Lenses and Landscapes

Following an inspiring talk last week by Lyssa Adkins and Michel Spayd of the Agile Coaching Institute  at SV-ALN, I started to think about lenses. Frames of reference. Perspectives. As usual, their ideas resonated and inspired me. The very next day, we were already putting one of the models (lenses of I, We, IT, ITS)  into practice– collaborating with a colleague who had also attended the same meetup. I am so happy also that from my new company, five of us attended the meetup. Five of us drove to San Jose to be part of this agile learning community.  A very good sign!


And since I am a new employee, joining a large company. I wanted to apply this idea of lenses more broadly to my onboarding. In the book, The First 90 Days, Michael Watkins talks about areas of focus and structured learning.  Combining the ideas from Lyssa and Michael with the ideas from this book – I have the following learning lenses: people, interactions, place, technology, software architecture, market, processes, tools, product, strategy, cadence and timing, All of these are ways of understanding my new systems.


Back in my Xerox days, I was part of a research project on work process and culture. There were many interesting things I learned from PARC, including the notion of anthropological research; approaching customers as though I were an anthropologist. And after a year of being exposed to PARC as a place and as a community, the anthropolists on that research project coined a new term to describe me — they pegged me as a “landscaper.”


At the time, I was a young manager of a team of devs members of the technical staff, developing a sytem to receive compressed streams of objects ready to print onto rapidly moving sheets of paper. You can read more about the technologies in these patents.  Color was all new to most of us. We were experts at black-and-white digital printing and scanning. So it was exciting to create space, vision, and community for learning and developing color technologies. I could see that we could become SMEs in this whole new area. And we did!


As a landscaper, I am someone who studies a system , and then maps out future visions for the system. A field of possibilities. As an agilist, I have added collaborative to that mix. Collaboratively mapping out future vision.


A system can be a community, a complex software system, a loosely coupled group of people, a team of teams, a product portfolio, a federation of competitors and cooperators.


I have lots to learn about the new systems that I am now a part of J so that we can collaboratively develop this field of possibilities…



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