Boston. In 2011 we convened the Agile Day in Boston event, incorporating keynote, sessions, lunch, Open Space and a reception with food and beverages upon the closing of the Open Space. We collaborated with AgileNYC, connecting two events across two cities with a party-bus shuttle service from NYC to Boston for speakers, sponsors and volunteers. We served over 478 people across two cities with the Agile Day event.

Agile Boston is the Scrum Alliance Scrum User Group in Boston. In 2011 a core leadership group was formed. This circle is currently six people– a Scrum-sized team. You can read about the aims of Agile Boston here and learn about how the group is led and governed here.

In the 1990’s, started a Visual Basic user group and became connected with Microsoft. I worked with Microsoft as a Regional Director. In this partner role, I functioned as a local expert on Microsoft platforms and tools. Every year, Microsoft ran a 1-day event called Developer Days. I coordinated and hosted these events. Hartford was one of the first 8 cities and Boston was added the following year. I was Regional Director of either Hartford and/or Boston from 1995 to 2002. I learned how to plan, organize and convene large events. The Developer Days events in Boston from 1996 to 2002 drew around 600 people each year.

I have substantial experience in user group community formation, dating back to 1995. In 2007, I applied this knowledge and experience to the Agile community with the formation of Agile Boston.

I am bringing all of my experience with user groups to Scrum Alliance. If elected to the board, I plan to promote the idea of better serving the membership and the public through very strong support for local Scrum user groups.


You can VOTE FOR DAN here!


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Public Service

I was recently nominated to serve as a Board Member inside the Scrum Alliance. The office has a 3-year term;  the role is an interesting one … in an interesting organization.

The Scrum Alliance requires a 500-word statement from would-be candidates. They collect all the nominations and then select three candidates that they feel are a good fit. From there the candidates run for the office.


You can VOTE FOR DAN here!


So, here I am. Running for the office of Member, Board of Directors, Scrum Alliance. If you are a Scrum Alliance member, I am asking you to vote for me in this election.

Will you vote for me?

You cannot answer that without more information. And so: I think it is very important for all Scrum Alliance members to have access to the essay I wrote to the organization, to signal my interest in the role of Board Member.

In that spirit, here is the full text of the 500 word essay statement I wrote to Scrum Alliance in response to being notified I was a nominee. I hope you can locate yourself in the wider idea of a great Scrum Alliance. If you vote for me, you can expect me to follow through on the specific set of ideas in the essay below.

The wider Scrum community includes SA and other credentialing organizations. Agile is maturing and rapidly changing shape. The SA can either play it safe or boldly step out in conviction of purpose and deep commitment to a noble cause.

It’s possible for the SA to play a pivotal leadership role in shaping the evolution of the wider community. To do that, the SA has to stand for something. This concept goes far beyond slogans, mere branding, orpositioning” in “the market”. In the marketplace of ideas, the SA has the opportunity to inspire members, fascinate observers and influence other credentialing organizations towards a noble cause and purpose. This game is ours to lose. We can inspire, or we can expire. To inspire, we must step out boldly, and clearly articulate our highest purpose.

And what exactly is our noble cause ? “Transforming the world of work”. This slogan is catchy, yet vague enough to be potentially meaningless. The 2010-11 strategic plan discusses what the SA intends to do and how it intends to do it. What is missing is the why. Where is the why? The organization needs to do some refactoring, and articulate the why of the SA.Transforming the world of work”… into what? In service to what? If the SA can articulate the truly noble cause and purpose, it can become a lightning-rod, the premier membership society of world-changers, the very organization that all great people want to be a part of.

Articulating the why– the noble cause– can help align the many forces that are acting upon the SA, including internal forces. Absent a clear statement of why, the SA is indistinguishable from other credentialing organizations. Great people seek meaning, authenticity and purpose. If the SA can deliver, it can become a society of great people making a huge difference. As a BOD member, I plan to help focus the attention of the organization on specific points of leverage.

Scrum Coaching is the most important leverage point for SA. Agile coaching is developing into a profession, and is literally held back by the absence of a specific code of coaching ethics. The generic SA ethics statements are not enough. I believe that creation of a set of Scrum Coaching Ethics is essential, and I plan to encourage development of that wider community discussion, worldwide, as a BOD member.

A second point of leverage is “Scrum beyond Software”. This space is complex, and has real potential for huge growth. As a BOD member I plan to take a leadership role in helping to clarify what SA thinks, says and does while collaborating with others in this important space.

The final leverage point is positioning the SA as the membership society that collaborates with other organizations in the important work of world-building. SA is in a position to change the world by aligning with other great organizations. If elected I intend to strongly encourage this.

Thanks for reading !!


You can VOTE FOR DAN here!




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