Mobius Canvas
Cloud, Life, Mobius, Teaching

Fall 2014 Recap: It sure has been a long, hard climb

Wow. December 22nd and for the first time in what seems like forever I have time to sit down and write a blog post. At least I have time to start this blog post…let’s see if my kids let me get enough time to finish it 🙂

In no particular order, major events from this Fall include:

Teaching @ VCU

My first class in the Graphic Design department of VCUarts, Problem Solving for Designers, turned out really well. It was a lot of work and I had to squeeze it into an already packed workload, but the 10 students and myself learned a lot over the semester. One of my unexpectedly-favorite parts of the course was reading the final exam essays – it really hit me what the kids had learned over the semester about solving complex problems.

I managed to write a few blog posts early in the semester before things got really busy. If you are curious about what the students did, wonder over to their blogs for RVA park’n probz, You-Lock and Inamora that shows off their work throughout the semester. We used the Mobius framework as a guide for the course and it worked out very well. We spent 1-2 weeks on each part of the framework and then completed the class with 5 x 1-week delivery cycles to build out their solution. The course also helped me create some content for the long-delayed Mobius book Gabrielle and I are working on.

Mobius Canvas

Mobius Canvas


Working @ SingleStone

The last six months have been amongst the busiest of my career at SingleStone (formerly Dominion Digital). As lead of our technology capabilities, my team of nearly 20 designers and engineers continues to grow and we’re doing some really cool work for clients. I’ve personally spent much of the last year focused on DevOps and Cloud consulting for large enterprises.

In between work I did manage to present DevOps DeMystified at Innovate Virginia in October and attend the AWS re:Invent conference in Las Vegas in November. The DevOps talk got lots of rave reviews…probably my highest rated talk ever…which was nice considering it really just came together the week before the conference!

Writing @ GigaOm

Due to my teaching and work load, I took a hiatus from writing research papers for GigaOm Research. I did squeeze in a few webinars that were fun. However, some papers I worked on during the late summer did get published this fall including Performance Testing: Balancing Agility and Quality. This was a fun piece of work that I collaborated with Apica on. Although not thru GigaOm, I also managed a guest blog post on DevOps and the Software Defined Enterprise for Loggly.

Well…my kids did let me get enough time to put this blog post together, thanks Indie and Luna!

Happy holidays to everyone and we’ll see you in the new year.

Life, Mobius

Teaching Problem Solving to Designers – Initial reflections

Last week started a new experience for me: teaching at a university

While I’ve trained for years in the corporate setting, this is the first time I’m teaching a university course. Over the summer the chair of the VCU department of graphic design invited me to teach a course “Problem Solving for Design” to undergraduate students. After some deliberation and with the help of my family and flexibility of my company I was able to accept the offer.

GDES-491 is an elective course that’s considered a studio class. I have pretty free reign in how I design the course, which is very nice. I knew I wanted the students to actually work on a problem to get some real-world experience. I also knew I’ve been wanting to get more feedback on the Mobius toolkit for problem solving I’ve been developing.

Embracing the principle of “and” I designed a 15 week course using the Mobius canvas as a guide. It took me a few hours to flush out the basic plan then a few working sessions over the summer to layout the course in more detail.

Week 1 – Let’s Pick a Problem

Week 1 which was a challenge for two reasons. The first is this is a brand new experience for me. I didn’t really know what to expect and wasn’t sure of what it was going to be like. The second was that by the end of week 1 the class was going to organize themselves into teams and pick the project that will be their semester focus.

As I was designing the course I knew that if the class were to go off the rails, it would be in week 1. I wasn’t sure if students could identify a meaningful problem to solve that’s not to big and not too small, present the problem to their peers, vote on the most interesting and organize into the teams they’ll work with this semester. It was a lot and I wasn’t sure if it was too much.

But now that we’re at the end of week 1 and the students made it through fine, I can relax. A little maybe, it’s still a long semester. But after last week I think we’re going to be ok and this is going to be a fun semester.

If you’d like to follow along this semester, head over to the Mobius blog where I’ll be posting our progress throughout the semester.